NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards

2017 Finalists


First National Real Estate Leadership Award:

Nat Ware, 28 of WAITARA founded the successful volunteer organisation, “180 Degrees”. “180 Degrees” provides a platform to increase civic engagement and develop future leaders, and has positively impacted 100 million lives worldwide. Nat was selected to represent Australia at the World Economic Forum, and the St Gallen Symposium where he was named a ‘Leader of Tomorrow’. He was also named a ‘Global Leader’ by Goldman Sachs and was invited to New York to receive further leadership training.

Maddison O'Gradey-Lee, 19 of BATEAU BAY is the founder and CEO of mental health awareness organisation “Its-All-About-MI”. She is also co-designer of the ‘Live it Speak Program’ to destigmatize mental illness, and is fundraising $68,000 to build a school in Cambodia. Maddison is a member of the Foundation of Young Australians Young Social Pioneers Program. She recently presented to the United Nations about alleviating poverty, and was selected to represent Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference.

Rachael Stevens, 25 of HOLDER is an advocate for people experiencing mental illness. She has spoken to 5,000 young people at speaking engagements and received the 2016 ACT Young Women of the Year. In 2014, Rachael held a solo art exhibition to raise funds for suicide prevention and published her novel ‘The Skeleton Diaries’, helping people with mental illness. She has worked with The Youth Coalition of the Headspace and Create Foundation, and runs mental illness workshops.


Awards Australia Small Business Achiever Award:

Evelyn Vallejo - Viewspotter, 28 of SYDNEY is the co-founder of Viewspotter, created to help small to medium size businesses access the world’s best digital media inventory. Evelyn saw an opportunity to provide strategic vision on digital media and access to the best technologies, previously only available to big international brands. In just one year, over 100 digital marketing strategy campaigns have been launched. Viewspotter is creating equality in the market, allowing more brands to compete, regardless of their size.

Cindy Huynh - HSC Hero, 21 of SMITHFIELD co-founded “HSC Hero”, an online educational platform providing free video tutorials for HSC students. Since launching in July 2016, “HSC Hero” has supported over 1,600 students gain confidence in completing their Exams with success.”
Cindy was recently selected for Investible's LAB#5 Accelerator Program and is now mentored by top Global entrepreneurs in the tech industry. “HSC Hero” is currently in conversation with Australian and Asian investors who have expressed interest in working together.

Isobel Crumblin - Fly By Fun, 27 of REDFERN is the Founder and Director of Fly By Fun, Australia's leading children's entertainment company. Having provided entertainment for 8,300 parties and events across Australia since 2008, Isobel and the team have been experts in fun. She has 80 well trained and experienced entertainers and will turnover over $800,000 this financial year. Fly By Fun give back to the community by visiting places such as Ronald McDonald House, Bear Cottage and Sydney Children's Hospital.

Nipuni Wijewickrema - GG's Flowers, 23 of YARRALUMLA founded GG’s Flowers, a social enterprise florist providing meaningful employment for people with special needs. Originally established to create employment for her sister who has Down Syndrome, GG’s Flowers has since employed eight people with special needs and has delivered thousands of bouquets. The business continues to run profitably and steadily – seeing a growth in their team and portfolio. In 2016, Nipuni was named ACT Young Australian of the Year.


Aboriginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award

Carlie Gemmell, 27 of GLENFIELD PARK has used her studies of the Wiradjuri Language to advocate for students. She worked as Future Moves School Outreach Officer developing and delivering workshops to support the engagement of students in higher education. Carlie has graduated from the Wiradjuri Language Graduate Certificate where she developed a handbook of language and culture activities called "Wiradjuri basics for Teachers and Students". She has recently started as the Indigenous Student Liaison Officer for Charles Stuart University.

Renee April Wootton, 23 of RANDWICK is a proud Tharawal woman and an enthusiastic Aerospace Engineer. She volunteers with “POE”, The Power of Engineering, who provide regional and rural students with workshops, speakers and engineering site visits. Renee was the enabler in partnering up POE with Careertrackers a not for profit organisation providing Indigenous University students with private sector internships. She regularly speaks at high schools to share her vision of improving female representation in the Engineering Field.

Maeve Thomson, 24 of LILYFIELD is in her second year of teaching at Alexandria Park Community School. She led the reintroduction of the Higher School Certificate course ‘Aboriginal Studies’ and created engaging Aboriginal education programs. Maeve coordinated the ‘Songlines’ collaborative artwork project for NAIDOC and led the inaugural Aboriginal Studies Community Experience Trip. She is an active member of the Aboriginal Studies Association and was praised for her presentation at the 2016 Aboriginal Studies Association Annual Conference.


