Department of Family and Community Services

Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year

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Camilla Kenny

Camilla Kenny

Camilla Kenny is a driven rural woman with a passion for mental health and agriculture. She holds a Masters of Social Work and works within the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program covering Western NSW. Camilla strives to increase awareness of mental wellbeing in rural areas, encouraging help-seeking and stigma reduction activities. She plays a large role in supporting drought affected communities linking people to appropriate supports and advocating for additional resources and services.

Passionate about rural living and agriculture Camilla is a member of the Show Society of Dubbo. Through this she has gained an understanding and appreciation for the challenges many women face in their personal and professional leadership journeys, and the impact mental wellbeing may have. The local show society has acted as a springboard for Camilla to make an impact at a broader scale taking on a Vice President role for the Agricultural Societies Council of NSW Next Generation Committee, working to promote and enhance the development of young women across NSW in agriculture and rural communities.

Camilla has further extended this passion for supporting rural women and their communities through her local CWA (Collie Evening Branch) and a range of sporting clubs.


Dr Angelica Merlot

Dr Angelica Merlot

Like many Australians, Angelica has lost family members to cancer. It's their stories and struggles that encouraged her to become a cancer researcher working on a cure. After excelling in her studies, Angelica completed a PhD in Medicine at just 24 years of age at the University of Sydney, that focused on the development of novel drugs to selectively kill cancer cells, proving that age is no barrier to making a difference in our community. The success of this research has contributed to a multi-centre clinical trial, treating patients with advanced tumours around Australia.

Angelica’s research focuses on the deadliest of cancers, including pancreatic and brain cancer, which has seen very limited progress. Specifically, Angelica develops new targets and medicines that combat drug-resistant cancers and cancer spread. She has 28 research publications, has received a suite of awards (>2 million in research funding) and has presented her work at >35 conferences in Australia and around the world. In 2018, Angelica was named as Australia’s youngest ever National Health and Medical Research Council Grant recipient.

At 28 years of age, she obtained a competitive tenure-track position and now heads a team of researchers at the University of NSW and Children’s Cancer Institute. Angelica is a leader and volunteers her time to mentor others and contributes to various community and fundraising initiatives. She is a committed, influential champion for women in science, medicine and technology. She is a member of the UNSW Gender Equity Working Group and is responsible for implementing initiatives to empower women and promote equity in Medicine.


Kate Fitzsimons

Kate Fitzsimons

From brokenhearted sister to a woman on a mission, Kate Fitzsimons is living proof that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. She is an international speaker and Director of the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation – a charity established in honour of her sister who was killed in a motorbike accident in Thailand in 2012.

After learning one Australian dies in Thailand every two days, Kate selflessly left her corporate career in March 2013 to dedicate herself to Nicole’s Foundation with one clear mission: to bring more Australian tourists home safely. Kate then created a Travel Safety Education Program in high schools, where she delivers a heartfelt presentation that resonates with students the devastating consequences of risk taking overseas and the importance of travel insurance.

Although Kate began this campaign alone as a grieving sister, her endless passion and determination led her to become a nationally respected Travel Safety Ambassador working in cooperation with Smartraveller and Jetstar to spread her message with young people before they take off on schoolies and overseas adventures.

Inspired to help others thrive through adversity, Kate became certified as a Life Coach in 2016 and now also speaks to students about building resilience and emotional empowerment during difficult times. Described as ‘eye-opening’, ‘life-changing’ and ‘unforgettably inspiring’, Kate’s presentations have reached over 100,000 students around Australia and America.


Rebecca Gallagher

Rebecca Gallagher

School teacher, mentor and an advocate for women. Rebecca Gallagher is committed to

serving her community, working with a vast number of local community groups to help empower young people to change their lives and challenge the stereotypes placed on them due to their socio economic status, race and upbringing. Rebecca aims to support the younger generation in a way that she needed when growing up in a low socioeconomic status community and a violent household.

Rebecca was the first in her family to finish high school and attend university. She obtained a Masters in Education and now works as a special needs educator. She believes that everyone with the right support can achieve their aspirations - all they need is someone who will champion them and remind them that their past does not dictate their future.

Rebecca also volunteers for not-for-profit organisations in Cambodia supporting women and children rescued out of sex trafficking. She is passionate about restoring identity and worth into women’s lives who have experienced sex trafficking and prostitution.

Rebecca works closely with her local church and high schools mentoring teenagers. She has been able to reach more than 100 girls in her community supporting them and their families.