"For the first time ever I'm speechless"
UPDATE THURSDAY: JODIE McRae said for the "first time, I think, ever" she was speechless when she was announced Regional Woman of the Year at Parliament House yesterday.
"It was such an honour ... It was a big shock," she said.
"Even though you have that time beforehand to think about it, to actually win it was unbelievable."
Ms McRae said awards such as the Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year acknowledged the important contribution individuals make everyday.
"As women we can get in there and make a difference, we just have to have that belief in ourselves, which often isn't easy but it's certainly possible," she said.
"It doesn't matter whether it's illness, gender, race or religion, there's no boundaries."
UPDATE 12.30PM: MEMBER for Lismore Thomas George has congratulated Jodie McRae, the founder of Jodie's Inspiration, on being voted the 2016 Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the year.
He said it was fantastic to see Jodie being publicly recognised for her tireless fundraising and relentless public education that has assisted North Coast women in the early detection of breast cancer.
"The NSW Women of the Year Awards honour women who have made an outstanding contribution to this state and local community," Mr George said.
The award was presented today by Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Women Pru Goward at a special reception at Parliament House.
INITIAL: JODIE McRae, the founder of Jodie's Inspiration and an inspiration herself, has won the Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year 2016.
Ms McRae attended a special reception at Parliament House today where the announcement was made.
Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Women Pru Goward congratulated the five winning women.
"Each and every woman who was nominated for an award is an inspiration and should be very proud to be recognised by her peers as having made an exceptional contribution to improve the lives of others," Ms Goward said.
"From medical research that will revolutionise treatment of some of our greatest health problems to charities, programs and education that are changing lives, these very worthy winners are outstanding examples of women who are making an immense contribution to the community and transforming lives," Mr Baird said.
There were 331 nominations for Regional Woman of the Year, and Ms McRae is one of five winners.
More than 12,900 people cast their vote this year.
The winners and their achievements are as listed:
Premier's Woman of the Year Award - Jennifer Armstrong
Jennifer is the founder of the Beauty Bank, a charity collecting toiletries and other beauty products for women in need, particularly those experiencing domestic and family violence. The Beauty Bank has helped more than 3000 women and men since 2013 and is now the signature charity partner of the Cronulla Sharks. A survivor of domestic violence, Jennifer is also a popular leadership speaker for both corporate organisations and schools, motivating and educating others on the effects of domestic violence and the power of resilience.
NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year - Dana Clarke
A proud Worrimi Aboriginal woman, Dana has worked in aboriginal health, domestic violence prevention, child protection, sexual assault and mental health for more than 25 years. She is a passionate advocate for the needs of Aboriginal children and young people in out of home care and is a recognised leader in her community.
As the chief executive officer for the Burrun Dalai Aboriginal Corporation since 2005, she has ensured that services to children and their families and carers achieve the best possible life outcomes. She is committed to ensuring that Aboriginal children are raised in safe, nurturing environments which connect them with their community and culture, while maintaining their family identity and relationships.
A.H. Beard Community Hero Award - Fadia Ghossayn
Fadia is the founder of the Australian Lebanese Foundation at Sydney University as well as heading another Foundation that annually takes 15 young Australians to Lebanon as part of a responsible Australian citizen program.
Fadia plays a vital role in promoting cultural cohesion and harmony between Lebanese and Australian people through fundraising for scholarships and providing opportunities across the board. Her tenacity has resulted in better cultural understanding and cooperation between Lebanese and Australian people. She inspires and mentors young Lebanese Australians to reach their full potential and strive to reach their goals while embracing Australian values.
Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year - Dr Dharmica Mistry
Dharmica is an exceptional researcher involved in implementing life changing medical research around early detection of breast cancer. Her dream is to transform women's health worldwide. Dharmia, a recipient of the 2015 Young Scientist Awards, is inspiring young women considering a career in medical research and microbiology.
Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year - Jodie McRae
Jodie is a single mother who owns five successful small businesses in the Lismore and surrounding areas.
Diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer in 2013 and then secondary breast cancer in 2014, she has used her entrepreneurial skills to found Jodie's Inspiration, a not-for-profit organisation that at the first fundraiser raised more than $100,000 to purchase essential equipment for the local oncology unit.
Despite her poor prognosis, Jodie's tireless fundraising and relentless public education has assisted local women in the early detection of breast cancer.