Congratulations to our 2020 WiT Awards finalists

Congratulations to our 44 incredible finalists who are making their mark across the spectrum of science and technology. The annual WiT Awards recognise outstanding talent and achievement giving women the recognition they deserve, building support for their work, and inspiring the next generation of leaders by showing what is possible.

The WiT Awards are a celebration that brings our diverse community together to champion the successes of the many incredible women working in all fields of science and technology, particularly our innovators, our unsung heroes and the rural, remote and regional women who have been spotlighted this year for the first time.

2020 attracted a record field of more than 440 nominees!

Young Achiever Science Award - Finalists

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Winner - Samantha Nixon

Samantha Nixon

Samantha Nixon is a PhD student at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland. As a former arachnophobe, turned spider advocate and venom specialist, her research focus lies in investigating how spider venom can be used to develop new medicines to fight against parasites. Alongside her research interests, she is passionate about addressing inequality in STEM as well as education and leadership through science education and is also the winner of the 2020 Queensland Women in STEM Prize – Jury Award.

Finalist - Maureen Ross

Maureen Ross

Maureen Ross is a full-time PhD student at QUT researching in the multi-disciplinary field of biotechnology and biomedical manufacturing with a side passion for the environment and sustainability. Her work is an amalgamation of science, engineering and medicine, using advanced manufacturing to create patient-specific treatment solutions for tissue loss. Specifically, she is using a combination of low-cost 3D scanning methods, bioprinting and melt-electrowriting (a 3D printing technique that prints micron sized fibres) to create novel scaffolds for ear cartilage.

Finalist - Vaishnavi Nathan

Vaishnavi Nathan

Vaishnavi Nathan is a PhD student in the Oncogenomics Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. Her PhD is on the most common subtype of melanoma, cutaneous melanoma of which Queensland has the highest incidence in the world. Vaishnavi also works with patients with a rarer type of melanoma of the eye called uveal melanoma, which has an inherited genetic component. Familial melanoma is a rare genetic disease where specific mutations inherited over generations predispose individuals to developing melanoma.

Rising Star Science Award - Finalists

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Winner - Sonia Shah

Dr Sonia Shah

Dr Sonia Shah is an NHMRC-funded research fellow at the University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Biosciences. Dr Shah is a woman on a mission to understand the causes of human disease by analysing our genetic data. Notably, her research has focused on understanding the link between cardiovascular disease and brain-related disorders. She is the 2020 winner of the Genetics Society of AustralAsia Alan Wilton award recognising outstanding contributions to the field of genetic research from an early career researcher.

Finalist - Niloofar Vaghefi

Dr Niloofar Vaghefi's

Dr Niloofar Vaghefi’s research at the Centre for Crop Health, University of Southern Queensland, is focused on safeguarding Queensland’s agricultural industries from diseases that infect food and feed crops. Several pathogenic microorganisms have the ability to cause disease on agricultural crops. These pathogens have the ability to evolve and adapt to agricultural ecosystems. She uses molecular plant pathology and genomic tools to sequence the genome of crop pathogen populations to understand how they evolve and infect crops and then utilize this knowledge against the pathogens.

Finalist - Yinghong Zhou

Dr Yinghong Zhou

Dr Yinghong Zhou has a passion for solving medical problems and trained as both a dentist and biomedical engineer, has the drive and capability to help people with periodontitis. Her research aims to fight bacterial infection, control inflammation and regenerate the damaged structures, using bioscaffolds she has developed. These are safe implants created using bio-ink and a person’s stem cells to form intricate layers which break down as new tissue grows. They are customised to fit and release anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory factors.

Finalist - Sara Khalifa

Dr Sara Khalifa

Dr Sara Khalifa is a research scientist with Distributed Sensing Systems Group. Sara is looking at overcoming many problems associated with embedded sensors by applying energy harvesting techniques to eliminate the need to replace batteries. By avoiding batteries, instead using energy harvested from the environment, tiny devices can monitor people, animals, and assets/objects in hard-to-reach places, while eliminating the risk of chemical leakages into the environment. Her research will lead to development of new services and business models as industries adapt to the new capabilities delivered by battery-less self-powered autonomous devices.

Research Leader Science Award - Finalists

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Winner - Sonja March

Professor Sonja March

Professor Sonja March is a child Psychologist who holds a teaching and academic research position within the School of Psychology and Counselling at the University of Southern Queensland. Her extensive research is in the use of innovation and technology to enhance the efficiency of psychological treatments and evidence-based psychosocial interventions across the lifespan. Through her findings, Professor March’s ambition is to make mental health treatments available to all Australian children and adolescents, irrespective of where they live or come from.

