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2021 NSW Woman of Excellence Award Finalists

A role model, who has excelled in her chosen field. In doing so, she affects lasting change and is an inspiration to others.

Ms Alison Covington

Alison Covington headshot

Alison Covington brought the ‘Good360’ charity to Australia, which offers the retail sector a sustainable, community focused option to redirect surplus product from landfill.

In just five years, over 200 major retail brands have signed on to deliver more than $155 million in brand new product to over 2,700 charities. Thanks to Ms Covington’s business model, more than 17,000 items are now distributed daily to people in need.

Bushfire and the COVID-19 pandemic put Good360 at risk of closure due to the loss of volunteers and work for the dole participants. Tackling the challenge head on, Ms Covington gained additional support and created 14 jobs to meet the almost 200 per cent increase in demand from the charitable sector.

Ms Amala Groom

Amala Groom headshot

Ms Amala Groom is a Wiradyuri conceptual artist whose practice, as the performance of her cultural sovereignty, is informed and driven by First Nations epistemologies, ontologies and methodologies.

Articulated across diverse media, Ms Groom’s work often subverts and unsettles western iconographies to enunciate Aboriginal stories, experiences and histories. It interrogates and undermines the legacy of colonialism.

Her work, a form of passionate activism, presents acute and incisive commentary on contemporary socio-political issues.

Ms Groom intends to make work that speaks to the union of all peoples and to the indivisibility of the human experience. It traverses identity, culture, race, class, gender and religious worship.

Ms Amanda Rose

Amanda Rose headshot

Amanda Rose founded six businesses including Western Sydney Women, which aims to help women in the area overcome stigma, harness their potential and find meaningful employment.

Western Sydney Women hosts free skills workshops cover job readiness, toxic relationships and financial literacy.

Ms Rose also founded Business Woman Media, Western Sydney Executive Women and Small Business Women Australia. She is also managing director of Western Sydney Advisory and non-executive Director at Excelsia College.

Coining the title ‘strategic connector’, Ms Rose is a workplace trainer, business consultant, mentor and keynote speaker. She also writes a weekly careers column for News Corp Australia.

Miss Erika Gleeson

Erika Gleeson

Erika Gleeson, a Senior Behaviour Specialist, is the founder and CEO of Autism Swim, an international charity that is on a mission to address the hugely underreported drowning statistics for those with autism. Autism Swim addresses unique challenges of those on the autism spectrum, by facilitating opportunities for those with all abilities, by empowering parents and by activating the community to be inclusive.

Ms Gleeson created a certification program, giving access to specialised water safety, learn-to-swim programs and water therapy across 15 countries. She also developed a modified nippers and surf education program named ‘Dippers’, and designed a free water safety App for those with other abilities all over the world; to name just a few.

Currently undertaking a master’s degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis, Ms Gleeson is considered the global expert in the prevention of wandering and drowning for those with autism and other abilities.

Ms Gleeson is also a consultant to the NSW Police Force, a university lecturer, a director on multiple inclusion boards, and a key innovator in the inclusion space, and she is on a mission to ensure that everyone is given the same opportunities to learn, be included and reach their full potential.

Dr Kerry Chant

Dr Kerry Chant headshot

Dr Kerry Chant is the longest serving NSW Chief Health Officer, dedicated to improving lives and building a healthier state through her leadership across numerous public health issues.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Dr Chant has been on the frontline of the state’s pandemic health strategy to keep the community safe.

Dr Chant has held senior positions in NSW Health since 1991. She has a keen interest in communicable diseases prevention and control, Indigenous health and blood borne virus infections.

An active member of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, Dr Chant embraces evidence-based population health interventions to achieve results.

Ms Kim Liddell

Kim Liddell headshot

Kim Liddell is respected for her knowledge, drive and innovation after she launched an excavation business and spearheaded a study on the representation of women in the construction industry.

In an industry where only four per cent are women, Ms Liddell was elected first female Civil Contractors Federation vice president and inaugural Women in Civil chair.

Through this, she introduced mentoring and development programs including signing up 50 employers to redress the gender imbalance through ‘Champions of Change’.

Ms Liddell mobilised her first ‘Non Destructive Excavations’ truck the same week she gave birth, building and a multi-million dollar business. To help others succeed, she co-founded the Entrepreneurs Organisation Sydney Accelerator and Executive Leadership Programs.

Mrs Kristy Masella

Kristy Masella headshot

Kristy Masella holds ‘Murri woman’ among her proudest titles, which include CEO of Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES), award winning author and Harvard Scholar.

Ms Masella’s efforts led to more than 6,000 jobs for Indigenous people through AES, Australia’s largest not for profit Aboriginal employment and training company. She is also Chair of TranbyAboriginal College and Deputy Chair of Qunanbiri Incorporated.

A role model for women in business, she also established programs specifically designed to develop leadership in young women including ‘Cotton Blossoms’ and ‘Boss Lady’.

Ms Masella co-authored the award-winning finding aid ‘Connecting Kin: Guide to Records’, which helped people search for personal records and reconnect with lost family, identities and history.

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Last updated: 06 Apr 2021