Yvonne Keane is a very busy local Hills mum with many strings to her bow including Councillor on the Hills Shire Council (and since originally publishing this article she has been appointed as the Deputy Mayor), Board member of the Endeavour Foundation, White Ribbon Advocate, previous business owner, and former television co-host and magazine columnist. What we love the most is the fact that what makes her tick are the simplest of things – her gorgeous children and her local community.
Tell us about your and your background and how you ended up where you are today
My adult life has been a series of happy accidents. I’m an award-winning TV Producer who accidentally became an entrepreneur when I founded SugarBaby Cosmetics in 1997 (which I sold in 2001). When I designed and built my own home here in the Hills in 2002, I accidentally became the Pocket Rocket on Channel 7’s Hot Property program. I was invited back to co-host the program alongside the iconic Michael Caton in 2003, which led to a series of TV presenting gigs on Channels 7, 9 & 10, as well a weekly column in New Idea and a monthly section in Handyman Magazine.
It was in 2009, at the ripe old age of 39, that my bizarre career history really started to make sense, with the birth of my first child. Asher was born hearing impaired and he has taken me on my greatest journey yet – (accidentally) becoming a voice for those who are most vulnerable in our community. For my work with hearing impaired pre-schoolers I (accidentally) won a number of awards including NSW Woman of the Year (Community Hero) in 2012.
What do you love about what you do?
I love that although “what I do” is ever evolving, at the core I am using my talents to do some good and hopefully, along the way, influence positive change, no matter how small.
Who inspires you?
I meet people who inspire me every day. Ordinary every day people. However, at the risk of sounding like one of “those” mums, I am inspired mostly by my children. Asher has no idea just how hard he has worked to achieve it or what an amazing feat it is that he now attends a mainstream school speaking as effortlessly, clearly and fluently as any other child. His hearing impairment will never be a handicap to him in his life. For all intents and purposes he simply wears hearing aids, like another child might wear glasses. He has no idea how incredible this is.
My daughter, Saskia, reminds me to laugh, love and dance every day – and, importantly, to say “stop, I don’t like it” when in an unpleasant work situation!
What do you love about being a mum?
I love that I had no idea how much I would love being a mum! Yes it can tire, try and test you beyond any limit you have ever experienced before, however the joy I gain from the seemingly everyday moments is the bit that is so unexpected and wonderful. I particularly love those exquisite moments when my child’s eyes widen – that light bulb moment – as they learn something new about the world around them. (Like last week when I told Asher that superheroes weren’t actually real and that unfortunately no matter how hard he tried he would not be able to fly. I thought I might have broken his brain. Thankfully he is resilient and still loves his superheroes!)
I love secretly watching them while they play as they attempt new things on their own, explore the world around them, create secret realms, or each come up with hilarious explanations about ordinary every day things like the sky being blue. I love that I am so completely enchanted by these little people of mine.
What do you love about living in the Hills?
The community. Absolutely. It’s the unwavering generosity of our community that makes the Hills an extraordinarily special place to live. I was so touched by the overwhelming support we received when we were working to save Hear the Children. The community embraced us, supported us and were our partners in every sense of the word from day one. Since then I have seen our community embrace and support those who are vulnerable or in need, time and time again. You just have to scroll down the Hills District Mums Facebook group to see this in action every day.
What do you enjoy doing in the Hills?
Most of my close family live in the Hills, so we tend to spend our down time together enjoying child-oriented activities. We love discovering hidden parks and fab child-friendly cafés. And we especially love all the local fetes, markets, festivals and fairs that occur throughout the year. If there is a ride, a cake stall and a showbag, we’ll be there!