7NEWS Young Achiever Awards WA

2024 Winners 

All Winners on stage with The Hon Hannah Beazley and MC Charlotte Goodlet


2024 Young Achiever of The Year - Lucy Stronach

The Hon Hannah Beazley (left) & Winner Lucy Stronach (right)


Spirit Super Connecting Communities Award

Ellen Cook of Pingelly is dedicated to fostering community unity. Ellen’s leadership is marked by her strategic approach and unwavering dedication inspire others to actively engage in community-building endeavours, leaving a lasting impact on the town and residents. From cultural celebrations and youth engagement to historical preservation and environmental projects, her efforts promote inclusivity and drive positive transformations. Through collaborative endeavours like the Noongar Dance Group, and initiatives like Youth Sports Programs and “Age is Just a Number,” Ellen bridges generational divides, while her commitment to sustainability and heritage preservation ensures a vibrant future for Pingelly. Her short-term plan goals include promoting Containers for Change.

Natalie Gaughan, Manager, Investment Tax, Spirit Super (right) and Winner Ellen Cook (left)


Awards Australia Career Achievement Award

Kennedy Lay of East Perth is breaking barriers in regional and rural healthcare. Merging his expertise as a physiotherapist and commercial pilot, founded Fly2 Health Group, offering vital healthcare to rural Australia. Within 2 years, they've reached over 50 locations, including remote Aboriginal communities, boasting a 90+ staff team and an annual turnover exceeding $7M. Kennedy's model significantly impacts regional health access. Their innovative approach not only serves communities but also stands as a testament to Kennedy's commitment to breaking barriers in regional healthcare. With plans for nationwide expansion and a focus on indigenous groups.

Fionah Sathivel, Director, Aroha Services (left) and Winner Kennedy Lay (right)


Catholic Education Western Australia Young Leadership Award

Katie Williams of The Vines demonstrates extraordinary leadership. Katie is a remarkable 11-year-old Scout who mentors younger scouts, organises community service projects, and fundraises for sick children. Her tireless dedication and compassionate spirit inspire others to take action, fostering a sense of unity and empowerment within her community. From volunteering at local food drives to advocating for endangered wildlife, Katie's impact extends far beyond her years, leaving a lasting legacy of kindness and service. She encourages others to make meaningful difference in the lives of those in need. In 2023, Katie co-founded the Western Swamp Tortoise Youth Committee.

Rev Mark Powell, Director, Religious Education, Catholic Education Western Australia (left) and Winner Katie Williams (right)


Department of Communities Regional and Rural Initiative Award

Rebecca Nelson of South Hedland advocates for children's development in the Pilbara region. Rebecca is a dynamic primary school teacher who leads by example at Cassia Primary School. She champions initiatives like "Hedstrong," a program aimed at empowering young girls in Port Hedland by offering insights into career prospects, health, and self-esteem. She helps undertake the planning of the day and coordination of the event. Rebecca's commitment to her community extends beyond the classroom as she volunteers with the Ambulance Service and organises impactful events through community support. Her innovation exemplifies her role as a leader. She was part of a teaching advertisement filmed in 2023.


Department of Communities Young Women Leader Award

Zahra is the outgoing CEO of Oaktree Australia, working to amplify the voices of young people across the Asia-Pacific region to become leaders for the United Nations Sustainable Development goals. As a global leader working across gender equality, Zahra has lead notable campaigns including sitting on the board of the Generation Equality Campaign, which secured a 40 billion dollar commitment for gender equality. Zahra's resilience in overcoming identity-based challenges reflects her dedication to inclusivity and equity. With a vision for global change, she continues to inspire and empower others to create a more just and equitable world.

