NFP Leaders Shine as Women of Influence
23 October 2014 at 9:30 am
Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has been named as Australia’s top Woman of Influence for 2014 in an award ceremony overnight that also saw honours awarded to two Not for Profit leaders.
Broderick took out the top Women of Influence award and nine other women were recognised for making their mark in their chosen fields, in the third annual Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence Awards.
The 100 winners were selected across 10 categories – board/management, innovation, public policy, business entrepreneur, diversity, young leader, global, social enterprise or Not for Profit, philanthropy and local/regional.
Elizabeth Broderick was appointed for a five year term as Sex Discrimination Commissioner in September 2007. The term has been extended to September 2015. During her term, the Human Rights Commission says Broderick has been committed to improving gender equality through her advocacy in preventing violence against women and sexual harassment, improving lifetime economic security for women, balancing paid work and unpaid caring responsibilities, promoting women’s representation in leadership and strengthening gender equality laws and agencies.
Westpac Chief Executive Gail Kelly honored Elizabeth Broderick saying: “Her dedication to ensuring women have the opportunity to more flexibly balance paid work and unpaid caring is something I particularly commend, as I believe this will make a tangible difference to the economic prosperity of Australia”.
Fairfax Media Chief Executive Greg Hywood said Broderick was a truly deserving winner.
“She is a shining example of how sharing positive stories of women in our society can have a powerful impact in helping individuals and companies in Australia to think and act in more progressive ways,” Hywood said.
Former social worker turned Chief Executive of Melbourne community organisation Family Life, Jo Cavanagh was named the social enterprise/Not for Profit category winner for her work creating crucial community programs to support families in crisis at a regional, state and national level.
The judges said Cavanagh has led a program of change and organisational growth, promoting community involvement in the prevention of child abuse and family violence.
Cavanagh said she was delighted the award was made in the social enterprise framework because it gives her the opportunity to talk about the future and bringing Government, business, community and academia together to create social change.
“Welfare issues don’t just belong to the welfare sector they belong to the whole community,” she said.
“These awards recognise the combined talents of people who are working in areas that affect all parts of the community.”
Regional coordinator and chairperson of funding for Cancer Care Western NSW, Janette Savage was named the winner of the philanthropy category for her efforts towards education and services for cancer patients in regional NSW.
Savage has spent 14 years volunteering in health services, more recently raising $5.4 million to build a care facility for cancer patients.
Anne-Marie Corboy, who won the board management category, has run the $28 billion HESTA super fund for 16 years, and through her work has become a champion of retirement adequacy for Australian women.
Jane Halton was named winner of the public policy category for her work with the Federal Government, notably as the first woman to serve as secretary of the Department of Finance and, prior to that, as the first female secretary of the Health Department – for more than 12 years.
Professor Emerita at Macquarie University Ann Henderson-Sellers was named global category winner, for her role as an international leader in climate science – authoring 20 books and more than 440 articles, and championing female communicators in her work on climate change over 40 years.
Granville Boys High Principal Linda O’Brien is the 2014 local/regional category winner for her successes educating children from some of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities, an achievement recognised in 2013 when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
Innovation category winner, Sydney University conjoint professor and director of the injury division at George Institute for Global Health, Rebecca Ivers, has used her specialty to undertake pioneering work preventing injury in high-risk and disadvantaged people.
Genevieve Clay-Smith won the young leader category for her work as co-founder of Bus Stop Films and Taste Creative, having begun her career as a documentary filmmaker with Not for Profit organisation Down Syndrome in NSW before winning Tropfest in 2009 with her short film Be My Brother.
Chief Executive of medical device company Paftec, Alex Birrell, who won the business enterprise category, has quietly flourished in a male-dominated industry, tripling her company’s profits in two years.
Dr Birrell also co-founded Heads Over Heels, a Not for Profit group which selects and develops women for leadership roles, providing strategic networks and connections to help women succeed in founding high growth businesses.
Michael Rose, Chief Executive partner of international law firm Allens and one of the Women of Influence Awards judges, said there was a sense of authenticity and humility among these leaders.
“True leaders don’t stand up and tell you what a true leader they are,” he said. “It is an unselfconscious approach, a lack of packaging around what they do,” he said.
The awards winners were selected from among 100 women in 10 categories.
Westpac’s Gail Kelly said the awards continue to build a prestigious list of alumni, with each of the 100 women selected and the category winners making significant strides to better their communities.
Pro Bono Australia’s Founder, Karen Mahlab was named in the top 100 list of Women of Influence in Australia in the inaugural awards in 2012 under the social enterprise category for her work in developing Pro Bono Australia as one of Australia’s first social businesses.
Jan Owen, the chief executive of the Foundation for Young Australians was crowned the top Woman of Influence in the same year.
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.