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Announcing the exceptional finalists of the 2022 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards | Women’s Agenda

Finalists profile photos

Women’s Agenda are excited to announce the finalists of this year’s Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards thanks to the support of their headline partner, Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus.


Finalists of the 2022 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards

Another year, another exceptional cohort of female leaders blazing a trail across all sectors. And, after a period of significant upheaval, we’re more excited than ever to announce the finalists of this year’s Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards thanks to the support of our headline partner, Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus.

These are women who have demonstrated strength, courage, collaboration, empathy and innovation to excel, and help pave the way for future generations. They’ve also displayed ongoing resilience in the face of adversity, where a global pandemic and climate-related disasters have ravaged entire industries. What they’ve achieved is frankly incredible, and we’re thrilled to be able to shine a light on their work and help build their profiles and platforms.

So without further ado…

Small Business Leader of the Year

Sarah Agboola

Sarah is the Founder and CEO of mtime, a business dedicated to giving busy families their time back by matching them with family assistants. As a for purpose business, mtime also helps women new or returning to the workforce gain meaningful employment through their assistant roles. In the past year, Sarah raised a seed round of $1m to scale mtime’s impact, and expanded the service to Sydney and Geelong – with more cities to come.

Danielle Owen Whitford

Danielle Owen Whitford is the Founder & CEO of AI company Pioneera. Danielle, a former corporate executive, burnt out unexpectedly in 2016. This led her to create Pioneera to improve mental health by tackling the crippling issue of workplace stress and make burnout a thing of the past, removing the shame and stigma from seeking help and creating happier and healthier workplaces.

Sheree Rubenstein

Sheree Rubinstein is a former corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur with an unwavering passion to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship. She’s the Founder of One Roof, a digital membership and professional network for entrepreneurial women. Recognised as Australia’s leading coworking operator for women, One Roof has on-boarded 1500 members across Australia in the last two years and amassed an online community of over 30,000. Sheree is also on the board of the Victorian Women’s Trust, a regular public speaker and mentors hundreds of women leaders and entrepreneurs.

Melinda Tempest

Mel Tempest is the founder and owner of Ballarat Body and Soul Health and Fitness Studio/Genesis. Her unique and courageous approach to business and life gave her the resources and tools not only to be successful in business but to stand up for her industry as part of the world’s longest lockdowns during COVID-19. Her unwavering conviction to keep her community active both physically and mentally whilst engaging politicians and media to have her industry heard has played a critical role in the recovery process of her community and businesses throughout Victoria.

Laura McConnell Conti

Laura is cofounder of #GoKindly, a bedding basics ecom social enterprise & BCorp. She is a passionate feminist with intersecting identities, which informs her leadership and work with women from deliberately-marginalised backgrounds. Laura worked in accounting and finance for 17+ years before launching #GoKindly 3.5 years ago. She is proud to be building a brand with heart, centred in kindness and ethics. Average 3-year growth of 200% YoY is Laura’s proudest achievement, as it enables investment in women’s housing & employment programs.

Emerging Leader in Health


Dr Silvia Pfeiffer

Dr Silvia Pfeiffer is the CEO of Coviu, a software that enables healthcare providers with video consultation services for patients. During the pandemic, Coviu became Australia’s leading telehealth software provider having delivered over 7m video consultations since. Dr Pfeiffer is an advocate for the digital transformation of healthcare. She co-edited the standards that made video a prime citizen of the Web and underpin not just the likes of Netflix and YouTube, but also her startup Coviu.

Dr Magdalena Simonis

Dr Magdalena Simonis is a full time GP, leading women’s health expert and advocate who wears several leadership hats including being President of the Australian Federation of Medical Women and federal council member of the Australian Medical Association (AMA). Throughout COVID-19, she has supported the local community and colleagues nationally and internationally, emphasising the challenges women face. She is an outspoken influencer and contributor to numerous national discussions on family violence, mental health, endometriosis, gynaecological cancers, cosmetic surgery, and gendered impacts of climate change to name a few.

Dr Manasi Murthy Mittinity

Dr Manasi Murthy Mittinty is a physician scientist at the University of Sydney, currently undergoing an advanced clinical research fellowship with Harvard Medical School. Manasi is passionate about empowering patients and families to thrive and live a meaningful life despite experiencing pain. Her novel translational work has started powerful conversations around sex, gender, religion and racial inclusivity for enhancing patient care. Her vision is to achieve mental health equity for all Australians by developing individualised patient care programs.

