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Harvey Norman NSW Young Woman of the Year Finalists

2021 Harvey Norman NSW Young Woman of the Year Award Finalists

A woman aged 18-30 years, who has demonstrated incredible potential or achievement in her chosen field, passion, or area of interest.

Ms Darian Lenton

Darian Lenton headshot

Darian Lenton founded ‘We, Future Leaders’, to inspire the next generation of trailblazers through educational and mentoring programs.

Ms Lenton employed 25 casual staff members and helped more than 150 students improve their grades. She also launched a free ‘Access Program’ during the peak of COVID-19 and continued it for students in need.

Overcoming depression, unemployment and pregnancy loss, Ms Lenton aims to impact 100,000 young people by 2026. She has a keen interest in supporting children after growing up in foster care.

Ms Lenton hopes to publish an autobiography to inspire Australia's youth, particularly young people living in out of home care.

Ms Emily Milton Smith

Emily Milton Smith headshot

Emily Milton Smith works to empower women as the youngest State Commissioner-Elect and Chair-Elect of Girl Guides NSW, ACT and NT.

Ms Milton Smith founded a Girls Advisory Panel, weekend workshops, training and development opportunities.

A dedicated volunteer, Ms Milton Smith spoke about girl’s rights at the United Nations. She is an active member of the UN Women Australia Sydney Women International Day Committee, organising activities and fundraising.

Ms Milton Smith is also an advisor to The Queens Commonwealth Trust, a charity which assists youth advocate projects. She currently works for Oz Harvest to reduce food waste.

Ms Emma Finemore

Emma Finemore headshot

Emma Finemore created an online junior judging competition to boost agricultural interest and communication skills in school students learning at home during COVID-19.

It saw 300 entrants from 40 schools across the nation join ‘St Paul's College Virtual Beef Junior Judging Competition’. The initiative was a chance for students to show off their cattle ranking knowledge to industry-acclaimed professionals.

The competition prepared students as young as five for future jobs in the technologically progressive industry. An advocate for all things ag, Ms Finemore recognised stud sales, auctions and livestock sales are moving online.

Ms Finemore demonstrated resilience in overcoming challenges in her own studies, career and farming experiences. Her determined nature helped tackle obstacles to launching the event.

Miss Reburdah Dennis

Reburdah Dennis headshot

Reburdah Dennis overcame personal hurdles to establish a touch football competition in her outback community, which created meaningful social connections through sport.

Ms Dennis was a self-professed ‘troubled kid’ before representing her Gamilaraay nation in the PCYC’s Nations of Origin rugby tournament. She then volunteered for her local PCYC.

These experiences inspired her to launch a local sporting initiative to keep youth engaged in their socio-economically disadvantaged community.

In a town with just over 6,000 people, Ms Dennis rallied 14 teams to join an eight-week competition. She is now studying community services and strives to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in the justice system.

Dr Samantha Wade

Samantha Wade headshot

Dr Samantha Wade worked on a team which developed a drug delivery device aimed at improving outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients.

Supervised and guided by renowned cancer biologists, oncologists and material scientists, Dr Wade spent six years engineering the device. Although still in the pre-clinical stage of development, it could change how medicine is delivered.

Pancreatic cancer has a five-year survival rate of just 10 per cent. The device has the potential to make more cases curable and help patients avoid major surgery.

Dr Wade regularly attends cancer fundraising events and gives public presentations to fundraising bodies and community groups.

Ms Shelby Lacey

Shelby Lacey headshot

Shelby Lacey is the driving force behind an elite acrobatic gymnastics program giving regional girls a chance to grow from an under-resourced training shed to World Championships.

Training for more than 20 hours a week, Ms Lacey protects the physical and emotional health of 16 gymnasts aged 10 to 22. She created a training schedule and meetings with sports psychologists, dieticians and physiotherapists.

Ms Lacey took over the family gymnastics business in the lead up to World Championships Trials, after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She helped 12 athletes make the Australian team.

Ms Lacey is also an avid fundraiser and choreographs routines for her squad to perform at charity events.

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Last updated: 06 Apr 2021