A Te Awamutu woman has shown her leadership skills on the world stage after being elected the International President of Altrusa.

Leanne Milligan was installed as the leader of the international non-profit organisation at its recent 100th anniversary convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Eight members of Altrusa Te Awamutu joined Ms Milligan for the celebration which included a karanga and haka.

"We certainly brought a touch of Kiwi to America," Ms Milligan says.


"It created quite a 'wow' moment at the convention."

Altrusa strives to improve local communities through leadership, partnership and service.

Altrusa Te Awamutu president Rosalie Rea says Ms Milligan is determined to put her mark on the world and make a difference.

"We are all very proud of Leanne. New Zealand is just a speck in the ocean but she has put it on the map."

Te Awamutu club member Robyn Atherton describes Ms Milligan as hard-working, inspirational and encouraging.

"She's very approachable and no job is beneath her dignity."

Ms Milligan is an original member of Te Awamutu Altrusa, which was founded in 1994.

In the last two decades she has held every position in the club.


She was District Governor for the 2009 - 2011 biennium, International Treasurer and Convenor of the International Convention.

She has received numerous awards, among them the inaugural Margaret Inch Leadership Award, awarded to a member who has shown positive leadership in her community and local club.

The Te Awamutu club awarded Ms Milligan a Foundation Lamplighter in 2009.

This was followed by a Diamond Chip to add to the lamplighter, awarded by District Fifteen (New Zealand) for services to the district.

She has been committee chair for four club extensions and won the Lynette Young sponsorship award in 2006 for introducing the most members to Altrusa.

Ms Milligan has established several district literacy projects, including the Altrusa Great Read, and established the club's first international service project.

She has held the position of International Treasurer and co-chaired the Governor's Council.

Ms Milligan served on the International Bylaws, Rules and Regulations committee from 2001-2003 and was International Service Development chairperson from 2003-2005.

Despite her international responsibilities Ms Milligan maintains her interest and enthusiasm for the Te Awamutu club and community.

She is the Waitomo Petroleum Chief Financial Officer, Multiple Sclerosis Waikato chairperson, fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand and member of the Board of Trustees for the Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust.

Ms Milligan says becoming an Altrusan was one of the best decisions she has ever made.

"It provided me with a way to grow as a leader, make great friends and make a difference in my community," she says.

"Taking on a leadership role of this magnitude can be daunting. But with the support of my employer and local Altrusans I know I can achieve all that I want to over the next two years."