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Cheryl Koenig

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Personal Development, Social Issues

Cheryl Koenig’s embrace of life shines through as she delivers inspirational presentations on a variety of issues close to her heart. Cheryl’s talks have a lasting impact on her audiences.

Where were you born?

I was born in Sydney, NSW, into a mixed culture which I refer to as “chicken soup with matzo balls and vegemite sandwiches”.  My mother was a beautiful, intelligent and feisty Australian-born Catholic woman of Irish descent and my father is a high-spirited, sports-crazy Romanian man of Jewish faith. Made for an interesting and drama-filled childhood!

What other jobs have you had?

Prior to the one split second that changed my life’s course, for 17 years my husband and I ran a very successful metal tool box manufacturing business where I performed all the necessary, but very mundane, financial administration tasks. Before that I was a super-efficient PA for an investment broker.

What themes are recurring in your work?

In my four published books there are recurring themes about hope, inner-strength and resilience, and how these qualities affect one’s endurance and even survival. Recurrent also, are themes about life-choices and defining happiness not by events (past, present or future) but rather as a ‘chosen’ quality of life. More tangible, however, in my various ‘ambassadorial’ and community roles, is a constant focus to raise funds for, and awareness of, sectors of society’s most vulnerable and voiceless: people with disability (PWD), carers, and refugees.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Some of the highlights of my career have been being named 2009 NSW Woman of the Year and in 2014 being the recipient of The Medal in the Order of Australia (OAM) for Services to people with disabilities, their families and carers. Also, receiving hundreds of emails and letters from people who have found something meaningful from my writing – the most rewarding email came from a teenage girl who was going to commit suicide until she read Paper Cranes.

Where have your works been published?

My works have been published in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, India, USA.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about too much (my husband tells me!). Creating meaning and purpose from life, despite or perhaps in spite of, being dealt some challenging hands.  Passionate about helping others – whether that be reaching people via my speaking roles or published works – it’s the most rewarding gift I can give myself.  Passionate about sharing stories…words and stories bridge the gap between past and present and connect us to our common humanity by linking us to others and giving us empathy for what others have faced.  And I’m committed to raising awareness of, and giving voice to, society’s marginalised…from carers to PWD to refugees… all of whom are socially isolated, financially fraught, and effectively exiled from mainstream in this ‘the lucky country’.  We need to and can do better!

Haven’t I seen you before?

You may have seen me on ABC’s 7:30 Report with my extraordinary son, Jono.  Or you may have seen me on Channel 7’s Sunrise program; or Channel 10’s The Project.  Or quite possibly you may have heard me interviewed on various national radio programs such as Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler. Or more recently, in 2015 you may have heard me speak about my latest book at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival; or read about me in Good Weekend’s Two of Us, where I spoke about the special bond I share with my Dad.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m told my lasagna is unsurpassable!


It was a truly inspiring speech… I am sure you inspired a great group of our next generation doctors, lawyers, and carers!  Only someone who has lived through such hardship and reaped the rewards can write something so inspiring.

— M. Borgevski, Support Team Leader, Slater + Gordon Lawyers, April 2016

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