Victorian Young Achiever Awards
First National Real Estate Leadership Award
Andrew Millhouse, 26 of Windsor founded Pivot, to provide young people with skills and knowledge to navigate complex legal situations. Previously, he led COMET, addressing homelessness and the law, and was founder of Slingshot Training, a youth mental health program. Andrew was also part of a major review of the Victorian Parole System, focusing on efficiency and reducing reoffending. He has also volunteered with several national and Victorian legal non-profits.
Dr Joanna Newton, 28 of Northcote is fostering change in the Australian dairy industry’s adoption of genetic tools and technologies. An advocate for careers in STEM and agriculture, Joanna mentors students and junior scientists, inspiring their pursuit of agricultural journeys. She won the 2017 Dairy Research Foundation Symposium’s Emerging Scientists Award, and an Endeavour Research Fellowship from the Australian Government. She has spoken at international conferences and has helped move an international agricultural climate change motion.
Jamin Heppell, 27 of Leongatha co-founded and manages the youth empowerment company HeadQuarters Australia. He is also a founding Director and head trainer of Healthy Communities Australia. Jamin has impacted the lives of over 5,500 people in the fitness industry and acquired $230,000 of start-up capital to help drive his initiatives. He delivered workshops to 1,500 students in 2016. His fitness program raised $10,000 for the four schools it is delivered in.
WFI Insurance Small Business Achiever Award
Josh Murray, 17 of Kerrie started his free-range egg business, Josh’s Rainbow Eggs at age nine. Eight years later 4,000 dozen eggs a week are stocked in Coles, Woolworths and independent supermarkets. He has spoken to thousands of customers and at schools about his eggs. Josh is publishing a book for children about his journey. He is an incredibly engaging story teller with the unique ability to inspire a generation of young entrepreneurs.
Lisa Tran, 27 of Forest Hill founded Lisa’s Study Guides, a leading senior school resource for students and teachers. Lisa and her team offer an all-encompassing approach to student studies. They create study guides, online courses and offer private tutoring. Lisa’s weekly YouTube videos have over 16,000 subscribers tuning in for study advice. Schools invite Lisa to hold workshops with their students. Lisa was named an Anthill Australia’s Young Entrepreneur 30under30.
Sam Lindsay, 29 of Cremone runs Urban Studios, delivering landscape design and construction-management services. He specialises in high-end residential, multi-unit developments and childcare. His company has developed a quoting method faster than any Australian competitor, and provides professional services to clients. Urban studios has domestic and international clients, with projects valuing up to $300,000. Sam recently opened another office in Sydney. He has been named a Young Small Business Champion Entrepreneur.
Maxwell Hertan, 28 of Armadale is founder and director of Megaphone Marketing. He is a Deloitte fast 50 winner, Telstra award finalist and runs one of Anthill’s top 100 coolest companies. The business has doubled year on year and grown to a team of fourteen. Investing in innovative marketing strategies such as giveaways, software building, e-books and digital marketing, they maintain a steady flow of leads for the business.
Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award
Eliza Li, 20 of Doncaster East founded Reach-In, an entrepreneurship experience program for girls in Melbourne’s high schools. Eliza mentors students weekly on launching start-up businesses. Reach-In also funds rural health initiatives for women in the Philippines. Eliza has volunteered extensively in social change initiatives, spanning global gender equality to rural health. Eliza volunteers over 30 hours per week while balancing delivery of Reach-In with her Biomedicine and Commerce studies.
Nikolina Mabic, 23 of Williamstown created Spare Capacity. The website and workshops aim to equip young women with holistic self-care tools to combat mental illness. Nikolina is also a graduate filmmaker who advocates for enhanced mental health awareness, prevention and treatment. She was selected into the Foundation for Young Australians Young Social Pioneers 2016 Cohort in the Youth Mental Health stream and awarded Hobsons Bay Young Citizen of the Year 2017.
Jennifer Pham, 29 of Yarraville has created an educational development program for disadvantaged students. Her program consists of memory training, study techniques, personal and development skills. Her program aims to break the cycle of poverty and inequality. She has served as an Amnesty International Ambassador and is a Vietnamese Community Association member. Jennifer is a volunteer tutor and student mentor. She is a multi-award winner and runs her own private tutoring service.
Yong Deng, 26 of Dandenong co-founded the South Sudanese Australian Youth United. The organisation provides positive guidance and pro-social engagement activities for South Sudanese-Australian young people. Yong has sought to respond to their needs through multiple initiatives. He established the Weekend Academy offering homework support, tuition and social activities. Yong was named City of Greater Dandenong, 2017 Young Leader of the Year and balances his extensive volunteering with full-time work at Monash Health.