Dr Erin Morton

Dr Morton leads “Health Data & Clinical Trials”, Flinders University’s high-impact collaborative platform strengthening medical research across Australia & beyond. She is as passionate about culture & mentoring as she is about improving real-world health outcomes. In the past year, Dr Morton has developed a diverse new multi-disciplinary team; targeted broader personnel work-balance & recognition; pioneered a quality education program bolstering specialised research knowledge & skill sets; and devised or supported ~400 innovative research projects & national consultations.

Emerging Leader in the Private Sector


Amy Schultz

Amy Schultz leads global talent acquisition at Canva, a team who doubled Canva’s workforce in 2021. Her thought leadership and insightful commentary on the workplace inspire conversation and action for professionals around the world. With a vision to provide Recruitment for Good to communities in need and leverage her team’s skills, Amy leads initiatives to support those impacted by global events such as the Ukraine war and layoffs, by providing resources and guidance to job seekers.

Sema Musson

Sema Musson is the general manager responsible for ESG, complaints and corporate governance at Allianz Australia. She is passionate about organisations that lead with purpose, for the benefit of all stakeholders. Sema leads change by helping Allianz Australia and its customers transition towards net zero, improving disaster resilience, supporting customers experiencing family violence and strengthening organisational conduct. Sema is also Chair of KU Children’s Services and co-author of two novels that inspire girls to be brave.

Gloria Yuen 

Gloria Yuen is a risk management evangelist, inclusion leader and culture maker. She is passionate about amplifying the voice of people of all ethnic backgrounds and removing systemic barriers for underrepresented communities. In the past year, she has spearheaded strategic initiatives in creating deliberate platform, accessibility and opportunity for diverse groups through her advisory and committee roles including as Chair of Cultural Inclusion Employee Resource Group at NAB.

Julia Lu

Julia Lu is Head of Strategy and Venture Design at AGL. A people leader with 20+ years of experience, Julia combines commercial acumen, empathy, and out-of-box thinking to tackle some of our planet’s biggest challenges. In the past year, Julia has helped build a highly-engaged team of talented innovators, driven by a shared mission to transition 1 million homes to clean energy and electrify 1 million vehicles by 2030.

Emerging Leader in Arts & Entertainment:


Priscilla Jackman

Priscilla is a director of theatre and opera, creating innovative new Australian work that seeks to inspire audiences nationally, to engage in rigorous conversations, particularly around the experience of women. For Sydney Theatre Company, work includes RBG, WHITE PEARL (winning Best Ensemble at Sydney Theatre Awards), STILL POINT TURNING (the first Australian main-stage production centring on a trans narrative). She directed critically acclaimed feminist reimagining of BLUEBEARD’s CASTLE for Opera Australia who is currently touring nationally, her production of BARBER OF SEVILLE.

Peta Strachan

Peta is a multi-disciplinary Dance Artist, Dancer Teacher, Choreographer, Set Designer, and Costume Designer. Peta was a member of Bangarra Dance Theatre from 2000 to 2002, appearing in the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics Arts Festival, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and dancing in SkinCorroboree and Walkabout and the opening of Canberra’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Leonie Marsh

Leonie is a creative producer (of film and podcasts) and the founder of Screen Vixens, a national collective of female identifying, non-binary and intersex producers working across all mediums in the Australian screen industry. Founded in 2015 and with active chapters operating in all states and territories of the country, Screen Vixens foster professional collaboration, peer to peer mentoring and monthly networking to create and sustain strong working relationships in the screen industry.

Tasnim Hossain

Tasnim is a director, playwright, dramaturg and screenwriter. In 2022, she directed How I Learned to Drive (NIDA) and co-adapted and dramaturged Burn Witch Burn (fervour). She won the 2022 Sydney Theatre Award for Best Direction of an Independent Production for Yellow Face (Dinosaurs Productions/KXT) and was shortlisted for the 2022 Griffin Award for her script Bombay Takeaway.

Emerging Leader in STEM


Dr Vanessa Moss

Dr Vanessa Moss is an astronomer at CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, where she is Head of Science Operations for the ASKAP telescope and oversees increasingly-autonomous astronomy surveys. She leads The Future of Meetings (TFOM) community, a global multi-disciplinary collective which has pioneered best practice for accessible, inclusive and sustainable online/hybrid interaction by leveraging technology. Since 2020, TFOM has led by example, pushing the boundaries of normality and enabling others worldwide to do the same.

Amanda Morgan

Amanda Morgan is CEO/Director and Head of Research and Development at Fungi Solutions. She leads the Research and Development of fungi cultures to tackle challenges of waste management and ecosystem rehabilitation through circular design practices. Her passion is to situate Australia as a world leader in circular resource management by fostering collaborative partnerships that create health and abundance, bringing environmental and social systems into balance through regenerative natural materials.

