On Sunday, March 5, the NSW government joined together in celebrating Australia’s most exceptional women. Every year, these women are nominated by their communities to recognise the amazing contributions they’ve made to our society. From business, to science, to community, these kickass winners have proved once again when women are determined, not even the sky’s a limit.
Let’s take a look at this years winners
NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year Award Winner – Professor Maria Kavallaris
Professor Kavallaris is the Head of the Tumour Biology and Targeting program in the Children’s Cancer Institute. In over 30 years of work, Kavallaris has made significant discoveries in how to understand and treat neuroblastoma (the leading cancer in babies and 3rd in children), and significant research advancement in how cancer cells respond to anticancer drugs. Kavallaris has also made invaluable progress for the field of nanotechnology, developing an alternative and less destructive treatment solution for cancer.
Read more about Professor Maria Kavallaris here.
NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year Award Winner – Kirli Saunders
Kirli Saunders is a Gunai woman with connections to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal, and Biripi people. As an award winning children’s author, poet, and emerging playwright, Saunders is recognised for her efforts with Red Room Poetry and the Poetry in First Languages Project. Saunders’ work connects Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children to Elders, Language, and Country. All Saunders’ efforts works towards intergenerational healing and empowering First Nation communities.
She has also had a number of literary achievements such as the WA 2019 Premier’s Literary award, CBCA nominations, and been published in a number of journals such as Cordite, Overland, and Planthunter.
Read more about Kirli Saunders here.
NSW Business Woman of the Year Winner – Anneke van den Broek
As an entrepreneurial superstar and animal activist, Broek has dominated leadership roles in Australian businesses, running David Jones fashion shows at 23 and becoming the Blackmores executive manager at only 29. Broek, now runs Australia’s most awarded pet care brand, competing with top industry leaders, Mars and Nestlè. She has also started her own online business forum, providing essential mentorship ship and advice for high profile businesswomen.
Broek was also recognised for her partnership efforts with the Australian Pet Welfare Foundation, fighting to reduce euthanasia in Australian pounds.
Read more about Anneke van den Broek here
Community Hero Winner – Justine Lorenz
Justine Lorenz is a Deafblind practitioner, working with members to improve their tactile communication. Lorenz has made valiant efforts with the Community Disability Alliance Hunter Project, and has established a Deafblind peer network in the Hunter region. Lorenz’s work has enhanced the lives of Deafblind members, by helping them develop better relationships, build confidence and self esteem, reducing isolation, and trying new things.
Lorenz’s community work has seen Deafblind members doing some really cool stuff like riding motorbikes, swimming with sharks, and even creating a film to raise awareness for the Deafblind.
Read more about Justine Lorenz here.
Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year Winner – Hannah Beder
Hannah is a passionate software engineer and educator, striving to close the gender gap in the STEM industry. Beder has been recognised for her enormous efforts in representing women in the tech industry. She has been awarded for her work running free workshops with the Girls Programming Network, tutoring for the Coder Academy, and her facilitator and mentor work for Code Like a Girl. Beder’s work has empowered young women to follow their scientific dreams, by increasing female visibility in an otherwise male dominated field.
Read more about Hannah Beder here.
Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year Winner – Krystaal Hinds
Krystal Hinds has been volunteering for the Gunning Fish River Rural Fire Brigade for the last 32 years, and has been Captain for the last six. In her career as a firefighter, she has performed extraordinary work, especially this bushfire season. She works in both her local Southern Tablelands community, as well as being consistently deployed across the country with RFS. Hinds provides state-wide training leadership training to RFS and women in firefighting. Hinds efforts with women in firefighting has been staggering, with a 30% increase of female membership since her captainship.
Read more about Krystaal Hinds here.
First State Super Lifetime Achievement Award Winner – Christine Strachan
Cristine Strachan is the CEO of Burwood Community and Welfare Services. She has been recognised for her lifetime efforts in improving the lives of the less privileged. Strachan first began her philanthropic efforts 40 years ago, developing ubiquitous community support services such as Meals on Wheels and the Women’s Domestic Violence Advocacy Service. Both these services are still relevant today, providing invaluable support for women affected by DV and helping the homeless.
More recently, Strachan has expanded her efforts in developing a Specialist Migrant Placement Program, advocating for migrant women’s qualifications to be recognised in Australia. Strachan has worked endlessly for her community, and has developed other services supporting the disadvantaged in Sydney’s Inner West.
Read more about Cristine Strachan here.