Nominees announced for Women of Yarra Awards 2019

Wednesday 20 February 2019

International Womens Day graphic

We received a record number of nominations for our Women of Yarra Awards 2019.

Below is a list of all nominees in alphabetical order.

Winners will be announced at our Women of Yarra Awards ceremony on International Women's Day, Friday 8 March at Collingwood Town Hall.

Alison Clarke

Alison works as a speech therapist and specialises in helping students with learning difficulties and dyslexia learn to read and write. Beyond her private practice, Alison advocates for evidence based approaches to the teaching of reading. She creates and reviews resources to support teachers and is at the forefront of revolutionising teaching in Australia.

Angela Conquet

As the CEO and Artistic Director of Dancehouse, Angela empowers others and creates a safe space for diversity and inclusion. Her programming and curation is progressive, showcasing work from First Nations, multicultural collaborations and people who are gender and sexually diverse.  

Ann Polis

Ann established local independent media in the inner city, namely The Melbourne Times. Appearing weekly from 1971 to 2010, it was a crucial information source for residents on what was happening in the inner city.  More recently, Ann has volunteered at the Neighbourhood Justice Centre in Collingwood, focusing particularly on helping women in the justice system.

Briony O'Keeffe

Since 2006, Briony has been an inspirational educator at Fitzroy High School, working as both a classroom teacher and Teaching and Learning leader. Briony has skilfully harnessed student interests to establish a new elective subject at Fitzroy High School one which motivates and engages Yarra's youth. She also founded the Fitzroy High School Feminist Collective.

Chris Star

Chris has been a unique advocate for women in Yarra for decades by campaigning for safer and better streets. Being able to get around is key to female emancipation and independence, particularly for those too young or old to drive, or those without access to a car. She also hosts the Yarra BUG show on 3CR radio. 

Claire Berry

Claire is an outstanding Scout Leader in the Richmond Scout Group. As well as weekly Scout nights, she has led camps, hikes and other adventurous activities. Claire has shown considerable initiative in ensuring that the Richmond Scout Group's program is "youth led, adult supported".

Cynthia Mitchell

For the past five years, Cynthia Mitchell has been the Program Manager of the LiveWires program for Concern Australia. LiveWires provides an after school and school holiday program for children aged between 5 and 12 years living in or around Collingwood Housing estate. Cynthia has been a driving force of innovation and creativity in coming up with some new and exciting program activities and demonstrates excellent leadership. 

Elizabeth Gosper

Elizabeth lives in Richmond and runs a unique business called Inclusive Sports Training. She coaches children and young adults with Intellectual Disability, learning difficulties and some physical disabilities in the sport of triathlon. Her passion for inclusion and success has driven many students to compete for Victoria and Australia.

Ella Crotty

Ella Crotty is the Senior Lawyer Family Law and Family Violence at Fitzroy Legal Service. She is committed to accessible legal advice and representation to community members living in Yarra. She promotes and provides the best possible legal service to clients, particularly women and children experiencing family violence to help ensure their safety and wellbeing.

Emily Ulman

Across a variety of the Yarra region's leading venues, Emily has proven to be not only one of the most respected venue bookers, but also a booker who seeks to celebrate a representation of a diverse breadth of voices from within the community.

Farzana Musafari

Farzana first joined the Birth for Humankind family as a client when she was pregnant with her daughter, Asma. Since then, Farzana has volunteered countless times to support women during pregnancy and childbirth who have no one else to be with them. She is a midwife from Afghanistan.

Fitzroy Football Club

Established in 1883, the Fitzroy Football Club holds a unique place in the hearts of Fitzroy and opposition supporters, the local community, and the VAFA competition it now plays in. Fitzroy Football Club has been passionate and active in providing opportunities for women to play football. 

Gina Piraino

Gina is a local cafe and restaurant owner who has shown her generosity by providing to the community through food and employing local young people.

Glenda Wilson

Glenda has contributed to the wellbeing of the community through her active involvement in women's sport, urban camp, hydrotherapy programs, driving of the community bus and being a member of the Yarra Active Ageing Advisory Groups. Glenda's community contribution has been motivated by her interest and passion for Women's sport where women still face barriers.   

Glenis Mercuri

Glenis is an active and valuable member of the community who volunteers at St Mary's House of Welcome. She has done this work for 22 years. Glenis has lived in Yarra for over 30 years and has given back to her community regularly through her selfless and simple gestures.

Heidi Gregory

Heidi Gregory is a Yarra woman on a mission! A tireless advocate for inclusivity and equity in our Australian and Victorian Education Systems, Heidi strives to ensure all children leave school with sufficient literacy skills. Heidi is the driving force behind the first of its kind, parent-led online dyslexia community Dyslexia Victoria Support.   

Helen Hadiyan

Helen is a karate teacher at Richmond West Primary School. Her initiative and leadership has led her to offer extra-curricular sporting activities to the local public primary school and shows her passion to help others. Helen's aim is to educate children in self-defence actions that build confidence and respect for each other.

Kath Jones

Kath is the visionary behind our community compost bucket exchange program, seed share, recycling and responsible disposal depot and our book and produce share. Her initiatives address key factors affecting our climate emergency creating positive action on local food production, waste and consumption.   

