Sheena Boughen of Barragga Bay has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, in part due to her decades-long commitment to the Four Winds Festival.
“I’m over the moon to be recognised; I am delightfully surprised and I’m thrilled to bits!” she said over the phone on Friday while in France.
“I just feel honoured to be recognised for what I led a team to do.
“I think it’s a sign what we are doing [at Four Winds] must really matter to people.”
Ms Boughen has been a committee member with the Four Winds organisation from 1991-98, chair from 2006-16, chief executive officer from 2006-15 and was announced as a life ambassador in 2016.
Her inclusion on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List also recognises how she is a recipient of an Arts Leadership Award from Creative Partnerships Australia, granted in 2017.
She described being introduced to Four Winds as a “great gift”, especially as she had only been in the area for a few years and was not yet sure where she belonged.
“Four Winds has been the highlight of my life that has enabled me to be my best,” Ms Boughen said.
“I feel I was able to express the things I believed in and was able to lead a team of people to develop this place into a beacon of opportunity.
“You have to not be frightened about the size of your ambition; I wasn’t, I was never frightened about that.”
She wanted to thank the people who have supported her and Four Winds over the years, as well as the organisation’s founder Neilma Gantner who passed away in 2015.
“I’m so grateful to everybody,” she said.
Ms Boughen also wanted to reinforce how proud she was to live in her region and said the “best is yet to come” for Four Winds.
Ms Boughen was not the only person from the Bega Valley to receive an OAM. Lynne Koerbin of Merimbula was given the award for service to people with a disability and to community health, with it recognising her role as president of Community Carers Accommodation South East.