Dr Morley Muse

Dr Morley Muse is an Engineer, a Scientist, an established speaker, entrepreneur and a passionate advocate for women in STEMM. She is a director on the board for Women in STEMM Australia, one of the leading global STEMM organisations. Dr. Muse is also the co-founder of iSTEM Co., a research, consulting and talent sourcing business aimed to enable employment of women, particularly women of colour and women from CALD, into Australia’s STEM organisations.

Carolyn Mee

Carolyn Mee is the CEO of Sound Scouts, a digital health company focused on improving access to children’s hearing screening. In August 2022, with the support of the Department of Health, Sound Scouts celebrated enabling over 100,000 children’s hearing checks across Australia. The Service is utilised in metropolitan areas, but also in rural and remote areas where audiology services are not readily available. Carolyn is proud to have harnessed technology to make hearing checks more accessible.

Shan-Shan Wang

Shan-Shan Wang is the Founder and CEO at (Roam Technologies). She’s currently developing a novel device (nicknamed Juno) in respiratory health, making it possible for oxygen to be accessible and available to everyone everywhere. Shan-Shan specialises in Industrial/Product Design paired with Strategic Innovation and Business Strategy focused on the delivery of actionable, tangible ideas to commercially viable products.

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year


Fiona Harrison

Fiona is the CEO and founder of Australia’s first Indigenous chocolate company, Chocolate On Purpose™. A disruptor in the artisan specialty chocolate market, Fiona is delivering real industry impact by empowering Indigenous Australian native botanical producers, and World Cacao Farmers, to greater participation in supply chains, disrupting the harm to our climate & endangered species by not using palm-oil in her chocolate, and contributing to Reconciliation in Australia through storytelling with her chocolate.

Nguyen Hanh Nguyen

Nguyen Hanh Nguyen is the Founder/CEO of Plante, an intelligent platform that empowers urbanites to grow their food garden. Nguyen is passionate about optimising tech and innovation to create a sustainable food system. In the past year, she has worked relentlessly to develop biodegradable solutions to reduce plastic pollution in the gardening space.

Su Dharmapala

Su Dharmapala is the CEO & Founder of, a digital data start-up headed by three women, which is on track to become the Google of politics. Through Polipedia, Su is leading a dedicated team of data developers to create an essential service of political transparency and accountability for all. Su already raised pre-seed funding to launch ahead of the federal election, and is on track to raise a further $2 million in seed funding.

Emerging Leader on Climate Action


Blair Palese

Blair is Director of Philanthropy at ethical investment firm, Ethinvest and Climate Editor at international outlet Climate & Capital Media. She has consulted to Google’s X moonshot group, the C40 Cities for Climate Action, Australian Museum and science publisher The Brilliant. In 2009, Blair founded the climate NGO Australia and was CEO for 10 years. She has worked as head of PR for The Body Shop internationally and Communications Director for Greenpeace International.

Anjali Sharma 

Anjali Sharma is 18 years old and was the lead litigant of the Sharma vs Environment Minister, a class action legal case which, in 2021, successfully established that the environment minister owes all young people a duty of care to protect them from climate change. She raises awareness about the disproportionate impacts of climate change towards young people and people of colour, and advocates for a future where the voices and stories of marginalised communities are amplified.

Hollie Kerwin

Hollie Kerwin is the Principal Lawyer and Climate lead at Environmental Justice Australia where she leads a team of climate action litigators and legal advocates. Her team is focused on curbing the drivers of dangerous climate change while embedding climate justice and inclusion throughout their work. She previously worked at the Human Rights Law Centre and Victoria Legal Aid on strategic litigation and campaigns for legal change, including in response to Robodebt.

Camille Socquet-Clerc 

Camille Socquet-Clerc is the founder of Bloom Impact Investing, a Fintech Startup with a climate mission. Her passion is to help Australians invest and use their finances to fight Climate Change. She has created a community offering free sustainable finance and impact investing education so that anyone can use their money power for good. Bloom is an investment platform that makes climate impact investing easy and accessible; helping people invest in renewable energy and cleantech companies from just $500 to accelerate our transition towards a Net-0 economy.

Emerging Leader in the NFP Sector


Rebecca Glenn

Rebecca Glenn is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Women’s Economic Safety, a new charity supporting women experiencing economic abuse in the context of domestic and family violence. Rebecca is committed to drawing on lived experience insights to reduce the impact of economic abuse and bring about social change that supports women’s economic safety. In the past 12 months she’s put economic abuse firmly on the agenda with services, government and media.

