With our foundation in Christ, William Clarke College is a servant-hearted community that seeks to know and respond appropriately to the needs of others. We do not live in isolation and this compels us to be passionate about service that benefits the community. We seek to develop extraordinary learners who demonstrate a passion to serve others at a local, national or even global level.
The Alumnus of the Year award was established in 2009 to help acknowledge the achievements of an outstanding former student who has successfully demonstrated a passion to serve – either in their chosen field or by developing specialised knowledge and skills for serving others. William Clarke College is delighted to announce that Rianne Ware (nee Claudio) of Class of 2009 was announced as the Alumnus of the Year for 2023 at Presentation Day celebrations yesterday.
Rianne was honored with the award in recognition of her dedicated volunteer work as Treasurer and Board Member for Parramatta Women’s Shelter, a position she has held since 2020. The shelter, inaugurated in 2019 with an initial phase framework, helps women and children seeking refuge from challenges related to homelessness, as well as situations involving domestic and family violence. The shelter is committed to facilitating fresh starts for women and children in need of a secure haven within the Parramatta community. Throughout the past four years Rianne, in collaboration with the Board, has played a pivotal role in aiding over 250 women and children in escaping these circumstances. This effort was particularly critical during the COVID-19 lockdown, a period when instances of such challenges were escalating. In Australia today, five women are killed in domestic homicide every 10 days, and domestic and family violence continues to be one of the leading causes of homelessness for women and children in Australia (Domestic Violence NSW).
What sets Rianne apart is her unwavering commitment to knowing and responding appropriately to the needs of others. Despite the challenges of a full-time corporate job and navigating first-time motherhood during a global pandemic, she has used her skills as a CPA accredited accountant to powerfully impact the operations and strategic growth of the shelter. Rianne’s dedication to understanding market dynamics, payroll policies, system and financial reporting requirements in line with accounting standards, governance processes, grant applications and acquittals, and strategic leadership in operations has ensured that every dollar of funding received directly impacts the lives of the women and children under the shelter’s care.
With no prior experience in charity work and with no intrinsic or financial gain for her professional development, this selfless lady has served the shelter in implementing end-to-end financial needs that are solely focused on safeguarding the charity’s financial security and operations. In fact, Rianne’s strategic financial decisions have paved the way for the shelter’s long-term growth and expansion, ensuring a stable profit delivery despite the challenges faced.
While other shelters may rely on dedicated accounting firms, Rianne volunteered her expertise, saving Parramatta Women’s Shelter from outsourcing costs and ensuring that more resources were directed towards the shelter’s core mission. “Other shelters during this time have had dedicated accounting firms to run the treasury operations to support their Board,” Rianne notes. “I volunteered to do this to save the shelter from outsourcing this roughly $20,000 annually, particularly at the beginning where we had limited funds and had significant outlay.”
However, what is most inspiring is the story behind Rianne’s drive to serve. Drawing from her personal childhood trauma, coupled with the challenges her family faced when moving to Australia with limited financial means, Rianne sees her journey as a divine calling. “It has been my prayer and goal to be given an opportunity to learn and serve with my skills to drive change and impact the lives of the vulnerable within the community,” she shares. Rianne believes that God has gifted her with these skills to love and serve His people, and through her work, she hopes to transform the hearts of those in need, “guiding them to find the love and grace of Jesus as their rock and refuge”.
In winning the Alumnus of the Year award, Rianne plans to donate the accompanying $2500 to Parramatta Women’s Shelter, further supporting their crucial work with those most vulnerable. With a heart steeped in humility and a commitment to Christ-centred values, Rianne has proven that true success lies not just in personal achievements but in the positive impact one can make on the lives of others.
As we proudly celebrate Rianne as the 2023 Alumnus of the Year, her story becomes a testament to the College’s Purpose Statement that we are a Christ-centred community developing extraordinary learners with a passion to serve. Rianne embodies this purpose through her Christ-centred values, extraordinary dedication and passionate service to those in need. In recognising Rianne’s achievements, the College not only honours an outstanding alumnus but also exemplifies the compassionate and service-oriented spirit at the heart of William Clarke College.
If you would like to find out more about supporting and partnering with the work at Parramatta Womens Shelter, please visit www.parrawomensshelter.org.au or contact Rianne Ware directly at email@example.com