Seven News Young Achiever Awards - NSW/ACT

2018 Finalists 


First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Dane Moores, 29 of Wright co-founded the Gold Coast Street Library to provide free books for homeless people. Passionate about human rights, Dane has served as a UNICEF Young Ambassador, ACT representative on the Youth Advisory Group at Amnesty International and as a Rotary International Peace Fellow. Recognised as a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum, Dane is currently a Board member at ADRA Australia and senior policy advisor at World Vision.

Emma Byrne, 27 of Canberra is a change maker and regional youth ambassador. She worked closely with ACT Police coordinating the Champions ACT campaign, encouraging young people to look after each other when drinking alcohol. Emma has encouraged government agencies to embrace online technology and her NSW National Youth Week work improved information provision and community engagement. Her online engagement strategy for the NSW Corrective Services, Sober Driver Program represented a significant shift in police practice.

Dr Nicole Seebacher, 28 of Sydney was awarded her PhD in Medicine in 2015, without corrections. The results of her extensive research on chemotherapeutics is currently undergoing clinical trials to treat patients with advanced tumours. She has presented at 21 international and national conferences, published in 12 journals and has won many Awards. In 2017 Nicole continued her cutting-edge cancer research at Harvard University. Nicole also is a volunteer mentor for young indigenous female students.

Lily Wu, 23 of Sydney made $500,000 with her first business before finishing high school. At 19, she co-founded Austern International. They have run over 25, three week career boot camps, providing 500 Millennials and 50 companies with entrepreneurial and leadership skills. Generating over $1 million revenue, Austern International has twice been awarded Best Work Experience Provider. Lily has received many awards and also published two children books and held a solo art exhibition.


The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award

Grace Partridge, 25 of Northbridge founded Antidote, a network to champion gender equality and cultivate social change through art. With a growing instagram following, she curates three public exhibitions per year with artists worldwide and has partnered with The Sydney Opera House. She has worked as a theatre facilitator and tutor for companies like Milk Crate Theatre, ATYP and with young ensembles in Rural NSW, and most recently served as the NSW Amnesty ARTillery Action Group State Leader in 2016-2017.

Leonard Weiss, 25 of Forrest is a musical conductor commanding multiple composition commissions. He is current musical director and conductor of the Canberra Youth Orchestra, National Capital Orchestra, ANU Choral Society and Canberra Qwire. Leonard is also an accomplished solo carillon performer. He teams local performances with international concert appearances across USA and Europe. Leonard is a conducting student of Richard Gill AO and a student of the Royal Carillon School Jef Denyn in Belgium.

Vanessa Marian Varghese, 29 of Byron Bay is founder of Groove Therapy, an initiative designed to enhance Australians’ mental health through dance. Since the first Groove Therapy class held in 2016, over 2,200 people have attended across Australia. Vanessa also founded Groove Therapy Agency (GTA) to champion dancers of diversity and has worked with several major international brands like Samsung and Nike. Vanessa has been named as one of Westpac’s Unstoppable Millennials.

Will Hazzard, 16 of Meadow Flat is an autistic artist proving disability is not a defining factor in producing art. Three of his original paintings sold on opening night in the 2016 Artshed exhibition. Will generously donates his original artworks to organisations and not-for-profit groups for fundraising purposes. He’s been extensively profiled in NSW newspapers, won the Advocate for Children and Young People design competition and had his paintings tour NSW in 2017 and 2018.


Aboriginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award

Amy Sarandopoulos, 28 of Redfern is a former elite athlete; holds multiple tertiary qualifications and has volunteered for AIME, NASCA and in Tanzania. Amy was awarded Life Membership of the International Sociology Honour Society by the University of Wyoming. Currently Program Manager for two Western Sydney High Schools, she has reinvigorated the Young Indigenous Pathways Program. Students are demonstrating commitment to schooling, pride in their Aboriginality and program participation has subsequently doubled.

