The Australian virtual Centre for Leadership for Women (CLW)’s Leadership Achievement Award was established in 2005 to recognise women in the community who use their own initiative to create and implement projects for the benefit of the community and in collaboration with the community. These individuals are recognised by CLW as Self-Appointed Leaders. This Award is unique in that it is a nation wide award for women who take on voluntary leadership roles in the community. The Leadership Achievement Award was free and open to all Australian women 18 years and above. It was sponsored by Fernwood Women's Health Club, motherInc.com.au and Living Now Magazine.
Hélène Gonski is the Winner of the 2006 CLW Leadership Achievement Award for Women. Mrs Gonski is being recognised for what she achieved on a grand scale in relation to raising and working on the issue of grandparenting, that up till then had not been given any mainstream focus. Hélène's efforts extended over more than a decade and it was at her instigation that COTA (NSW) first took up the issue of grandparenting which subsequently gained support at both the state and national level. In addition to establishing practical support for grandparents through the Grandparenting Association, Hélène advanced the issues with policy makers and wrote two informative books, Grandparenting: a new challenge and A Gong for Grandfathers.
The two Finalists for the Award are Melanie Mumford and Louise Bannister. Melanie Mumford's vision was to influence change in refugee and asylum seeker policy by sending a clear message that Australians support the fair treatment of refugees. She achieved this vision by persuading the Bass Coast Shire Council to declare the Bass Coast Shire a ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’. Melanie Mumford is twenty-one years old. Louise Bannister as the Award's Finalist is being recognised for creating the six month Well and Able program that aimed to be an inclusive, fun, affordable fitness and social inclusion program in the form of a weekly fitness class with an individual program developed for each woman followed by social activities. Well and Able is the first project of its kind in Australia . Ms Bannister is forty-two years old and has impaired mobility due to Cerebral Palsy. Both, Ms Mumford and Ms Bannister receive a complimentary CLW Membership for a year and a 3 month Opal Membership to Fernwood Women’s Health Clubs.
Further information about the above candidates can be accessed through www.leadershipforwomen.com.au via the What’s New page.
Christina Borisavljevic, Mary Hollingworth and Kathryn Keen are the Award's Short-listed Applicants. Ms Borisavljevic is being recognised for establishing a Counselling and Support Service in Boambee East, NSW where she together with others, provide free counselling for members of the community and the disadvantaged. Mary Hollingworth is being recognised for reviving the Glen Innes Show Society Ladies Auxiliary committee of forty-five years standing and achieving outstanding outcomes for the catering/hospitality needs of the Show. Kathryn Keen is being recognised for providing an online Ozark and Ozbird communications and information network for wildlife carers across Australia .
CLW congratulates all of the above candidates as their achievements demonstrated a high level of engagement, caring and personal investment for the community for which they were trying to achieve an improved vision. Each area of concern and activism deserves strong recognition by government, the private sector and the community, and greater support than exists at present.
In attracting candidates with such an impressive calibre of achievements, this Award testifies that grassroots self-appointed leadership by women is alive in the community, but is in need of much more government and private sector support so that the women behind them are assisted to continue their role or create new leadership ventures that fulfill a need in the community.
The Panel of Judges who were involved with this Award were Dr Jocelynne Scutt, Barrister & Executive Producer, Former Anti-Discrimination Commissioner of Tasmania & Executive Producer; Dr Shirley Randell AM United Nations Project Implementation Specialist for the Capacity Building for Gender Mainstreaming Project in Bangladesh; Carmelita Steinke, Director 2VoxFM, Radio & Media Specialist; Carolyn Leigh, Senior Project Manager, Communities Division, NSW Department of Community Services and Dr Lynette Dumble, Founder and Director of Global Sisterhood Network.
The 2007 CLW Leadership Achievement Award for Women will be sponsored by NRMA Motoring & Services. The Award will be open for applications from 1 September 2006 to 22 December 2006. Further information about the Award will be announced at CLW closer to the time.