Marjorie Tenchavez

Marjorie Tenchavez is a first-generation Filipina-Australian social justice practitioner. She is the Founder & Director of Welcome Merchant, a social enterprise that not only provides a consolidated platform for entrepreneurs from refugee & asylum-seeking backgrounds, but a community too. Welcome Merchant is challenging the status quo through their refugee-powered Curated Events, social media support, online directory, skill building workshops and merchandise partnerships. Through WM, refugee entrepreneurs can demonstrate their unique stories and talents in their own voice.

Mary Nega

Mary Nega is the CEO of Global Voices, a youth-led, not-for-profit, that amplifies the voices of young people at international institutions driving decision making on the issues of our times (including climate change, the advancement of gender equality, inclusive development, unemployment, and pandemic responsiveness, among others). Where young people have felt the impacts of the pandemic and policy responses disproportionately, Global Voices has created opportunities for young people to be heard and meaningfully engaged with.

Angelique Ettia

Angelique is the CEO of Mummy’s Wish, a National Charity that supports mums with any type of cancer, with children under 13. As an authentic and purpose driven leader she blends a solid background in financial management, governance and stakeholder management, with an extensive resume of innovative campaign creation and philanthropic strategy. She is proud to have made a difference through transforming and growing organisations into sustainable entities that continue to serve vulnerable communities.

Mariam Veiszadeh 

Mariam Veiszadeh is an award-winning human rights advocate, lawyer, diversity and inclusion practitioner, contributing author and media commentator. She is also the founder and President of the Islamophobia Register Australia, the inaugural CEO of Media Diversity Australia and has worked in the anti-racism space for over a decade. As a former Afghan refugee, Mariam is the spokesperson for the Afghan Australian Advocacy Network and was a forefront advocate for increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake when Kabul fell last year.

Isabelle Reinecke

Isabelle is Founder/Executive Director of Grata Fund, Australia’s first NFP strategic litigation funder and incubator, which supports social movements and communities to use the law to fight injustice. She has facilitated distribution of >$1.5M in innovative funding and had a transformative impact on the use of law for social change in Australia. Her influence spans human rights, democratic accountability and climate action. She is a Churchill Fellow and a Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia Fellow.

Agenda Setter of the Year


Ashleigh Streeter Jones

Ashleigh is an activist, founder, speaker, writer and advisor lifting the floor to close gender inequality gaps locally, nationally and internationally. Her social enterprise, Raise Our Voice Australia, has delivered research on young women/gender diverse political participation, run national campaigns, and trained over 100 young women and gender diverse people on politics and policy since its inception in 2020. Ashleigh has been described by Forbes Magazine as a “youthful visionary” and has worked in advocacy and campaigns for nearly 10 years, with a focus on youth and gender.

Kristal Kinsela

Kristal is a proud Jawoyn and Wiradjuri woman, a leading supplier diversity expert and recognised Indigenous business leader. In her own consultancy, Kristal is the trusted adviser to corporate and government clients, working closely with leaders to articulate their supplier diversity vision, change organisational culture, develop procurement policies,  and connect them with talented Indigenous businesses. Driven to break through unconscious bias and stereotypes, she created her ‘Meet the Mob’ YouTube series to showcase ‘Blak Excellence in Indigenous business.

Dee Madigan

Dee is one of the few female founders of an ad agency network in Australia and the first female Creative Director of an election campaign-most recently the 2022 Federal Labor win. She specialises in progressive clients- working the AMAZE (Autism Victoria) and Dementia Australia, as well as a range of union campaigns- including the More than Thanks campaign for NSW teachers.

Catherine Jonathan

Catherine is the director of EMBA Media Group. A PR and Publishing company dedicated to raising the profile of African-Australian businesses and Allied partners. Originally from Kenya, Catherine moved to Australia in 2018, her journey of migration and settling inspired her to launch the first-ever EmBA Magazine, a media platform that publishes diverse stories of successful migrants. Her goal is to influence change for inclusive and sustainable economic growth through bold alliances.

Yemi Penn

Yemi is a fearless thought leader and curious rebel. Discussing typically taboo subjects in spaces where influential leaders reside and change makers are born. Yemi Penn is an advocate for self-empowerment and shares the tools to own this through her Speaking engagements, Corporate and Community collaborations. She mixes research, life experience, excellent storytelling, and humour to shift perspectives for change in all arenas that calls for a more Just, Equal, Diverse and Inclusive world. In the past year Yemi has kick started conversations through her self-funded documentaries, encouraging the collective to clean its trauma and be rebelliously curious about transmuting pain to power.


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