Emma Chapman, 25 of St Clair is an English teacher at Merrylands High School. In 2017, she was merit selected to the role of Aboriginal Education Co-Ordinator at the school. Emma supports Aboriginal students to gain scholarships and trains staff on the 8-ways of learning. She developed lessons around Welcome to Country and the Dreaming to enhance all student’s cultural awareness. Emma has made the Aboriginal Education role unique, empowering Indigenous and Non-Indigenous staff.

Shaarn Hayward, 26 of Bonny Hills is a proud Wiradjuri woman and the Indigenous Academic Success Coordinator at Charles Sturt University. Shaarn works to engage, encourage and support Indigenous students. She is responsible for the University's Indigenous tutoring program with more than 500 Indigenous students enrolled. Shaarn also volunteers on the Luminosity Youth Summit Committee to enhance the Indigenous voice. She has been a UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador, advocating and educating on the rights of children.

Hailee Provest, 21 of Windradyne is employed as an Aboriginal Family Guide by Centacare Bathurst. She is a strong advocate for ongoing education for Aboriginal people. Hailee completed her Diploma of Community Services, with distinction in 2015 and leads the development and delivery of a wide range of educational activities. A trained facilitator in Sista Speak, Keeping Children Safe and Out of The Dark, she achieves outstanding outcomes for families in her community.


Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award

Ana Musson, 23 of Sydney has received an Order of Australia and a Top 100 Future Leaders in Australia Award. She has volunteered extensively with School for Life Foundation and as CFO of 180 Degrees Consulting. Ana has developed cooperatives in rural Uganda, promoting sustainable agriculture in developing countries and leveraged technology to reduce food wastage and pollution. Ana has been selected to attend Stanford University’s, Asia-Pacific Student Entrepreneurship Society’s Summit.

Hannah Diviney, 18 of Penshurst lives with cerebral palsy and was inspired to co-found Krazy Kosci Klimb. Currently, 75 teenagers and young adults living with cerebral palsy or other disabilities have walked assisted, to the top of Mount Kosciuszko. Krazy Kosci Klimb has raised over $900,000 for the Accessible Gym and Sports program at Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Hannah has been accepted into a double degree of Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of International Studies.

Michael Bonnici, 20 of Alfords Point ontributes over 200 volunteer hours every year. He is Director of Lifesaving, educational speaker and award-winning Patrol Captain at Wanda Surf Club. He also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, Australian Red Cross Blood Service and Salvation Army. Michael raised $3,000 for Samaritans Purse Australia and volunteered time to help build schools in disadvantaged Battambang, Cambodia. He was recently named as the Sydney South Young and Overall Volunteer of the Year.

Sacha Thomas, 17 of Balmain is vision-impaired and is a tireless volunteer and advocate for the vision impaired. Her volunteer work at Riding for the Disabled raises awareness of the organisation who offers a sense of freedom to those with a disability whilst allowing them to develop skills in handling physical and emotional challenges. Sacha is also a Voluntary Youth Advocate for SAVESIGHT and voluntary member of the Youth Reference Group for HEADSPACE.


Worldwide Sports Award

Deborah Greenbaum, 20 of Blakehurst is an aerobic and artistic gymnast. At the 2017 Australian Championships she won a Silver and Bronze medal in Artistic Gymnastics and a Silver Medal for Aerobic Gymnastics. Deborah is also a committed coach, judge and President of the Gymnastics NSW Youth Advisory Panel. She established the campaign ‘LCT for PNG’ where old gymnastic attire is donated to developing gymnastic clubs in Papua New Guinea.

Jemma Smith, 18 of Daleys Point is a Surf Life Saving and Kayaking athlete. Jemma was named the Surf Life Saving Australia Young Athlete of the Year for both 2016 and 2017.
She is captain of the Australian Youth Team and is the current World Youth Ironwoman, board and ski champion. At the surf club, Jemma trains and coaches and assist with the nippers when competition and travel schedule permits.

Finnian Alexander, 19 of Gladesville is a National and World Champion in Laser Radial Class sailing. He won the Youth World Championship and the Under 21 Australian National Championships. Gaining selection to the Australian Sailing Squad Men’s Laser Class his dream of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is in his sights. Finnian is an advocate for young sailors and regularly speaks about sailing and what he has achieved in his career.

