#24 Cindy Vogels is forging ahead with her career in fashion and the arts.
#24 Cindy Vogels is forging ahead with her career in fashion and the arts. Photography by Bambi

POWER 30: Gympie region's most influential revealed #24-22

THIS is a sneak peek into the Gympie region's most influential people of 2019 - the men and women who make the list of movers and shakers, decision makers and shot callers.

Over the next week, The Gympie Times will continue to count down with sneak peeks into the 30 most powerful people - online and in print. The lists will also reveal the region's most famous faces, young guns and and influential families.

The full list of the Gympie region's Most Influential People of 2019 will be revealed in a special publication inside The Gympie Times this Saturday.

Here we introduce the next three power players, ranked between 24 and 22.

POWER 30, 2019: Sneak peek at Gympie region's most influential #30

POWER 30, 2019: Sneak peek at Gympie region's most influential #29


Artistic creator and designer Cindy Vogels
Artistic creator and designer Cindy Vogels DONNA JONES

FOR the second year in a row the Devoted Milliner, Cindy Vogels, holds a spot in the Power 30, this time at number 24.

The dynamic single mum of four hit the headlines when one of her unique hat designs was worn by fashionista Lady Gaga in 2014.

Ms Vogels' influence comes from her connections in the fashion, music and art world and she held a position in Gympie Regional Council as Arts and Cultural Ambassador from March 2015 to July last year.

Her business, The Devoted Milliner, has evolved into Racy and Lucky, a designer clothing label that caters to emerging female artists in the music industry and as of April is now available online to the general public.

And it has proven to be great exposure, with Cindy's designs featured in 18 nationally and internationally published magazines.

Her most recent project was Space Girls, an innovative series of music and art festivals exclusively featuring the work of female artists and musicians. This work, in conjunction with arts powerhouse Jazmyn Smith, has had a number of events to date, which have been well received locally and is a future focus for the busy mum.

Recently her Collab A Nation art project was also making waves in the art community.

It shines a spotlight on all the behind-the-scenes creatives and turns their work into a performance piece of art.

Collab A Nation has been embraced by the artistic community, especially on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, with a precursor to the format used to help open the Brisbane Art Prize in 2016 at the Judith Wright Centre and Collab A Nation opening the Australian Wearable Art Festival at Eumundi last August.

Ms Vogels says that in everything she does, her family is always behind her, with her parents providing her a creative space and room for a distribution centre at their home and her children her inspiration.

"We all only have one shot at this and I want to show my children that when it gets tough, you have to give it everything you have.”

POWER 30, 2019: Sneak peek at Gympie region's most influential #28

POWER 30, 2019: Gympie region's most influential revealed #27-25


#23 Indiana Hehir, our youngest person to ever make the list.
#23 Indiana Hehir, our youngest person to ever make the list. Contributed

SHE only turned 17 this March, but hard-working and fearlessly passionate Gympie student Indiana Hehir has already taken the lead in helping young Australians find a voice in the national social and political conversation.

The soon-to-be James Nash State High School graduate accepted the role of a lifetime last year when she was chosen out of more than 450 applicants as one of this year's eight UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors.

That opportunity saw Indiana spend six months visiting schools in Gympie and as far north as Bundaberg, making her contribution to the overall YA goal of consulting face to face with more than 1500 children and young people from preschool age to young adulthood.

She determined government action to attack climate change and improved access to mental health resources and facilities were among local youth's primary concerns, which largely translated on the national scale.

Indiana helped combine the consultations with a national survey targeted at children aged between 14 and 17 to come up with UNICEF's 2019 Youth Ambassador report A Climate for Change, which was presented to 50 Australian politicians in Canberra last month, including Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien and Tanya Plibersek.

The journey helped Indiana progress some of her personal goals, like beginning a university degree in global studies next year.

"Growing up in a rural country town like Gympie I was always aware of issues that mattered to me, but I was never asked what I thought or to be a part of the conversation,” she said.

"Being a Young Ambassador meant I got the opportunity to speak with Gympie's young people, and young people outside Gympie, to ask them what matters to them.

"I wanted to encourage kids to take that opportunity to speak, to question things, to object to things.

"I also learned the power of listening. I can share my story as much as I want, but actually sitting back and listening to someone, taking in what they're saying and being open to them is a powerful tool to help us make change.”

Her UNICEF role ended upon the production of A Climate for Change and her meetings in Canberra, but Indiana says she's keen to remain active as an alumni for the organisation she loves and admires.

Indiana's outstanding contribution to both Gympie and Australia's youth, social and cultural sectors means she well and truly earns her keep as the youngest member of the 2019 Power 30 list.

POWER 30: The region's most influential families of 2018

2018 SLIDERS: Who jumped up the list of influence last year and who slid down


#22 Garry Davison
#22 Garry Davison Scott Kovacevic

GARRY Davison is Gympie born and bred (on both sides of his family) and he married a Gympie girl, Jenny.

The Gympie region has been a big part of what makes him like he is - interested in many things and hard-working, possibly as a consequence of his varied interests.

Community work runs in the family too. His father, a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma railway line, returned to Gympie and volunteered for the POW Association and the RSL.

"We came back in 1982 and bought the general store which then existed in Mellor St.

"I ran for council in '85 and '88 and was successful both times.”

In 1991, I ran for mayor against Mick Venardos and Joan Dodt. If it had been a horse race the result would have been fine. You don't mind coming third in a horse race.”

He started at Jobmatch and was its original manager when it first opened its doors here in 1992.

"We started with four employees and we now have 30 in offices here and in Kingaroy.”

It's a job he retired from last Friday, October 11.

Mr Davison has also been involved with the Rattler for many years.

Before starting with Jobmatch he was mainly active in the disability field, helping people with handicaps find employment.

"I'm on the board of Disabilities Employment Australia and we try to find vocations for people with all kinds of challenges in life.

"One of our big achievements was to remove the cap on federal funding for disability services, so people do not have to wait in line for their turn.

"We worked for 10 years to get aid uncapped and that happened in 2007.”

A big job is education of the community because it's not the disability that is the challenge some time, it's getting the community accept people who have abilities that can be harnessed.

President and Vice President of Disabilities Employment Australia, he has recently been inducted into the organisation's Hall of Fame.

"There are only about 12 or 14 so far, so I am very honoured.

"We try to bring value to the community by bringing out the best in the abilities of our clients.

"Albert Einstein had dyslexia, so it's not the disability that holds people back, it's the attitude of the community.

"In retirement I think I'll get involved in the Rattler more as a volunteer and trainee.

"Maybe even learn to drive a train,” he said.

SPORT POWER 20: The most influential people in Gympie sport #1-20


This list is a subjective talking point, not a scientific guide. We welcome feedback from the public. It is about the 30 most powerful and /or influential men, women and children living in the Gympie region. How strong and broad is their influence? A special committee of four community leaders from various walks of life have voted on who should be on this 2019 list and where they rank.

Is there somebody you think should be on the list? Email your contenders to editor@gympietimes or comment below and tell us why.

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