The Illawarra Business chamber celebrated Janine Cullen's two terms as president of the peak business body's Regional Advisory Council during a networking event on Wednesday night.
Executive director Adam Zarth said IBC wanted to acknowledge Mrs Cullen's involvement and contribution to the chamber over many years including a long time as vice-president.
"During her time as president, and 20 years with the Chamber at both a local and state level, Janine has been involved in leading the business movement in our region through its periods of greatest change and development," Mr Zarth said.
"Janine has also provided strong mentorship to emerging business leaders in the region and has represented the Illawarra at the highest levels of the business chamber movement".
Former IBC president and immediate past president of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Terry Wetherall was asked to say some words about Mrs Cullen's contribution to the Illawarra community at the Business After Hours hosted at WIN Stadium by Venues NSW.
Mr Wetherall reflected on Mrs Cullen being there from the start when the Wollongong Chamber of Commerce and Industry merged with ABL.
And the progression to the NSW Business Chamber forming a regional advisory council for the Illawarra which gave the region's peak business chamber an even greater voice.
"She is a driving force in the chamber who helped the get the cars into Port Kembla and help Wollongong have a real go at getting the Mag Lev train down here," Mr Wetherall said.
"She has also made many charitable contributions. Lately that has included her work in the area of mental health with One Door and the Light and Hope Mental Health Clubhouse".
Mrs Cullen said she is standing down after serving a maximum four years or two terms as president but she does not intend to stop pushing for and promoting the region.
"I tried to do my best in the four years as president," she said.
"I have just been re-elected as a director and will be there to support the next president and vice-president. I had 11 years with the chamber before a five year break and then I came back four years ago.
"I had great dreams of achieving Maldon Dombarton and Mag Lev the first time I was on the board. They didn't happen but we are getting close. A lot of work has been done by the business chamber to get closer.
"But a lot of good things have happened such as the WEC, the stadium and the airport. I hope I can continue to contribute and I hope I have made a difference".
"What I have wanted to do is help make the region a better place and leave it a better place for the next generation by working behind the scenes to make things happen. You can't stay in the past, you have got to keep moving and I think there are some exciting things happening soon".
NSW Business Chamber director of policy and advocacy Chris Lamont described Mrs Cullen as a person with enormous energy and generosity.
Mr Lamont said some of her work and generosity was widely known but much wasn't because she worked hard behind the scenes for many causes and charities over many years.
"Importantly she is a great representative for the region not just here in the Illawarra but in Sydney. She often gets her way with things a mere mortal would not be able to achieve. And that is a testimony to her perserverance but her recognition at a higher level particularly with governments and key decision makers".
Mr Lamont said every community needed a Janine Cullen.
"She is part of the fabric of this community," he said.
"Her contribution has been outstanding. And I don't think it ends tonight but it is appropriate we celebrate what she had achieved for so many businesses and so many people in this community".