The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award
Frances Cannon, 25 of Coburg is a multi-disciplinary artist whose works examines themes of contemporary women. Frances’ work has been displayed in many solo and group exhibitions. She has been featured in influential publications including Vogue, HuffPost, Daily Mail, and Frankie Magazine. Frances is a passionate advocate for LGBTQI+ rights, marriage equality and mental health awareness. She has a strong social media following and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Jessica Moody, 26 of Dingley Village co-founded Deafferent Theatre, an independent self-funded company supporting artists and audiences who are deaf or hearing impaired. Deafferent Theatre has staged two award-winning productions. Jessica was awarded the 2017 Access and Inclusion Award at the Melbourne Fringe Festival. As a Young Social Pioneer participant she received seed funding from the Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund. Deafferent Theatre has earned a prestigious in-house artist residency with the Malthouse Theatre.
Kate Nixon, 26 of Brighton has rapidly established her fashion label, Kat the Label, in the lingerie market. Her unique pieces are stocked online and in 30 other stores across Australia and New Zealand. Kate’s Instagram has grown to 26,000 followers. She has been featured in iconic publications including British Vogue, The Daily Mail and Grazia. Kate was honoured as a RMIT entrepreneur alumni in the fashion space.
Matthias Schack-Arnott, 29 of Preston is a percussive artist working in contemporary classical and experimental music. Matthias’ work has earned critical acclaim in iconic arts publications like The Guardian, The Wire and Artshub. He contributes to the percussive arts community by mentoring high school students and working with disadvantaged children. Matthias is the Artistic Associate of Speak Percussion and guest artist with leading groups like Melbourne Symphony and Malaysia Philharmonic Orchestras.
Bartercard Online Achievement Award
John Collins, 29 of Cremorne is the Co-Founder and VP of Product at Paddl Co. Paddl's web platform helps students gather and showcase experience and companies discover emerging talent. In 3 years Paddl has supported over 7000 young professionals, worked with over 600 companies in 12 countries, and now has 15 staff from 9 countries. Overseeing strategy, design, development John has grown Paddl and successfully raised $3.2M in grants and investments.
Lucy Yueting Liu, 27 of Toorak is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Airwallex. Airwallex is an online payment company which makes international business payments simpler, faster and cheaper. Lucy has spearheaded customer-centric product development, recruitment and talent retention, investment approach and workplace culture at Airwallex. She was named in Forbes’ 30 under 30 Asia for Finance. She is a board member of Fintech Australia, which supports the Australian Fintech Startup Community.
Yuma Soerianto, 11 of St Kilda West is one of the world’s youngest and most accomplished app and game developer. He has published six apps and games on the iOS App Store. His latest game, Let's Stack AR! was featured as Game of the Day. Yuma has been coding since he was six and his skills are self-taught. Yuma teaches coding on his YouTube channel and has worked with Apple in teaching programming to children.
William Strange, 28 of Abbotsford is CEO of SPT, an award-winning sports performance technology start-up. Buyers from over 90 countries have purchased SPT technologies and the business has over 20,000 social media followers. In three years, William has grown SPT from a home-based enterprise to 13 Australian staff members and a small US team. SPT has on-boarded over $7 million funding and was named in the top 50 sports start-ups globally.
Berry Street Create Change Award
Dan Poole, 24 of Melbourne founded Crepes for Change, a non-profit youth-led social enterprise aimed at eliminating youth homelessness. They provide underprivileged young people with tangible skills and professional development opportunities. Crepes for Change has donated $37,000 to Launch Housing and recently commenced a paid employment program enabling five vulnerable young people to complete 150 hours of paid employment and training. Other initiatives include monthly outreach sessions with 300 Blanket.
Joshua Berry, 12 of Mount Eliza founded '2 Pairs Each’, a charity to tackle the greatest needs of homeless people in Victoria. Joshua’s goal is to collect 50,000 pairs of brand new socks so that each of the 23,000 homeless people in Victoria can have two pairs of socks. So far 2 Pairs Each has collected over 17,000 pairs of socks, together with 2,300 items of warm clothing and blankets.
Whitney Yip, 28 of Brunswick West co-founded Body Safety Australia, providing violence and sexual abuse prevention education to families, early education centres, and schools. They deliver evidence-based, inclusive strategies including parent and carer workshops and professional development for education staff and those working with children. Whitney spoke at the 13th Australasian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect and is a Board member of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.
The Victorian Government Group Achievement in the Community Award
Entrepreneurs Movement Club, Pakenham is a youth-led associated incorporation. The club was started by seven South Sudanese Australian young people to connect local Sudanese youth to the community and link them with further education and employment pathways. Entrepreneurs Movement Club delivers sporting events, workshops and mentoring programs and advocates for youth leadership. The incorporation is involved in several community consultations and engagement activities with the City of Greater Dandenong.
Geelong Edge Ensemble, Footscray is an emerging artists ensemble comprising eight culturally diverse young people, many of whom are refugees. The ensemble builds social and cultural inclusion through thought-provoking productions based on personal experience, including being subjected to prejudice or racial comments. Each member balances complex family, study and work commitments to dedicate many hours to writing, rehearsals and performances. Their original works build diversity in the Geelong arts scene.
Happy Brain Education, Rowville is a registered charity providing educational, social and mentoring support to disadvantaged young people. They provide heavily discounted academic tutoring and free one-on-one tutoring to refugee students. Happy Brain Education has raised $147,000 for a six-year-old boy’s heart surgery and $60,000 for a CD4 machine and health clinic in Uganda. They are currently working with UNICEF to create innovation labs in Al-Azraq refugee camp in Jordan.
MSRF Young Rural Leaders, Gooroc aims to develop leadership skills in rural Victoria’s young people. They run a six-day residential program to educate, support and connect. Participants are invited to complete coach training and become part of the leadership group. In 2017, the MSRF camp was run entirely by coaches who were past participants. MSRF has developed a network of over 300 young people committed to a thriving rural Victoria.
Royal Flying Doctor Service Victoria Regional and Rural Health Award
Amy Whitten, 24 of Echuca established BEAM, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to change the perception of people living with a disability. BEAM incorporates occupational therapy and functional movement into a movement-to-music program for vulnerable children and families from rural communities, many of whom have additional needs. Amy was invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society, elected president of the Bendigo Occupational Therapy Student Association and actively advocates for inclusion.
Chelsea Sofra, 23 of Shepparton spearheaded development of two important mental health literacy resources aimed at school-goers. One is a ‘Stress Less’ booklet to support young people who are struggling while undergoing exams. The second is a ‘While You Wait’ resource for youth awaiting mental health services. Chelsea is a passionate volunteer at Headspace Shepparton, a program to enable young people to easily access help for problems affecting their wellbeing.
Kate Chalmers, 23 of Kinglake advocates for music, drama and the arts as drivers of enhanced wellbeing for young people. She co-founded the Steer Leadership program for youth mental health and recovery. Kate has conducted extensive outreach initiatives with secondary school students and youth councils with community events aimed at young people. She drove a collaborative project to deliver youth mental health first aid to all Kinglake teens.
Steffi Patience, 24 of Stawell has volunteered for Survivors of Suicide, a not-for-profit organisation supporting those affected by suicide and Wellbeing Wendouree, assisting disadvantaged students and their families. She organised a fundraiser to start a clothing and blanket drive; and provides extensive mentoring of disadvantaged youth. Steffi continued to volunteer even during a two-year period over which she was homeless. She is an accredited Youth Mental Health First Aider.
Academy Graphics Regional Achiever Award
Darcy McGlade, 20 of Scotts Creek actively improves the quality of life and wellbeing for his local community through his business, Diamer Signs. He was central to a Corangamite ICE Taskforce campaign, volunteering his time and business resources to make awareness-building trailers and billboards. Darcy recently undertook a yearlong collaborative project mapping the local coastline to enable enhanced emergency services response. He sponsors local events, mentors students and has received numerous citizenship awards.
Cody Chatfield, 22 of Warrnambool delivers significant support to vulnerable families in local and aboriginal communities. Through her work at Gunditjmara Aboriginal Co-operative, Cody strives to reduce the numbers of Aboriginal children in child protection and out-of-home care. Her mother experienced mental health issues, which saw Cody become a carer to her siblings. Cody is a team leader at Gunditjmara and will soon complete her postgraduate certificate in family therapy.
Xavier Huxtable, 15 of Jan Juc is the youngest recipient of the Duke Kahanamoku Award, recognising outstanding performance and sportsmanship at the Australian Junior Surfing Titles. He is the first athlete to win the U/14 and U/16 divisions in consecutive years. Xavier is a role model to surfers to elevate their sport to elite levels. He is the youngest committee member and volunteers at fundraisers, administration and event management for the Torquay Boardriders Club.
Kangan Institute Inspirational TAFE Student Award
Christopher Klepacz, 18 of Hampton Park was born with Cerebral Palsy. He has overcome significant challenges to achieve strong IT capabilities and qualifications. Christopher earned his Cert II Information, Digital Media and Technology in 2017. He is currently working towards his Cert III Information, Digital Media and Technology while also completing his Year 12 education. Christopher uses modified equipment to work independently and offers proactive IT support to fellow students and teachers.
Tom Lobbe, 26 of Emerald advocates for increased awareness and eliminating stigma around mental health issues. Tom has schizophrenia and despite hearing voices almost constantly, learning difficulties and demeanour changes, he has achieved an overall grade of high distinction in his Diploma of Horticulture. Tom runs his own gardening business and volunteers as a mental health ambassador and openly shares his mental health story with others to increase understanding.
Dellareece Matson, 20 of Kilmore has been volunteering since she was eight. She volunteered at the National Day of People with Disability and is on the Mitchell Shires Youth Council. Dellareece is currently studying a Certificate IV in Disability. Dellareece juggles her studies with extensive volunteering including involvement in the Cyber Tattoo campaign on online safety, Rage Event, raising awareness of the LGBTQI+ community, and the Victorian Government’s ICE Action campaign.