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News > Past Student News > In Conversation with Xanthe Lowe-Brown ('18) and her Mother, Penny Wolff ('92)

In Conversation with Xanthe Lowe-Brown ('18) and her Mother, Penny Wolff ('92)

This issue, we spoke to two St Margaret's Old Girls, mother and daughter, about how they demonstrate their commitment to leadership through service to the community.

This issue, we spoke to two St Margaret’s Old Girls, mother and daughter, about how they demonstrate their commitment to leadership through service to the community.  Penny Wolff (’92) is a Co- Founder of Wolff Coffee Roasters, QUT Entrepreneurship Mentor, Ambassador for the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust, 2023 Judge for Dancing CEO’s – an initiative that raises funds for Women’s Legal Service Queensland and the Chair of St Margaret’s Foundation. Xanthe Lowe- Brown (’18) is a past School Captain, recipient of the Winifred Crawley Memorial Prize for Service and Loyalty, talented musician and is on a mission to enhance people’s wellbeing through music with her PhD study at the University of Melbourne.

Xanthe - I remember very clearly in 2018, arriving home from school, and delivering the exciting news of the Speech Night Awards and that I was the recipient of the Winifred Cawley Memorial Prize for Service and Loyalty. Your immediate words were “No Way!” I was the recipient of that prize in 1992 at Speech Night! What are the chances?

Penny – Yes, this was a very special moment. Still to this day “service and loyalty” continue to be significant drivers of my “why”. In all that I do I have a strong desire to give and help others in our community. To serve others brings me great joy.

We are both very fortunate, as St Margaret’s really instilled these qualities in me and also you Xanthe. To this day I am grateful for the leadership opportunities in my senior years, that really helped shine a light on ways to serve others in our community. You were involved with Oaktree, Toc H, Sony Camp, Ponytail Project and I remember being involved with Amnesty International, raising funds for many charities and in my senior years, I have fond memories of volunteering regularly in the aged home, talking to residents.

Xanthe - I feel very fortunate to have not only received a St Margaret’s education, but also an upbringing that has taught me the importance of thinking beyond “me” and giving to others. How can you help others to embrace your “living is giving” attitude?

Penny – Agree with you Xanthe, with a background in education, studying this at University and subsequent years of teaching and educating, I understand the importance of a quality education that motivates students and sets you up to be a productive and professional citizen who can make an impact in our society. But further to that, St Margaret’s is much more than a school providing education, it is a community. Giving is about helping our community, the strong desire to help others beyond oneself.

Xanthe - Mum, why do you want to continue to be involved at St Margaret’s as the Chair of the Foundation? What impact are you hoping to make during your term?

Penny – St Margaret’s has given me so much personally. As Chair of the Foundation, I am dedicated to pay it forward for future generations to equally access opportunities and possibilities they thought were never possible.

As Chair I hope to assist, by ensuring students have access to innovative educational facilities, while also preserving the rich history of the school. I’m so proud of the St Margaret’s Foundation, we lead the way through a committed group of individuals who are passionate about the school. I’m hoping to really leave a legacy for todays and tomorrows generation of young women.

Xanthe – You have done so much “giving” across your career and I am in awe of your endless energy you give to the wider community. What have been some of your most memorable moments giving to others?

Penny – Definitely Dancing CEOs and all the work I have done with Women’s Legal Services QLD has been a highlight. I was very fortunate to have this opportunity and platform to contribute to help raise funds for women and children experiencing domestic violence to reach a safer future. Being named Fundraising Champion in 2019 was an honour.

Another highlight is the giving that we do through our business endeavours with Wolff Coffee Roasters. We give back to our coffee farmers and their communities by raising money and gathering resources for various projects such as providing water tanks and donating books and resources for children in the community. Last year, we also held the Queensland AeroPress Championships at Wolff Coffee Roasters and donated all proceeds to Beyond Blue. It is through fundraising events like these that we strive to give back to the community.

Lastly, witnessing “The Giving Day” rolling out over the past three years at St Margaret’s and the momentum and growth of the initiative, with more people getting involved each year, has been rewarding. I look forward to seeing what the St Margaret’s “Giving Day” brings this year, on the 24th of May and witnessing the magic of giving as our school community comes together.

Xanthe - You continue to inspire me everyday. The importance of giving that you have instilled in me has inspired me to make a difference to the lives of others through my PhD research. My goal for my PhD research is to enhance the wellbeing outcomes for music listeners around the globe who use music streaming services by making progress towards improved music recommendation algorithms that help listeners regulate their emotions.

Penny – One thing “giving” has taught me is that the focus needs to be on eliminating the suffering caused by social problems. “Giving” is about love of humankind, it’s not just about donating money, it’s about sharing your energy, time and simply participating. Sharing your experiences, skills, knowledge and helping others creating a better world for all. I am so proud of the work you are doing Xanthe to improve wellbeing for all through music.

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