The Hon Hannah Beazley, Minister for Local Government; Youth; Minister Assisting the Minister for Training and Workforce Development (left) & Winner Zahra Al Hilaly (represented by Sara) (right)


Insurance Commission of Western Australia Road Safety Advocate Award

Tayla Stone, of Mandurah, is empowering others through her compelling road safety advocacy and storytelling. Tayla is a road injury prevention presenter at PBF Australia. After a life-altering crash riding a motorbike at the age of 16, Tayla shares her story across Western Australia, urging youth to "think before they do" to prevent road trauma. Tayla's dedication is evident in her highly requested school presentations and mentoring roles. Her openness and honesty resonates with audiences, fostering crucial conversations about risk-taking and the consequences of reckless behaviour. Tayla's unwavering commitment to injury prevention embodies resilience and inspires positive change.

Winner Tayla Stone (left) and Neil Golding, Chief Information Officer, Insurance Commission of Western Australia (right)


Masonic Care WA/Freemasons WA Community Service and Volunteering Award

Lucy Stronach is a dedicated advocate for social justice and community empowerment. With over 10 years of volunteer service and leadership, Lucy has directly impacted hundreds and indirectly assisted thousands through her work in women’s rights, justice, community development and disability advocacy. As the Principle, Youth Justice for the Minderoo Foundation, Program Officer for the Hello Initiative, and Board member for the UNAA and Sir David Martin Foundation, Lucy’s passion for youth engagement and empowerment has created impactful change in both domestic and international fora. Working through intersecting disabilities and personal challenges, Lucy's resilience allows her to continue championing inclusivity and positive change.

Winner Lucy Stronach (left) and Mr Peter Kirwan, Chairman, Board of Masonic Care WA & Past Grand Master, Freemasons WA (right)


National Indigenous Times Indigenous Community Leadership Award

Tremane Baxter-Edwards inspires others with his leadership and activism. Tremane is a student at Aquinas College, Perth, embodies leadership and advocacy for Indigenous rights. As the Youth Member for Kimberley in WA Youth Parliament 2022, he championed critical issues such as Indigenous rights and mental health. His commitment extends to serving as a member of Empowered Youth Leaders Kimberley (EYL) and the Youth Committee Member of YMCA (Y) WA. Recognised with the "Abbey Forrest" Aboriginal Emerging Leader award, Tremane's dedication to creating positive change resonates throughout his community. He was recently appointed to the Australian Government First Nations Education Youth Advisory Group.

Winner Tremane Baxter-Edwards (left) and Alexander Wolf, Director, National Indigenous Times (right)


Riverbank Estate Restaurant Tourism and Hospitality Award

Maria Tong of Rivervale has redefined the dessert industry. Maria’s entrepreneurial journey led her to establishing FRY'D, the first fried ice cream shop in Australia. Starting with market stalls and evolving into bustling brick-and-mortar stores, Maria's leadership and commitment to quality have propelled FRY'D to success. By prioritising inclusivity and catering to diverse dietary needs, Maria ensures every customer enjoys a memorable experience. FRY'D's iconic venues, including the distinctive ice cream-shaped building in Fremantle, have become landmarks, attracting visitors worldwide. Maria's dedication to using locally sourced ingredients highlights Western Australia's rich culinary landscape, making FRY'D a destination of choice for both locals and tourists alike.

Winner Maria Tong (left) and Colby Quirk, General Manager, Riverbank Estate (right)


Surge Fitness Sports Award

Emma O'Driscoll of Como is a beacon of inspiration. Emma is an AFLW star whose achievements include being named in the 2023 All Australian team. Juggling a successful sporting career with a physiotherapy degree, Emma's commitment to excellence is evident. She mentors young athletes, coaches AFLW youth teams, and advocates for women's sports through media platforms. Overcoming barriers like rural upbringing and performance anxiety, Emma's openness about her ADHD diagnosis inspires others. Her ambassadorial roles for Royal Automobile Club of WA and What Ability showcase her dedication to social causes. Emma's dynamic leadership and genuine compassion make her for aspiring athletes and community members alike.

Viresh Naik, Regional Fitness Director, Surge Fitness (left) and Winner Emma O'Driscoll (right)