Simon Chandra, 14 of Brookvale trains in Jiu Jitsu every week for 6 days whilst also teaching classes and acting as a mentor for younger students. His commitment has seen him overcome injury to gain first place at the Abu Dhabi World Youth Championships. He is Pan Pacific Champion and has three state and three Australian championships. He shows gratitude to Professor Bruno Alves and others who have supported his success so far.

WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award

Brandon Charles Evertz – Big Review TV, 24 of The Rocks is Co-Founder and CEO of Big Review TV, an innovative video technology and marketing company. Big Review TV operates in seven countries and is Australia's biggest producer of online video content for small to medium businesses. Starting with $500 when he was just 19, Big Review TV is now a publicly listed company worth over $270 million. Brandon’s goal is simple. To raise business and social engagement through VIDEO.

Joshua Ross – Humanitix, 29 of Sydney  is co-founder of Humanitix, the world’s first not for profit ticketing platform that redistributes booking fees to end poverty, suffering and education gaps. Humanitix guarantees at least 30% of their total fees are donated to the charity nominated by each event organiser. Joshua has received a scholarship to represent Australia at the Social Enterprise World Forum. Humanitix sales are over $5 million in its first full financial year.

Alix O'Hara – Mashblox Pty Ltd, 29 of Deakin has overcome domestic violence and homelessness to successfully found Mashblox. Mashblox consists of hollow silicon building blocks that parents fill with food, allowing infants to learn to feed themselves, eating only until full. Alix was awarded Canberra Women in Business, Young Businesswoman of the Year in 2017, and attained a New Small Business Management Certificate. Her mission is to reduce infant obesity, whilst making nutritional food fun.

Luke Piccolo – Limone Dining, 28 of Griffith opened Limone Dining in 2015, a regional fine dining restaurant with a focus on local seasonal produce. Limone Dining is known as a destination restaurant and has gained a reputation for fine food and service. Luke is also on the steering committee for Taste Riverina Festival and proudly runs many successful events each year. He is a Director of Thrive Riverina and the chef ambassador for Murray Cod Australia.


Soroptimist International Women Creating Change Award

Anastasia Volkova, 26 of Eveleigh founded FluroSat, which focuses on sustainable technological solutions to overcome food scarcity. Fifty per cent of FluroSat staff are women. In its first 12 months, FluroSat raised $1 million in venture and grant funding and achieved $230,000 in revenue. Anastasia empowers future generations of female STEM professionals with education and opportunities. She received the 2017 Zonta International Amelia Earhart Award and is currently completing her PhD in aeronautical engineering.

Emily Milton Smith, 26 of Glenorie is co-founder and foremost advocate of the Girls Advisory Panel (GAP), a first-of-its-kind, youth-led advocacy project. GAP transforms participation of girls and young women in governance, empowering them to be proactive drivers of social change. Emily spearheaded the Girls Advisory Panel which has inspired countless trans-Tasman and Asia-Pacific counterpart programs. Emily is a qualified Girl Guides leader and has also undertaken a UNICEF internship.

Macinley Butson, 17 of Mangerton is a multi-award-winning inventor. Her latest invention is SMART Armour, formally known as Scale Maille Armour, for Radiation Therapy. SMART Armour helps breast cancer patients reduce unwanted radiation on their healthy breast. This elegantly designed radiation shield enhances both patients’ treatment outcomes and future life expectancy. Macinley recently became the first Australian to win first place at the INTEL International Science and Engineering fair in its 67-year history.

Stephanie Reed, 25 of Callaghan is leader-in-chief of HunterWiSE, a unique community for female STEM professionals to network, collaborate and mentor each other. Stephanie also spearheaded a HunterWISE high school intervention pilot, partnering female Years 9 and 10 students with leading female STEM role models to collectively solve real community issues. On the strength of Stephanie’s leadership, HunterWISE was selected for further funding by the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment.