Wellington's newly sashed Young Woman for 2023, Eliza Whitely, said she wants to use her new platform to change people's perceptions about the town she calls home.
"Working as a professional in Orange and Dubbo, Wellington sometimes gets a bit of a bad rap - young people aren't necessarily looking at the area thinking that's where I want to start my life and settle," she said.
"But as someone who loves the area so much and knows the beauty of the location, I really wanted to showcase that not some of the negatives.
"I really enjoy and love living in Wellington and I think this is a great opportunity to have a bigger platform to highlight the positive things about Wellington."
In a ceremony at the Wellington Show on Saturday, May 13, Ms Whitely was selected to represent Wellington as the 2023 Young Woman. Entrants were judged on their personality, presentation, confidence, general and rural knowledge, community involvement and ambitions.
Ms Whitely said she decided to enter the competition for the self development and public speaking opportunities it provides as well as to be an ambassador for a community she loves.
"There is such a rich community here, there are great events and lifestyle-wise, it's a beautiful spot to call home," she said.
"It's such a supportive community filled with incredibly talented individuals who are all running a number of business ventures. It makes you feel like you're a part of something bigger than yourself - you have that connection.
"I've been to boarding school, lived overseas, lived in Victoria for five years while I studied - me and my husband were thinking about where we wanted to settle down. And it was Wellington we decided on - not just for the family connections - but it was a place where we thought we could start our professional lives."
Ms Whitely will attend to her responsibilities as an ambassador for Wellington around her busy day job as an optometrist in a Dubbo clinic. She said she was drawn to a career in optometry due to a passion for rural healthcare.
"I really enjoy interacting with people so I always wanted to do a people-facing profession and another big drawcard was the opportunity to work in the country," she said.
"I saw from a very early age the disparities between living in a regional centre and the more metro areas. Even today, it's difficult to access a GP or healthcare services. That continuity of care is something there's barriers to access in the bush - even for myself as a health practitioner."
"Where I went to boarding school in Pymble in Sydney it felt like there was a medical centre on every block - but here there are always long wait times to access care."
Eliza Whitely will now go on to the zone competition in January where three young women from the region will go on to compete at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in Sydney next year.
She thanked the Wellington Show Society for their hard work organising the event year in, year out and choosing her to represent them.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: