- Born 1 January, 1975, Melbourne Victoria Australia
- Occupation Accountant, Community worker, Educator
Romy Prins is a qualified CPA and Chartered Accountant who has worked across a range of industry sectors, including government and corporate organisations. She is studying for Masters of Education, teaches tertiary level accounting at Monash University and is involved in teaching for the CPA. ‘I find comfort in numbers’, she says. ‘I am at home in a spreadsheet’.
This comfort in numbers is part of the toolkit Romy takes to her volunteer work in Jewish communal organisations. She is particularly committed to reviving Emunah, a women’s organisation based in Israel that supports social welfare causes, including advocating on behalf of women and children. As a third generation member of the organisation (her grandmother and mother before her were also involved) she is concerned that it, like other Jewish communal organisations, will ‘fizzle out’ if more young, Jewish women don’t take up leadership opportunities. And while she doesn’t regard herself as a leader in this space (as treasurer at Emunah, ‘I am just a worker who works for the cause’) she is nevertheless committed to helping to shape an environment where women can ‘learn and develop as leaders as much as men can and as much as they want to do’. This commitment extends to involving orthodox Jewish women, who she sees as a largely untapped resource in Australia. ‘There are things that women in the orthodox community can’t do,’ she says, ‘but that doesn’t mean they can’t lead’.
Married, without children, but with significant family responsibilities, Romy juggles the competing demands of family, work and volunteering responsibilities with remarkable aptitude. She would like to increase her volunteering to include using her skills with numbers and teaching to work with women to improve their financial literacy. There are particular problems for women, beyond knowing that financial abuse is domestic abuse. ‘In ultra-orthodox communities,’ she says, ‘we have people on very low incomes trying to support very large families.’ She would like to help women better manage their lives through better managing their finances. But most of all she wants women to ‘be involved in community leadership in whatever capacity they want to be.’ For her, that means ‘just doing the work’.
It also means finding fresh approaches to attracting young people to get involved in communal organisations. ‘I am Jewish, young, modern orthodox and feel we have an issue with bringing younger Jewish women into leadership positions,’ she says. ‘I want to encourage and empower women to take them on, as part of a younger Jewish cohort in general.’