Val Sarah AM

In 1962 and newly arrived from England, Val Sarah became the first female announcer on BTV6 in Ballarat.

Honour Roll

The program she produced and presented focused on new opportunities for women created by the rapid pace of change. Her 14 year on-air television career was in itself substantial, but it was just one part of more than 40 years work developing ways for women to become involved in the Ballarat community.

She has played a central role in building and supporting local organisations, starting the first of 19 Probus clubs in the area, providing advice and support to the Ballarat Arts Foundation and developing Ballarat's Learning City status. However, her contribution has extended well beyond the boundaries of Ballarat.

Through her involvement with Zonta International, an international service organisation with a membership of 33,000 women and men in 71 countries, she has worked to improve the status of women through practical initiatives in health, education, micro-credit, leadership and justice. Beginning as the Charter President of the Zonta Club in Ballarat in 1978, Val was later appointed International President of Zonta between 1998 and 2000.

In 2001 she became a national Committee member of the United Nations Development Fund for Women in Australia and was subsequently invited to be the organisation's adviser on marketing and sponsorship. She is driven by the enormous potential she sees in young women. "They have limitless energy to explore what life has to offer. They have talent, they are well disciplined, and they are our inspiration for the future."

Val was appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in 2001, for her service to women internationally and her service to the Australian community through cultural, social welfare and youth groups.