The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award:

Holley Somerville-Knott, 13 of LENNOX HEAD is a passionate entrepreneur and artist and is currently learning drums and song writing. Holley uses her singing to raise awareness about climate change, touring Australia visiting schools and festivals. She founded the ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’ campaign, using musical performances about the alternatives of using palm oil. Holly was awarded best junior singer in the Fastrack Talent Competition and was the headline act at the 2016 World Environment Day Sunshine Coast.

Kaylene Milner, 29 of LEICHHARDT launched her knitwear label ‘WAH-WAH Australia’ in 2015. She collaborates on designs with Australian artists and bands, with a percentage of every sale going back to them. Kaylene was featured as one of Vogue Australia’s “Top Ten Emerging Designers” and chosen to show at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia and Woolmark’s Wool Week. Kaylene’s focus is to run an environmentally and financially sustainable business, and will embark on an international five week study tour.

Jessica Van, 28 of WATERLOO is a dedicated fashion designer, who draws inspiration from the Australian environment, flora and fauna. Jessica showcased her first collection at Australian Fashion Week in 2016, and the again at the New York Fashion Week. She spotlights the environment when creating her prints and fabrication, and believes in promoting local manufacturing and design. Currently working two jobs, whilst building her business, Jessica is determined to make it as a designer and showcase her creativity.

Louisa Magrics, 26 of MAYFIELD is a professional artist and musician. She supports her local community and offers live music or installation art. Louisa has performed at music festivals such as Nimbi Roots, Peats Ridge and GrrlFest. She has exhibited at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Maitland Regional Art Gallery and received the Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize. Louisa is completing her Masters and continues her growth with a practice-as-research methodology, performing pop-up installations at music and art festivals.


WHO Printing Environment & Sustainability Award

Joe Duggan, 28 of HACKETT is the creator of ‘Is This How You Feel?’ a project designed to engage people about climate change. Joe has travelled around Australia, exhibiting hand written letters from some of the world’s leading climate researchers answering the question: ‘How does climate change make you feel?’ The project is internationally recognised, and has received reviews on websites such as the National Journal, Buzzfeed UK and Joe’s website, has reached hundreds of thousands of people.

Anika Molesworth, 29 of BROKEN HILL is a founding member of Farmers for Climate Action and creator of Climate Wise Agriculture, a knowledge sharing platform connecting science research to farmers. Anika also founded and manages INTO Sustainable Farms, a program of the International National Trust Organisation which operates in 70 countries, promoting the conservation and preservation of natural resources, heritage breeds and heirloom species as well as the use of traditional farming practices. Anika is also a highly sought after keynote speaker and educator.

Joshua Gilbert, 25 of GRIFFITH campaigned for a fundamental change in the NSW Farmers Association policy to encourage greater use of renewable energy. As a result, former US-presidential candidate Al Gore invited Josh to be part of his Climate Reality Project. For this project, Josh produced the video “Australia’s Young Green Farmers” which has been viewed in 75 countries by over 100 million people. Josh has received many Awards including the Australian Geographic Young Conservationist of the Year.


Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award

Ella Reed, 25 of COOKS HILL is a long serving youth advocate and the current Youth Mayor for Newcastle City Council. Ella founded Wings and Strings, and collects donations of women’s hygiene products to distribute to organisations that support people experiencing hardship. She also established a youth short film competition, attracting 500 people each year. Ella’s goals are to finish her Social Science degree and become a global leader and advocate for young females.

Nat Ware, 28 of WAITARA created the “180 degrees” program in 2007 to help reduce homelessness, improve education and alleviate poverty, whilst also training the next generation of leaders. Nat has successfully trained 12,000 future leaders, helped 1,800 charities improve and expand their services and has provided 2.6 million hours of pro bono consulting. Nat has personally volunteered more than 14,000 hours. 180 Degrees now operates in 33 countries and is the world’s largest volunteer consultancy.

Nipuni Wijewickrema, 23 of YARRALUMLA was the youngest person to graduate as a Lifeline Crisis Counsellor. She has volunteered for six years and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for Lifeline Canberra. Nipuni is a devoted advocate for people with special needs and was frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities, so she created GG’s Flowers. GG’s Flowers now has eight special needs employees, providing them with meaningful employment. Nipuni hopes to expand the florist nationally.

Ruth Lewis-Jones, 28 of BUNDEENA is the founder and CEO of Esteem Designz, established to empower girls by building self-esteem, and improving mental health through creativity. Esteem Designz has already been implemented in 300 schools and community organisations, equipping 8,000 girls with important skills and resources. Ruth also pioneered the ChooseREAL Campaign, a global movement encouraging females to embrace and celebrate their own identity and value. Ruth volunteers on average 65 hours each week in her advocacy for females.