2019 Women's Agenda Leadership Award Winners

Celebrating the winners of the 2019 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards!

Women’s Agenda announced the winners of the 7th annual Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards at a lunch ceremony in Sydney on Friday, acknowledging the game changers, agenda setters and household names of tomorrow.

With 50 finalists overall celebrated, the group came together on Thursday afternoon for a series of judging sessions chaired by Shirley Chowdhary, CEO of the GO Foundation, before getting to know each other at our annual finalists cocktail party.

On Friday, they came together again for the jam-packed awards ceremony where winners accepted their awards in front of 400 women and men, and we all took home some leadership advice thanks to our panel discussion featuring heart surgeon Dr Nikki Stamp, Senator Mehreen Faruqi and entrepreneur Mikaela Jade.

The awards were made possible thanks to the incredibly generous support of our sponsors including diamond partner Charles Sturt University, and our category sponsors FairVine, ANZSOG, Uber, NNT, SEEK, Accor Hotels and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

We must also thank all the judges who participated, including our judging panel chair Shirley Chowdhary. The team of judges took significant time out of their busy schedules to read through submissions, get to know our finalists and come together over lunch to celebrate female leadership.

You’ll learning more about each of our 2019 Women’s Agenda Leadership Award winners over the next week.

Emerging Female Leader in Sport

Mary Konstantopoulos, advocate for women in sport, founder of online sporting blog LadiesWho, and host of two podcasts with ABC Grandstand.

Mary Konstantopoulos

Judges comments: “This was an incredibly competitive category and all the women in this arena are worthy candidates.”

“Mary is the definition of a trailblazer. She’s agitating widespread change across all sporting codes and her personal passion to propel female athletes and women’s sport is exceptional.”

Emerging Female Leader in the Corporate Sector

Christina Hobbs co-founder and CEO of Verve, Australia’s first ethical superannuation fund designed for women, by women.

Christina Hobbs


Emerging Leader in Tech

Candice Yu-Kuin Lam, engineer and Technology Resource Management Partner at BHP where she’s working to shift the gendered culture of engineering.

Judges comments: “Demonstrates exceptional commitment to disrupting the industry and encouraging and supporting women to enter and stay in engineering.

Candice Yu-Kuin Lam


Emerging Female Leader in the Professional Services Sector

Alex Grayson, Principal Lawyer who manages the Employment and Industrial Relations Practice of Maurice Blackburn’s Sydney office with a keen interest in social justice and industrial relations.

Alex Grayson


Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

Olympia Yarger, a trailblazer who has both the vision and the tenacity to make her start up a roaring success, and as a result, change the way the world handles waste management. She poses the very real possibility of making a significant difference in the health of our planet.

Olympia Yarger


Emerging female leader in the not-for-profit sector 

Loren O’Keeffe, founder and CEO of Missing Persons Advocacy Network which supports the families of missing people and connects with corporate partners to promote the stories and faces of those missing.

Judges comments: “Exemplifies leadership that’s key to support traumatised families of missing persons.”

Loren O’Keeffe
Loren O’Keeffe


Emerging Female Leader in Science, Medicine & Health

Awarded jointly to Karlie Alinta NoonDr Kudzai Kanhutu.

Karlie Alinta Noon is a 2019 Young Australian of the Year Finalist and the first Indigenous woman in Australia to graduate with a double degree in mathematics and physics, whose research draws on traditional Aboriginal astronomical knowledge.

Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, is an infectious diseases physician, telehealth Clinical lead and Deputy Medical Information Officer at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, whose research encompasses virtual care, digital literacy and the impact of housing stress on refugee health outcomes.

“This entire group was hugely impressive”

Dr Kudzai Kanhutu


Emerging Female Leader in the Government or Public Sector

Awarded jointly to Amy Thunig and Narelle Underwood.

Amy Thunig is an associate lecture, undertaking a PhD in education at Macquarie University with a focus on Indigenous women in academia, and is also a freelance media writer and panelist.

Amy Thunig


Narelle Underwood is the Surveyor General of New South Wales, where she is the leader and regulator of the land and mining surveying profession and plays a key advocacy role in the geospatial industry in NSW.

Narelle Underwood


Of Amy Thunig the judges said:

“As the first member of her family to attend university, Amy has outstanding academic and also community leadership. She has overcome significant barriers and is challenging us all to think differently about First Nation’s peoples. She is also a wonderful role model for women, particularly Indigenous women.”

Of Narelle Underwood the judges said: “An exceptional young leader in a male dominated industry, changing the perception and inclusion of women surveyors. She has a dynamic vision for the work and its role in our overall community.”

The Emerging Change Maker of the year

Hayley McQuire, co-founder and National Coordinator, National Indigenous Youth Education Coalition.

Hayley McQuire


The 2019 Agenda Setter of the Year

Dr. Cathy Foley, chief scientist at the CSIRO.

Dr Cathy Foley


Judges comments: “Dr Foley demonstrates exceptional leadership through her position as Chief Scientist of CSIRO, and her tireless pursuit to make Australia both globally competitive and sustainable is remarkable. She continues to champion and elevate women in STEMM across the board.”


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