Kathryn Arndt

Kathryn is a leader in her community and in the organisations she works with, pursuing positive change and reform for good governance. She has been a Non-Executive Director of Diabetes Australia, and Deputy Chair of Access Health & Community, just to name a few. 

Lee Chia

Lee works for Bendigo Bank. She constantly demonstrates leadership and initiative to identify the needy in the local community and guides the bank with grant programs.

Line Paras

Line is the founder of Fitzroy-based business Counting Clouds, a bookkeeping and business support agency that works with creators and creative businesses. 

Madeleine Cleeve Gerkens

Madeleine has used exhibiting platforms, workshop in the community and developed networks of disability workers within the Yarra community, using art and creativity to share alternative narratives to the lived experiences of young people living with a disability in Yarra.

Maree Foelz

Maree convenes and facilitates the Yarra Family Violence Network, bringing together individuals and organisations from across Yarra to ensure they are connected to each other and to strengthen their family violence response to women and children. 

Margie Cerato

Margi is the president and founder of Fitzroy business, Celebrating Abilities. She set up the Not-For-Profit to create an inclusion studio and help people with disabilities. With great success, Margie has transformed many lives by creating change and growth.

Margot Foster

Margot was a member of the Abbotsford Coalition, working tirelessly on the campaign to save the Farm and Convent from the hands of property developers. Margot has the ability to bring people together and initiate discussion around the topics that matter. She has recently taken on the role of President of the Collingwood Branch of Country Women’s Association.

Marie Knight

Marie is a physiotherapist who has worked tirelessly over the years to provide health services to Yarra residents. 

Michelle Kornberg

Michelle Kornberg, Coordinator of the NCJWA VIC Caring Mums program, identified the need for women in Yarra to access the program and in 2016, successfully introduced it to Yarra, one of only five Victorian Local Government Areas utilising the service.    

Ms Judy Ryan

Judy made a significant contribution to the Yarra community regarding her community leadership in the campaign to develop a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in Richmond. Her ability to bring people together, to work under pressure and to remain respectful at all times presents her as a true community leader and role model.

Natalie Jane Walker

Natalie founded PartnerSPEAK, the only organisation in Australia (and one of few in the world) to specifically support the partners and spouses of perpetrators of child sexual abuse material.  Natalie is giving voice to the hidden victims of this crime and pushing back against the myth that this is a niche issue.   

Sarah Dee

Sarah is the owner and operator of Dee Street. Dee Street is a one of a kind Yarra based business offering women and girls creative and innovative opportunities for improved mental health and community connectedness through dance.

Sarah Miller

In 2017 Sarah stepped up to lead the St Vincent de Paul Society Collingwood Soup Van as President. Sarah has implemented many positive changes and grown the service. In 2018, 42158 homes were visited, 261 Soup Vans, 52 local BBQs and 3 events were completed where without the innovation and leadership of Sarah, this would not have been possible.

Shalini Arunogiri

Shalini is a doctor, clinician, researcher and educator working always going above and beyond in her commitment to patients struggling with drug and alcohol problems. She works at Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Service, both in Fitzroy and Richmond. 

Shantelle Thompson

Shantelle is a Barkindji woman who works in Youth Justice. As a mum of 3 and international jujitsu champion and coach, she shares her story to inspire and empower others, running girls empowerment programs, inspiring leadership and self-development initiatives for at-risk youth. 


ShantiWorks is a small feminist organisation in Richmond, Melbourne, designed to work for equality, peace and justice. Shantiworks is one of very few organisations that invites practitioners and managers of family violence work and sectors to examine all aspects of oppression and privilege, and the complexity of these intersecting locations. 

Sue Kent

Sue is the manager of the Collingwood and Belgium Avenue Neighbourhood Houses. She is a dedicated and passionate community leader, with a can do approach that enables and inspires others to contribute, to feel included and to act together in the best interest of the Yarra community.

Tenille Gilbert

Tenille is the CEO and Co-Founder of Society Melbourne, a social enterprise collective with the vision of an Australia without youth homelessness. Tenille creates sustainable pathways to employment, education, housing & confidence for young people experiencing homelessness.

U3A Chinese in Yarra

U3A Chinese in Yarra is rather unique in that it is one of only two of the 107 U3A branches that use Chinese as teaching medium. This means that the senior citizens who are at a disadvantage linguistically in the context of English capability do not have to miss out on social contacts nor denied the opportunity to share their knowledge and life's experiences.

Victoria Csarmann

Victoria started I Am That - Yoga in Collingwood, a welcoming space that offered the opportunity to explore all aspects of Yoga in a pressure-free and affordable environment. She is dedicated to yoga being accessible. 

Xiao Yue Wang

Xiao is the President of Yarra Chinese Friendship Association, as well as the President of U3A Chinese in Yarra. These provide platforms for local residents, especially those who are elderly, to gather together on a regular basis, alleviating social isolation and promoting diversity.

Yarra Jets Women's Football Club

Yarra Jets Women's Football Club is an inclusive community club, promoting a safe and friendly environment for women to be involved in sport both competitively and socially. Their junior pathways program nurtures future leaders and encourages girls to be involved in soccer through both playing and coaching at Yarra Jets.

Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra

Zonta International is dedicated to empowering women through service and advocacy. A major focus is the struggle against domestic and family violence, with the slogan 'Zonta Says No - to violence against women'. The Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yarra has been meeting in Yarra for well over a decade and has focused its service efforts in the area.


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