WOMAN ON A MISSION: Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight is a humble achiever.
WOMAN ON A MISSION: Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight is a humble achiever. Trevor Veale

Mayor named Coffs' Most Influential

DENISE Knight was "blown away and humbled" to hear she has been named Coffs Harbour's Most Influential.

The mayor was one of 35 people short-listed by a select committee for the prestigious title.

"I was blown away because there are so many remarkable people in the community. I am only one person with an army of community and council staff behind me."

For Denise, being influential is not about making decisions.

"It's about being somebody who people feel they can talk to and be heard."

Dedicated to a multicultural community with a focus on inclusion and equality, Denise has won a lot of community support with her fresh approach.

Upon being elected mayor in 2012, she claimed she was "a woman on a mission".

The revitalised Jetty Foreshore is perhaps one of her greatest achievements.

"The foreshore had been virtually untouched for almost 30 years but now there are people down here all the time," she said.

Denise describes the foreshore revitalisation as a "melting pot of goodwill" in a nod to the many organisations and levels of government who got behind the concept.

From school fetes to high-level meetings, her diary is packed.

"I really did intend on getting to as many things as I possibly could. It may just be a group of 10 people, but to those 10 people it's incredibly important to them.

"We have so many support groups, so many volunteers and it is about me getting out there and saying thank you."

Denise feels that at some levels of government and bureaucracy there is a certain lack of kindness and compassion, but says her nursing career has given her a firm grounding in these areas.

Looking to the future, she has her eyes set on the new art gallery/library and civic space in the CBD.

"There are a lot of things that are half done that need to be finished," she said.