Finalist - Jyotsna Batra

A/Professor Jyotsna Batra

A/Professor Jyotsna Batra In Australia, 1 in 9 men will develop prostate cancer by 75 and 20,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have led to identification of more than 100 common, low-penetrance loci for prostate cancer. These studies complemented by functional studies may, however, have more immediate clinical impact by the identification plausible targets and pathways to inform the application and development of therapeutic options and biomarker discovery. Knowledge of functional roles for GWAS-identified variants with respect to disease is in very early stages and is the focus of Jyotsna’s research. She aims to identify the relevance of novel genetic polymorphisms, to map these variants to appropriate gene and/or long non-coding RNAs, and delineate the mechanism by which these genes might alter risk.

Finalist - Susannah Tye

Dr Susannah Tye

Dr Susannah Tye leads the Functional Neuromodulation and Novel Therapeutics Laboratory at the Queensland Brain Institute, as part of the Asia Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation. Her team is dedicated to development of therapeutic interventions for treatment resistant depression, strategically situated at the forefront of cutting-edge neuroscience and clinical neuromodulation, which affords them a unique opportunity to record live brain activity and correlate this with functional neuroimaging and behavioural measures. As part of this, her team works in close collaboration with engineers and medical professionals to develop closed-loop, adaptive neuromodulation systems that sense aberrant brain states and optimise stimulation parameters accordingly.

Outstanding Achievement Science Award - Finalists

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Winner - Vicki Flenady

Professor Vicki Flenady

Professor Vicki Flenady is a Senior Research Fellow and an experienced perinatal epidemiologist, who is globally recognised as a leader in stillbirth research. Currently, she is the Director of the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Stillbirth. In her role, Professor Flenady works to reduce the number of stillbirths that occur after 28 weeks’ gestation by 20%. Her vision is to reduce the devastating impact of stillbirth on parents, families and the community through high quality research that translates into improved clinical care, community awareness and outcomes.

Finalist - Nicole Webster

Professor Nicole Webster

Professor Nicole Webster As a Research Scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Professor at the Australian Centre for Economics at the University of Queensland, Nicole leads a research program aimed at uncovering the contributions of microscopic life to the health, survival and adaptation of reef species. Marine microbes comprise up to 90% of oceanic biomass and are responsible for about 50% of global primary production, they drive the ocean’s major biogeochemical cycles and they form symbiotic partnerships that ultimately maintain the health and survival of iconic species like corals.

Finalist - Naomi Wray

Professor Naomi Wray

Professor Naomi Wray is Professor at the University of Queensland, with joint appointments at the Institute for Molecular Biosciences and the Queensland Brain Institute. She is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and an NHMRC Level 3 Leadership Fellow. She received the 2016 Australian Neuroscience Society Nina Kondelos Award and the 2020 NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Award for Leadership in Basic Science. Her early training was in quantitative genetics applied to livestock. With technological advances, her career interests moved to human common disease, particularly disorders of the brain – the common thread being statistics, genetics, and the analysis of “big data”.

Finalist - Chamindie Punyadeera

A/Professor Chamindie Punyadeera

A/Professor Chamindie Punyadeera is an innovator who leads an internationally recognised transdisciplinary research program, transforming diagnosis and treatment for patients with head and neck cancer. Her excellence in research is demonstrated by >$6mn in research income, two commercial licensing options, 57 papers and 6 HDR completion, in 5 years. Her research is highly commercial, aiming to improve outcomes for head and neck cancer patients, while delivering equitable healthcare to all Australians including the first nations people. She is a leading advocate for women in STEMM, especially bringing diversity and inclusion as an anchor, thereby delivering on WiT’s core values.

Young Achiever Technology Award - Finalists

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Winner - Valeriia Savenko

Valeriia Savenko

Valeriia Savenko originally was from Russia and migrated to Australia at the age of 16 to pursue her passions. She has since become a qualified Electrical and Biomedical Engineer who currently works as an Azure Customer Engineer at Microsoft, assisting customers to solve complex problems through Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. Her work in technology has transformed her life and continues to inspire other women to bring their skills to the table. She is an advocate for diversity and inclusion for women in STEM and shares her story through public speaking. Valeriia’s hard work and grit has positioned her to have profound influence as an emerging leader in the tech sector.

Highly commended- Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams

(Highly Commended) Jessica Williams is a driven Junior Security Consultant at one of Queensland’s largest security consultancies, Alcorn Group and is currently transitioning into a role as Security Consultant at CyberCX. Jessica was awarded ‘Best Security Student Leader’ of 2019 by CSO and Women in Security for her passion for the information security community. In her role at Alcorn she assists in providing security assurance to some of Queensland’s largest organisations. She is assisting in web, API and mobile penetration testing and has worked on malware analysis for red team operations. Additionally she assisted in architecting the infrastructure for Alcorn Group’s ethical hacking workshops.

