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Voting Opens For Sector’s Most Influential

21 November 2016 at 2:13 pm
Wendy Williams
Hundreds of people from across the social sector have voiced their opinion about who were the most influential figures of 2016.

Wendy Williams | 21 November 2016 at 2:13 pm


Voting Opens For Sector’s Most Influential
21 November 2016 at 2:13 pm

Hundreds of people from across the social sector have voiced their opinion about who were the most influential figures of 2016.

Nearly 300 individuals from the not-for-profit sector and the wider community have been nominated in Pro Bono Australia’s 2016 Impact 25.

The impressive list includes eight of last years Impact 25 as well as many new faces who have left their mark over the last year.

Voting is now open to find this year’s Impact 25.

Last year’s winner Rosie Batty, who has been nominated again for her courageous leadership in domestic violence, told Pro Bono Australia News it was a privilege to be recognised.

“I really appreciated the award,” Batty said.

“It was a long time before I got an award and I have been incredibly lucky, but I don’t know what comes in the future, I think it will be downhill from here!

“I don’t think there is much I have not been acknowledged for, but it has all really helped me feel a great sense of accomplishment and celebration.”

She said being named the winner of the Impact 25 was important as it came from the sector.

“It meant a lot because [it was] an award from the sector and for me, I know how hard people have worked for a very long time and I feel incredibly privileged,” she said.

“I just wish it was for different circumstances. I think if it had been for different circumstances I would have the best life to be honest.

“I think last year was hard for me, it was such an amazing year but it was so bittersweet… because it was still very painful.

“[But] this year… even though I still have, every day, moments of intense sadness, I have been able to, I think, feel more comfortable with my journey and embrace it without such a degree of internal conflict.

“I think that next year again will be a stronger year for me.”

Dean Cohen, founder of Flying Fox, who was nominated for being “passionate about creating an inclusive world”, told Pro Bono Australia News it was fantastic to be recognised by the sector.

“It is really cool because a lot of the work of people in the sector is heads down bums up,” Cohen said.

“You’re working in your small communities and you are trying to have an impact on the people that you work with, for us that’s people with disabilities.

“So to be recognised on a wider scale across the whole not-for-profit sector amongst a huge amount of unbelievable people who are doing amazing things is really cool.”

He said it was important to have awards that recognise the amazing work the sector does.

“I think firstly as inspiration for other people who can see that this is actually a pursuit that you can take up and you don’t have to go the traditional route and work as an accountant or lawyer or doctor or do a trade or whatever, this is something that is meaningful and fulfilling, not that those other things aren’t, but this is meaningful and fulfilling and you can also make a career out of it,” he said.

“So for that reason it is really important that we’re nominating and highlighting the successes of people in the sector.

“But also if for no other reason than to promote the causes that the nominees believe in. So for us, people with disabilities. By me being nominated this allows us to continue to promote the cause on a wider scale.”

Cohen said 2016 had seen a lot of change for the social sector, particularly with the growth of social enterprise and more young people finding a voice.

“There is obviously a push for social enterprise and for not for profits to create their own revenue and that is something that we’ve taken on board and we’re trying to do that to the best of our ability as well,” he said.

“Also I think there has been more recognition for younger leaders in the sector as well. If you look at the guys from Orange Sky Laundry as Young Australians of the Year and the way they’re inspiring an entire generation and the fact that young people are allowed to be CEOs and run their own organisations, with the support of the entire community, is something that I don’t know if it was the case in the past, and it’s really special to be a part of that.”

Voting is now open for Pro Bono Australia 2016 Impact 25.

Download the full list of nominees with reasons for their nominations here.

Help us choose 2016’s Impact 25 here.

Voting closes Thursday 1 December.

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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