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Pro Bono Australia Founder Named as a Woman of Influence

12 October 2012 at 12:14 pm
Staff Reporter
Pro Bono Australia’s Founder, Karen Mahlab has been named in the top 100 list of Women of Influence in Australia.

Staff Reporter | 12 October 2012 at 12:14 pm


Pro Bono Australia Founder Named as a Woman of Influence
12 October 2012 at 12:14 pm

Karen Mahlab has been named in the top 100 list of Women of Influence in Australia. 

Pro Bono Australia’s Founder, Karen Mahlab has been named in the top 100 list of Women of Influence in Australia.

Karen Mahlab joins a number of other prominent women in the Not for Profit sector also named in the inaugural awards by the Australian Financial Review newspaper and Westpac Bank.

Jan Owen, the chief executive of the Foundation for Young Australians was crowned the top Woman of Influence at the awards ceremony in Sydney on Friday.

The awards celebrate 100 of Australia’s outstanding and most influential women and honor women who are making an important contribution to reshaping Australia's social and economic life, across business – small or large, the community and arts, philanthropy, the public sector and Not for Profits.

Karen Mahlab was named under the social enterprise category for her work in developing Pro Bono Australia as one of Australia’s first social businesses. In the same category she was joined by Jan Owen CEO, Foundation for Young Australians, and Kirstie Parker, the Managing Editor Koori Mail, Ronni Kahn, the Founder of Oz Harvest, Elizabeth Honor Lloyd, Member, Ministerial Council of Asylum Seekers, Chair of Violence Against Women Advisory Group, Sharon Callister, the CEO of the Salvation Army Aged Care Plus and Carey Badcoe, CEO Australian Business and Community Network.

More than 350 women were nominated for the initial 100 Women of Influence awards. The finalists were selected from across the economy by a panel of leading Australians. Entries for the awards were invited across 10 categories: board/management, innovation, public policy, business entrepreneur, diversity, young leader, global, social enterprise, philanthropy and local/regional.

Also among the top 100 list are Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott, Origin Energy chief operating officer Karen Moses, Kraft Foods chief Rebecca Dee-Bradbury, philanthropists Layne Beachley, Carol Schwartz and Debbie Dadon, and Reconciliation Australia chief executive Leah Armstrong.

The judging panel included Wendy McCarthy, former joint chief executive of Goldman Sachs Australia Stephen Fitzgerald, Future Fund chairman David Gonski, CEO of UN Women Australia Julie McKay, Fairfax Media director Sandra McPhee, Reserve Bank board member Heather Ridout, Allens law firm chief Michael Rose and Red Cross board member Sue Vardon.

Pro Bono Australia was set up in 2000 as an online hub for people who want to know more about the national community sector; which charities offer which services, what businesses are doing within their community, what volunteering opportunities there may be, what Jobs are open as well as a major News Service for the sector.

“Pro Bono Australia is a significant voice and influence for the issues, concerns, news, events and broad activities of the Australian Not for Profit sector and acts as a point of connection for Government and Corporate Australia with the community sector,” Mahlab said.

Mahlab said that Pro Bono Australia was one of the first social enterprises of its kind working to connect with the community sector using new technologies.

“Pro Bono Australia was started with a passion to use new technologies to help Not for Profits deliver and do what they do effectively and efficiently. We also wanted to drive an increase in philanthropy and community engagement. Over time, we have done both,” Mahlab said.

“We are guided at our core by a belief in the importance of a robust and engaged civil society and that the organisations set up to do that are supported, encouraged and given a voice.

Karen Mahlab has a wealth of experience on Not for Profit boards and as a board member of the former Melbourne Community Foundation (now Australian Communities Foundation) for ten years was responsible for delivering one of its major strategic initiatives MacroMelbourne.

The aim of the MacroMelbourne project was to ensure that Melbourne remained the most liveable city for all its people as it faces the challenges of growth over the next 25 years.

The full list is available online


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