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NSW Premier's Woman of the Year (not open to public voting)

Associate Professor Payal Mukherjee

Payal Mukherjee

Associate Professor Payal Mukherjee’s is an adult and paediatric ENT surgeon specialising in ear surgery and cochlear implantation. Her mission is to advocate for gender equity in the workforce and educational institutions and be a role model to future generations of women.

Payal is the Deputy Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) NSW State Committee, the ENT Research lead at the Institute of Academic Surgery at RPA hospital, and a member of the Meniere’s Research Fund (Sydney Medical School). As a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Sydney and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wollongong, Payal places particular importance on research and teaching. She practices both at the Sydney Adventist Hospital and RPA Hospital.

Payal is completing a PhD in disruptive technologies in ENT specialising in medical applications of augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D printing and bioprinting with a focus on global translation of Australian innovation in biotechnology.

As a mother to a young daughter, Payal is passionate about education and literacy development. Payal is committed to mentoring children and junior doctors into pursuing STEMM careers in surgery and medical technology. Payal embraces thinking outside the square and driving cultural change.


Laura O'Reilly

Laura O'Reilly

Laura O’Reilly is a social entrepreneur who is working to create change in Australia’s disability sector. Inspired by her experiences as the sibling of a young man with cerebral palsy, Laura co-founded Fighting Chance in 2011, a not-for-profit organization supporting more than 450 young adults with disability through the operation of its two social enterprises, Avenue and Jigsaw.

In 2014, Laura and her brother Jordan co-founded Hireup, an online platform which gives people with disability the power to find, hire and manage their support workers. With more than 50,000 registered users on the platform, from every state and territory in Australia, Hireup is revolutionizing the attendant care space.

Laura is a graduate of Cambridge University and UNSW, where she studied history and law respectively. In September 2014 Laura was awarded the Australian Woman’s Weekly Woman of the Future and in 2016 was a finalist for NSW Young Australian of the Year.


Ruan Sims

Ruan Sims

Firefighter, professional rugby league player, leader, role model, media commentator, NRL Ambassador, domestic violence and mental health advocate. Ruan Sims is passionate about using the platforms provided through her work and sport to engage, educate, empower and enable people from all walks of life.

Ruan has represented Australia in rugby league, rugby union and rugby sevens in five World Cups, winning three of them. She has also captained her country and state in rugby league and was the first woman to sign a professional rugby league contract in 2016.

It is her fervent belief that if you create or provide people with opportunities and empower and equip them with the correct tools and support they will experience great success. It may not be on the football field, or the television screen or the fire ground but seeing someone achieve their goals can inspire others to take the first step in chasing their own.


Tracey Spicer AM

Tracey Spicer AM

Tracey Spicer is passionate about the rights of women and girls. In her 30 year career as a journalist, author and broadcaster, Tracey has anchored programs for ABC, Network Ten, Channel 9, Sky News and Radio 2UE, and written countless columns for Fairfax and News Corp. She now amplifies others voices through the social enterprise, Outspoken Women.

Tracey has written, produced and presented documentaries on topics such as female foeticide and domestic violence in Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Papua New Guinea, and India. She is an Ambassador for ActionAid, World Vision, Cancer Council NSW, The Full Stop Foundation, NSW Kids in Need, SISTER2sister, and Patron of the Pancreatic Cancer Alliance.

Since October 2017 Tracey has spearheaded the #MeToo movement in Australia, producing award-winning investigations with Fairfax and the ABC. In March 2018 she created NOW Australia, a not-for-profit organisation helping those sexually harassed in the workplace. Her efforts resulted in the world’s first national inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace by the Australian Human Rights Commission. Tracey’s memoir The Good Girl Stripped Bare is a bestseller, while her essays have appeared in books including Women of Letters, She’s Having a Laugh, Father Figures, and Unbreakable. Her TEDx Talk, The Lady Stripped Bare, has almost five million views.

In 2018, Tracey was awarded an Order of Australia for her work as the national co-founder of Women in Media, and as an ambassador for charitable and social welfare groups.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019
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