Department of Family and Community Services
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NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year Finalists

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Miss Jennifer Armstrong

Miss Jennifer Armstrong
WINNER

Jennifer is the founder of the Beauty Bank, a charity collecting unwanted toiletries and other beauty products for women in need, particularly those experiencing domestic and family violence. The Beauty Bank has helped over 3,000 women and men since 2013 and is now the signature charity partner of the Cronulla Sharks. A survivor of domestic violence, Jennifer is also a popular leadership speaker for both corporate organisations and schools, motivating and educating others on the effects of domestic violence and the power of resilience. Jennifer is also the Local Woman of the Year for Cronulla.

Jennifer is a third year student at Western Sydney University studying a Bachelor of Business and Commerce degree with majors in Sport Management and Advanced Business Leadership. Jennifer has two small children and provides foster care for a third child.

Professor Sally Dunwoodie

Professor Sally Dunwoodie
FINALIST

Sally is an internationally renowned biomedical researcher at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. She has dedicated her life’s work to helping babies born with birth defects, and heads the largest Australian Genome Sequencing Initiative in congenital heart disease. Sally is also a world leader in identifying causes of vertebral defects, having discovered six of the seven known genes that cause babies to be born with vertebral defects. Her discoveries have changed clinical practices and have led to genetics tests being available worldwide. Sally established and leads the Chain Reaction Program in Congenital Heart Disease which, aims to discover the genetic and environmental causes of heart defects family by family, with the promise that genetic diagnosis of birth defects will become routine. Sally is also a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of NSW. With women filling just 10-15 percent of senior roles in science, Sally is also an inspiration and mentor for young female scientists.

Professor Fadia Ghossayn

Professor Fadia Ghossayn
FINALIST

Fadia founded the Australian Lebanese Foundation in 2001 at The University of Sydney. The Foundation provides scholarships that require multi faith membership. Additionally, Fadia heads another Foundation that runs an Academy that annually calls for 15 young people from Australia to go to Lebanon to train on how to be a responsible Australian citizen. Fadia has made achievements in inspiring and mentoring young Lebanese in Australia to reach their full potential and strive for their goals while embracing Australian values. Through raising funds for scholarships and providing opportunities for all across the board, her tenacity has resulted in better cultural understanding and cooperation between Lebanese and Australian people, providing positive role models for new migrants and refugees. Not only has Fadia worked tirelessly to advocate for cultural cohesion and harmony through her work for the Australian Lebanese Foundation, she has also made an outstanding contribution by advocating for special projects and acting as a liaison between various agencies, while supporting numerous charities.

Ms Dorothy Hoddinott AO

Ms Dorothy Hoddinott AO
FINALIST

Dorothy is Principal of Holroyd High School where many of her students are asylum seekers, refugees and migrants. Most students arrive at the school with no English and many are illiterate. Under Dorothy’s leadership, the average number of school leavers going on to university has been 40 per cent with 56 per cent of the 2015 HSC class having received university offers. Dorothy established the Friends of Zainab Trust Fund in 2002 to help refugee children to obtain crucial secondary and tertiary opportunities. Friends of Zainab is now a major Public Education Foundation scholarship fund, supporting over a hundred young refugee students in NSW, ACT and Victoria during the last two years of their schooling and the first two years of university. Dorothy was awarded the Order of Australia in 2008 and in 2014 she was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in recognition of her human rights advocacy for disadvantaged young people, particularly child asylum seekers and refugees.

Ms Tracy Howe

Ms Tracy Howe
FINALIST

Tracy is the CEO of the NSW Council of Social Services. She worked with non-traditional stakeholders, outside the community sector, to develop a proposal for social and affordable housing. This proposal has been supported by the NSW Government, which resulted in a fund totalling $1.1 billion dollars for implementation. In her role as former CEO of the NSW Women's Refuge Movement, Tracy campaigned for a new and innovative domestic and family violence response, receiving $12.25 million as a seed grant to create the first dedicated women’s domestic violence community housing organisation. Tracy is a legally trained advocate with a commitment to human rights, addressing community disadvantage and gender inequality. She is on the NSW Premier's Council on Homelessness, and the Prime Minister’s Council of Australian Governments Advisory Panel on Reducing Violence Against Women.

ARC Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla

ARC Laureate Professor  Veena Sahajwalla
FINALIST

Veena is one of the world's leading innovators in the field of sustainable materials use and an international award-winning scientist and engineer. As a female engineer and judge on ABC’s The New Inventors, Veena bridges space between academia, industry, government and community in sustainable materials use. Veena is the Founding Director of the Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre at the University of NSW, where she invented a world first environmentally friendly process for recycling end of life plastics and rubber tyres in steelmaking. Veena also created a program to inspire and nurture girls in NSW and across Australia to pursue a science career. The program, titled Science 50:50, includes scholarships for girls with innovative ideas for solutions to real life problems.