Young Women Leaders of Nillumbik Awards

A group of young women hold certificates

The annual Young Women Leaders of Nillumbik Awards recognise and celebrate the contribution of young women in Nillumbik to their communities.

Nominations now open for 2024

Do you know an inspiring young woman in our community? Nominations are now open for the Young Women Leaders of Nillumbik Awards 2024. 

Nominations are open in the following categories:

  • Nillumbik Young Woman of the Year
  • Young Creative Leader
  • Young Sports Leader
  • Young Gender Equity Leader
  • Young Climate Action Leader
  • Young Community Leader

Women aged 12-25 who live, work, study, volunteer or play in Nillumbik who have made an outstanding contribution to our community are invited to self-nominate. Friends and family can also nominate a deserving individual.

For more information read the Young Women Leaders of Nillumbik Awards Info Pack(PDF, 338KB)

Submit your nomination

Nominations close 11:59pm Friday 22 December 2023 and the awards will be presented at Nillumbik's International Women's Day event in March 2024.

2023 Young Women Leaders

Learn about this year's talented winners

Young Woman of the Year

At 18, Ellen Gould is already an exceptional advocate for people with disability. She has mentored more than 80 autistic teens through her role with the I CAN Network, enabling the development of autistic pride through the sharing of special interests in a safe space. She represented Asperger's Victoria at the Senate Inquiry into Autism in 2021 as their Youth Advocate. Ellen has represented many peak disability bodies as their youth advocate for example, Futures Connect, CYDA and Yellow Lady Bugs. She is also a consumer consultant for the NDIS.

By sharing her own stories of growing up neurodivergent in a society not aware of autism in girls, Ellen has educated parents and teachers on what is possible for the young person in their life who might be struggling to fit in.

Ellen is working towards running her own business as a diversity and inclusion consultant, helping organisations and businesses to make their policies, practices and products more accessible for neurodivergent people.

Young Creative Leader

Angharad Neal-Williams is an illustrator and live drawer based in Diamond Creek. She likes to work on environmentally friendly and ethically conscious projects, and is passionate about working with and for community through creative projects.  

Angharad has made her passion for art her business, and she is in high demand. Over the years Angharad has worked with many high profile organisations including Twinings, WWF, UNESCO, Melbourne City of Literature, The Big Issue and Youth Affairs Council Victoria among many others.  

Community is at the forefront of her creative process. Angharad wants to make a positive impact and promote healthy change. Community is her audience, and she has collaborated on several community projects in Nillumbik over the last few years. 

Young Business Leader

At just 12 years of age Poppy Hewett is the successful owner of A Pop of Colour, a local polymer clay earring business. Poppy sells her earrings online, using engaging social media to promote the process of making her creations and the earrings themselves.

Poppy’s creative and entrepreneurial approach to business has had a positive impact on the local community, encouraging other local young people to start their own business. By creating online content on her phone, marketing her creations for free with social media and using objects that can be found at home like skewers, pasta machines and rolling pins to create her earrings, Poppy demonstrates that expensive start-up costs aren’t a barrier to starting an at home business. 

Young Sport Leader

Ava Geary has started to create her own path through Eltham Wildcats Basketball, under the leadership and ongoing support of her family and mentors. Ava has taken herself from a learning role to one of leadership at the club, educating those older and younger than her on process and policy.  

Ava has also been appointed the Game Commissioner of state and national league games in which the Eltham Wildcats compete, making her the youngest in the country in that role.  

Whilst there is no doubt the 6,000 member Eltham basketball community benefits from the impact Ava makes, it will be the impact she has in the next 10 to 15 years with local youth and sharing her journey that will be the most impactful.  

Young Gender Equity Leader

Ruby Todd has demonstrated strong leadership empowering young women and girls through her coordination of the One Girl: Open Mic Night which was held in Eltham in December 2022. All proceeds were donated to One Girl, a not for profit which aims to provide women and girls across the world with equal opportunity to access education.  

Outside of coordinating the One Girl: Open Mic Night, Ruby is actively involved in leadership and advocacy programs offered through Nillumbik Youth, including the Nillumbik Youth Summit, We Know Your Name But Not Your Story project and the 16 Days of Activism Call It Out Campaign.  

Ruby’s passion for gender equity stems from her value of education and a desire to make pragmatic and ground roots change. Having been exposed to sexism whilst working in hospitality, Ruby felt tired of standing on the side lines and wanted to make direct change both to her local community and around the world.  

Young Climate Action Leader

Kiara You was the Social Justice and Environment Group Leader at Catholic Ladies' College in 2022, leading many projects around climate action and sustainability throughout the year. They included a Clothes Swap, Cup Rescue, Clean Up Australia Day and a Beeswax Strip Fundraiser to increase awareness around plastic waste, to name a few.

Kiara has raised the awareness of sustainability at Catholic Ladies' College and the wider community. Students have been involved in many of the programs she has run, whether it was sewing at lunchtime, recycling clothes or thinking twice before putting their cup in the bin!