CEO & Founder - Sober in the Country

CURRENT MEDIA BIO (January 2021)

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Shanna Whan is the founder, force, and CEO behind nationally recognised bush charity Sober in the Country. Against all odds, Shanna made it back from the brink of her own battle with end-stage alcohol addiction in isolation, minus support. She's now a respected lived-experience ambassador, spokesperson and leader who is fighting for others while constantly challenging the status quo and creating vast social impact in the process.



Shanna Whan is a national personality pioneering unprecedented social impact around alcohol awareness, education and change in rural and remote Australia. She advocates and fights for those who 'stick their hand up' and acknowledge they need a hand overcoming addiction in isolation but simply cannot get help or ongoing support in a timely manner that makes sense for them, thanks partly to geographic isolation and also due to the massive barriers such as stigmas that still abound in rural communities. As a recovered ''invisible'' alcoholic who had to rebuild her own life from Ground Zero at the age of 40, she dedicated 15,000 volunteer hours to using front-line lived experience to start a conversation that's since become a national charity. Her philosophy - and now SITC's charity philosophy - is deeply rooted in the famous Desmond Tutu quote that ''there comes a time when we need to stop pulling people out of the river when they've already drowned - and go upstream and find out why they're falling in.'' Shanna is going upstream and working to catch an entire overlooked demographic of hard working, rural men and women and fighting fiercely for change and support in this sector. She reckons if these people are good enough to get up and show up in decades of drought, floods, and pandemics to ''feed and clothe the rest of the nation'' that they're good enough for relevant and tailored, relevant, and timely support in their own time of need. 


Shanna has been officially recognised as a nominee / finalist in:

> AgriFutures Rural Woman of the Year (2017)

> SHINE Volunteer of the Year (2018)

> Australian of the Year (2019) 

> NSW Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year (2020)

> Australian of the Year (2021)

> 2021 Impact ProBono Awards (2021)

But she says that ''this charity and life's work isn't about accolades or prestige ... it's about human lives and how we can be part of critical change. Honestly, until we see action and change from our leaders in this space - these are merely certificates on the wall collecting dust. I'll feel truly satisfied when policy change and real action on the frontlines of our rural working men and women occurs.''  

PRONOUNCING FAQ: Pronounced: Shanna - like - Anna & Whan - like - Swan


IMAGES: we provide all images. As an ex photographer Shanna knows too well the expense of getting a quality image organised for publications. We negate that by giving publications a choice of up-to-date selections with a mixed mood from professional to fun to casual. Please choose your preferred marketing image from the tiles below and flick us a message via and we can get you a high resolution or web friendly version. If you see an image you like on Instagram, we can email that, too.

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The Sober in the Country Ltd charity is grateful for seed-funding in 2020 from these extraordinary donors.