It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our newly appointed Board Director, Leonie Jackson, on Sunday 17 January 2021.  

Whilst on holidays with her family in the NSW South Coast at Congo Beach, Leonie was able to rescue her 10-year-old son who got caught in a strong rip, however, she did not make it out herself.

Leonie was a very generous person who gave selflessly to the Deaf community over the past 25 years.  She was the Executive Manager, Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships of Deaf Services and the Deaf Society, and joined The Benevolent Society board late last year.

Prior to this, Leonie was the CEO of the Deaf Society, the organisation’s first Deaf CEO in its 100-year history which she was very humbled and proud of. Leonie started her career teaching at the Royal Institute for Deaf & Blind Children (RIDBC) in Australia’s first bilingual program for Deaf children aged two to five, which she helped establish.

“We are extremely shocked and sad about the passing of Leonie,” said Jo Toohey, CEO, The Benevolent Society. “She was an inspirational leader who contributed so much to the Deaf community. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have worked with her."

“Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends and colleagues at Deaf Services and the Deaf Society during this incredibly difficult time. Leonie made such a positive impact in her career and life, she will be missed by many.”   

Leonie recently told her Benevolent Society colleagues that as a child she was taught the value of equality, that no one person is better than another, and that everyone should be treated the way one would expect to be treated. Those words and her contribution to our organisation and the Deaf community will always be remembered.