Australian Institute of Women and Women in Business Awards of Australia founder Karen Phillips has been named this year’s Gold Coast Citizen of the Year. A leading communication strategist, Ms Phillips was honoured with the Citizen of the Year award at a ceremony at the Q1 Hotel on Australia Day. The award recognises her ongoing support of women’s cancer charities and other causes. Highly focused on “giving back” to her community, Ms Phillips has assisted in raising more than $2 million for charities and not-for-profit organisations.

Previously, Ms Phillips has been an Ambassador for the City’s Vinnies CEO Sleep Out, as well as emceeing many large-scale fundraisers. She has been a board member of the Gold Coast Community Fund for the past 10 years, and is also a supporter of women in business, working with a number of organisations related to the cause. Ms Phillips has been manager and host of one of Australia’s longest-running women’s business clubs, Early Risers on the Gold Coast, for more than 22 years.

She is also the Executive Director of the Australian Institute of Women. Her annual Women in Business Awards Australia, currently held in Brisbane, Toowoomba and on the Gold Coast, celebrate the achievements of women in cities and regional areas. The awards were established six years ago on the Gold Coast. Ms Phillips has also created a national program to inspire and mentor women, the Women’s Words Project  and has authored an accompanying book, Women’s Words Of Wisdom, Power & Passion,The highly acclaimed book features inspiring insights from 50 iconic Australian women and launched in celebration of the centenary of International Women’s Day.

Ms Phillips also facilitates the Empowering Young Women Project, a free mentoring event for Grade 11 school girls. “The program aims to provide high potential young women with the essential leadership skills that they will need to engage in a meaningful career and future,” says Ms Phillips. No stranger to awards, Ms Phillips has previously been honoured with an Australian Young Citizen of the Year award for her outstanding work as a teenager. Ms Phillips launched her bespoke communications agency KPCC at age 28, and takes part in regular media and professional speaking commitments. She has interviewed celebrities, icons and inspiring leaders including Jane Fonda, Ray Martin, former Prime Ministers and Olivia Newton-John.

Readers may also enjoyed our story about Nikki Goldstein.