Julie named Tweed's woman of year
MOMENTS of pain during Julie West's 44 years seem difficult for her to recall.
Possibly due to the fact she's thoughtfully watching Kingscliff beach's afternoon sun-kissed, windswept waters from the bowls club.
Or the fact she's just been awarded the Tweed Shire Women's Service Woman of the Year award.
A lack of intelligence from this successful accountant is certainly not to be blamed.
"It's not something to be proud of," Mrs West says, "that you haven't had tough times.
"I don't dwell on the past.
"From a personal aspect, things that have happened in my past - now I'm probably blowing sunshine up my own arse - but I'm the rock, the organiser, I guess."
She left school during Year 10, did a secretarial course, "just loved it, then got a job in an accountant's office".
The former Miss Lismore had no ideas what the future held for her, nor about the relationships she'd form with people she would help significantly and selfishly.
"It feels good to help people," she responds, in relation to her impressive list of community and business achievements.
Julie West is the founder of Women in Business Tweed Heads, voluntary vice-president of Business Network International, a long-time board member of OnTrack Community Programs, where she was until recently the only female board member (treasurer).
Mrs West is also one of many people responsible for the currently on-hold Seagulls Charity Ball and an organiser of the Kids in Need Dragon Boat Race.
As one of two preferred Northern Rivers Business Enterprise Centre accountants and a Cummings West Accountants Tweed Heads South partner, she's surprisingly emotional about such a financial profession.
"Sometimes with work issues I tended to take things personally.
"I'd think, 'I haven't done my job in making them happy'.
"Now I just learn from it."
Mrs West has lived at Banora Point for more than 20 years with husband Andre, sons Ryan, 16, and Ky, 10.
She did her secretarial diploma at TAFE, then a bachelor of business at Southern Cross University part time while working in accounting offices.
Her first "tough, old school" boss's expectations gave her the discipline that blends so surprisingly well with her charm.
"I was probably a bit meek and mild back then."
This "tough" start brought amazing things from the engaging, blue-eyed blonde, which are suspected upon first meeting her and set in stone when one is enlightened of her list of achievements.
Mrs West is no longer as uncertain as she once might have been about how her goals have come to be kicked.
"Ask a busy person to do it and you get it done," she says.
"It's multi-tasking, and motherhood assists with these skills.
"I've never had the time off to be a full-time mum, but fortunately I've always been able to take my kids to work.
"I'd like to be able to say 'I'm bored', but I never am.
"Everyone always says I don't have a stop button, and I like not having one.
"I like being surrounded by other people, but not whingers - you can always find someone worse off than yourself."
She understands a lot of people can't help this "worse-off" mentality or reality - speaking of "glass-half-empty" types.
"I try to fill up their cup.
"Andre is a motivator as well, he's always saying, 'Let's jump on the bikes and go to the beach'.
"And the kids, as well, are always saying, 'What are we doing?'."
Her Woman of the Year nod from the women's service's Wonders of Women awards has possibly softened her professional energy.
Mrs West's aim for 2012 is to spend less time at work, but not necessarily at the expense of the mentoring and support given to 50 members of the Women in Business group each month.
"I would like to do something more community based.
"I'll have a son with a driver's licence by the end of the year, which should give me more time."
Speaking of time, she manages to find some for triathlons each Saturday, cycling each Sunday and exercise of some form each weekday morning.
Her disregard for the difficulty of the challenges she faces and has overcome should be an inspiration for both men and women in the wake of International Women's Day.