Regularly, we will feature a member of the HBNC team, giving you a chance to Meet the Neighbours. The goal is to highlight and celebrate the people at the heart of our organisation, who work tirelessly to make the Wide Bay Burnett community a stronger and more resilient one.

This week, we'd like you to meet Shani Mitchell, HBNC Management Committee Member.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I have lived in Hervey Bay for 14 years, having relocated here when I was a teenager. I have a beautiful family and we enjoy the lifestyle that living in Hervey Bay allows us to have. When I am not at work or chasing after my son, I enjoy some retail therapy and having a laugh.

What is a quick summary of your professional background?

I am fortunate enough to have found my passion in my career at a young age and I have been in the legal industry for 13 years. I am a Partner at Geldard Sherrington Lawyers, practicing predominantly in family law and domestic violence, as well as wills and estates, and commercial law. I am passionate about helping people and ensuring that my clients can feel supported during what can be the most stressful time in their lives. I also feel strongly about volunteering my skill-set and knowledge and giving back to the community in this way and have developed strong referral systems for domestic violence support organisations to ensure people have access to free legal advice.

What drew you to work with the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre?

I have been a volunteer within HBNC for a number of years. I volunteer to provide free legal advice through Wide Bay Burnett Community Legal Service, and I also volunteer my time to run Divorce Workshops via HBNC. I have previously volunteered through the HBNC Community Visitors Scheme where I was allocated an elderly friend that I had the honour and pleasure to visit fortnightly and provide a friendly face for them to talk to. It felt aligned for me to apply to be a Management Committee Member and be able to help the community in more ways. I am working on exciting projects currently via HBNC for the community and I am very excited for the community to see these projects in the near future.

How do you see your role making a difference in the lives of the community’s most vulnerable?

My role is essentially a “behind the scenes” role, however my particular skill-set, knowledge in the legal industry and my own life experiences are unique in assisting with the ongoing strategic planning to ensure that our community’s most vulnerable people are being heard and processes and planning put in place to assist them in the areas of their lives they require that assistance.

What’s one thing you hope to see happen or change for our community?

That everyone remembers to be kind. People are often facing a struggle that no one else knows about and your act of kindness can go a long way in someone’s life.