Deb Rae has recently received the Women in Business Awards recognition for Community Dedication in North Queensland for her combined professional and volunteer work.

Deb’s personal journey relates to the tragic death of her first husband, Stuart. After discovering that they were unable to have children, Deb and Stuart decided to travel the world teaching English. After 5 months in Poland, Stuart was hit by a car on a pedestrian crossing. From that moment, Deb lost her best friend, her job, her home and any interest in the future. Eventually, Deb returned to her hometown, Mackay, Queensland, where she began to rebuild her life and seek a new purpose.

Deb now dedicates her time to support services and groups that strive to create a stronger community. It is from this drive that Deb has developed her business, Deb Rae Solutions, that works with not-for-profit organisations and business owners. Some key projects under her business include: developing a community plan to reduce deaths by suicide in the region, facilitating a group of government services to find ways to work better with vulnerable families and helping research to develop an integrated mental health service for children under 14 years of age.

Deb’s community dedication extends past her business to volunteer commitments to fill gaps within community groups such as Lowanna House – a women’s shelter – and the Institute of Managers and Leaders Committee. Deb is particularly passionate about supporting other widows and changing the way that we think about grief, which she has achieved through establishing WATTLE, a young widows support group. Deb has also published a resource book, Getting There and provided training workshops, individual coaching and public speaking at events.

Readers also enjoyed our story Stevie Finalist.