7NEWS Young Achiever Awards - NSW/ACT

2023 Winners of the 7NEWS NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards

The 2023 winners with Hon Rose Jackson MP 


2023 NSW/ACT Young Achiever of the Year - Courtney Brookes


Coutney Brookes with Hon Rose Jackson MP


Spirit Super - Connecting Communities Award 

Harrison James and Brooke Goff, Employer Relationship Manager at Spirit Super

Harrison James is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Harrison is an ambassador for Polished Man, a charity organisation dedicated to ending violence against women and children. He was a key collaborator for Safe Sounds, Australia’s first sexual assault awareness music festival. Harrison was NSW Police’s voice and face in the rollout of S.A.R.O., a new way victims can report their assault.


Aboriginal Education Council- Aborginal Education Award

Tanieka Riley and Beverly Baker, Executive Officer at AED.

Tanieka Riley is leading the change around Aboriginal culture in education. Tanieka was an educator assistant who founded Yaali Collective in 2020. She designs, develops, and shares her resources to change how Aboriginal culture is shared, talked about and engaged within an education setting. Starting with one resource, Yaali Collective now stocks over 13 authentic resources that educators can utilise in their classrooms.


First National Real Estate- Leadership Award

Ashna Basu Representitve Mary Jane Estrada and Ray Ellis, CEO of First National 

Dr Ashna Basu is a doctor at Prince of Wales Hospital, specialising in Psychiatry. She is the President of the Medical Women’s Society (MWS) of NSW and the Chair of the Young branch of the Medical Women’s International Association (YMWIA), representing medical women under 40. In 2022, Dr Ashna co-organised a satellite event for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  


Western Sydney University- Academic Achievement Award

Daniya Syed and Prof Simeon Simoff dean of the school of Computer, data and mathematical Siences at Western Sydney University. 

Daniya Syed is a first-year Mechatronics Engineering student who has been participating in regional, national and international Robotics championships for the past six years as a member of STEMCells. She was captain of Team Australia at the 2022 Robotics Olympics, winning a silver medal. Daniya serves as Youth Ambassador for the Shahid Afridi Foundation. She helps raise funds for underprivileged girls in Pakistan.


Off Trail Coffee- Small Business Achievement Award

Paws and Me and Anna Patthana, Owner of Off Trail Coffee

Pawz & Me provides premium pet care services to pet owners through the Macarthur and Wollondilly regions and beyond, including dog walking, dog training, in-home pet-sitting, pet transportation and wedding pet assistant services. Pawz & Me employs nine staff and has four pet transportation vehicles. It has serviced over 1,000 clients in the last five years and now makes over $600,000 annual revenue.


NSW Ministry of Health- Aboriginal Health Award

Kalinda Wills and Hon Rose Jackson MP, Minister for youth. 

Kalinda Wills is a qualified Aboriginal Primary Health Care Practitioner with six years of experience working alongside Aboriginal communities in the NSW south coast. She has worked on the Dead or Deadly Program, which works with Aboriginal women to promote and enhance their physical, emotional, and social health. Kalinda also played a key role in supporting the Diabetes Remission for Aboriginal Women Program.


The Fullerton Hotel Sydney- Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Award

Melissa Allcroft and Rob Weedon, general Manager at the Fullerton Hotel Sydney.

Melissa Allcroft is a passionate tourism management professional. Melissa is the Marketing Manager at Girls Getaways, a boutique travel company that creates ready-made getaway packages for women. She is responsible for developing new and bespoke getaway packages for Girls Getaways and its new offering, Couples Getaways. Melissa also trains new employees, leads familiarisation trips across NSW, and manages their largest corporate bookings.


Freemansons of NSW/ACT- Commuity Service Award 

Sarah Williams and Stephen Green, Grand Secrectary at Freemasons NSW/ACT.  

Sarah Williams founded What Were You Wearing (WWYW) Australia, a not-for-profit organisation that fights to end sexual violence. Since starting she has given a voice to over 26,210 survivors and established Australia’s first ever exhibition, festival and university group on sexual assault awareness. In 2023, she was named Newcastle Woman of the Year and continues to be an advocate for survivors within the First Nations, LGBTQIA+ and disability community. 


Transgrid- Indigenous Achievement Award

Georgia Drumush and Sherrie Anderson 

Dr Georgia Durmush is a Wailwan and Gomeroi academic. She works as a Research Fellow at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education at the Australian Catholic University. She was awarded a “Summa Cum Laude” title for her PhD thesis on how Indigenous higher education youth conceptualises, supports, and leverages well-being. Georgia serves as a mentor to Indigenous higher-degree students at ACU.


Office For Regional Youth- Regional Achievement Award

Emma Johnston and Jonathan Wheaton, Acting Deputy Secretary for Department of Regional NSW.

Emma Johnston established a Mental Health Support Facebook page to provide information and support to people struggling with mental health. A proud Wiradjuri woman, Emma also runs art classes and face painting as part of indigenous cultural events and community celebrations. She is one of 29 NSW scouting members to attend the 2023 Kandersteg International Scout Centre centenary camp in Switzerland.


OSMEN-  Creative Design Award

Courtney Brookes and Angela Lam Li, Director at OSMEN.

Courtney Brookes is a director who uses her voice to diversify the industry through collaboration. Courtney has worked in New York, directing music videos for major label artists. In 2020, she signed with Eight and has since won awards for her work, which includes the “Girls Will Be Girls” campaign for Bumble. Courtney earned her Bachelor of Design with Honours from UTS.