Finalist - Amelia Luu

Amelia Luu

Amelia Luu is a Roboticist and Mechatronics Engineer at the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Hub and Design Robotics, QUT. She is currently working in robotic manufacturing and is passionate about mass customisation, biofabrication and robotics. Amelia works on projects that involve the implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies into custom manufacturing of anything ranging from large artwork to assistive medical devices. She is currently working to develop advanced solutions for industry using collaborative robotic arms, all with the aim to reduce the dull, dirty and dangerous tasks in the process. She was inspired to pursue mechatronics after seeing MIT Hugh Herr’s TED talk on bionic limbs that restore or even enhance, normal gait, balance and speed.

Rising Star Technology Award - Finalists

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Winner - Zoe Eather

Zoe Eather

Zoe Eather is a Churchill Fellow, engineer, and millennial with a passion for Smart Cities, Communities and Regions. She is a catalyst for change, undaunted in her mission to utilise technology in a way which enhances livability and sustainability. She is committed to providing real solutions to prevalent community needs, which requires forward thinking, effective use of resources, and education. Zoe shares her learnings through her ‘The Smart Community’ podcast and boutique consultancy, My Smart Community, which offers advisory services such as; smart mobility, smart technology for regional communities, project management, and collaboration facilitation.

Highly commended- Jessica Korte

Dr Jessica Korte

(Highly Commended) Dr Jessica Korte is passionate about the ways good technology can improve lives. To ensure technology is “good”, she advocates involving end users in the design process; especially when those people belong to so-called “difficult” user groups – which usually translates to “minority” user groups. Her philosophy for technology design (and life in general) is that the needs of people who are disempowered or disabled by society should be considered first; everyone else will then benefit from technology that maximises usability and accessibility. Her research areas include Human-Computer Interaction, Machine Learning, and Participatory & Collaborative Design.

Finalist - Tessa Rixon

Tessa Rixon

Tessa Rixon is dedicated to advancing the creative application of technology in the Australian performing arts through innovative teaching practices, national and international research projects, community engagement and undergraduate student mentorship. Through her work in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Technical Production degree within the School of Creative Practice at Queensland University of Technology, Tessa blends the latest in performance technologies, online and digital teaching approaches, and practical hands-on learning. The BFA Technical Production course trains students to work in design, technical and management professions within performing arts industry.

Finalist - Alena Pribyl

Dr Alena Pribyl

Dr Alena Pribyl is a founding team member and senior scientist at Brisbane-based microbial genomics company, Microba. She leads the science content development for Microba’s gut microbiome reports and translates the latest scientific research on the gut microbiome to help inform Microba’s future strategies. As a founding team member, she played an integral role in the early success of Microba by developing the science content for Microba’s microbiome results reports, volunteering her time to participate in business accelerator programs, pitching Microba’s gut microbiome analysis platform to investors, and developing educational courses on the gut microbiome for healthcare practitioners.

Leadership Professional Technology - Finalists

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Winner - Cori Stewart

Associate Professor Cori Stewart

Associate Professor Cori Stewart is a recognised leader who has pioneered new approaches to accelerating digital transformation by delivering large-scale partnerships. Best described as a boundary spanner, Cori’s superpower is seizing the right time and place to propel bold industrial projects forward. She is currently CEO of the new not-for-profit, ARM Hub, where she has successfully leveraged Queensland’s global leadership in advanced robotics and design-led manufacturing; equipping businesses with the resources and expertise needed to innovate solutions and develop new products.

Highly commended- Vered Netzer

Vered Netzer

(Highly Commended) Vered Netzer is a Digital Transformation and Advisory Leader at ThoughtWorks Australia. Vered’s true passion is inspiring growth and learning in others while helping enterprises transform legacy systems into modern digital platforms. Throughout her 23 years of experience, Vered has led many high performing technology teams through a culture of creativity and innovation. Vered managed to break the glass ceiling, continually excelling in a male dominated environment, leading by example and embodying leadership qualities that enable transformation and growth among her team members, peers and the community.

Finalist - Kate OBrien

Kate O'Brien

A/Professor Kate O’Brien is a connector, who brings people together across traditional divides for successful research collaborations and teaching initiatives. Kate has used mathematical modelling, data analysis and synthesis to provide insight into a wide range of sustainability issues, including greenhouse gas mitigation, the urban energy-water nexus, water quality and eutrophication, resilience of coastal ecosystems and work-family conflict. Kate is a leader in engineering education. Her practical tools for “great teaching without the burnout” have been widely applied, she has designed and delivered successful teaching programs for junior academics, and she has pioneered new ways to teach and assess critical thinking.

Finalist - Trina Myers

Professor Trina Myers

Professor Trina Myers is a quintessential disruptor and solution-creator in the ICT education sector. Where she sees need for improvements in education, she acts on them by trialling and implementing different solutions. For example, to overcome the “glassy-eyed stare” of passive learners in lecture environments, she further developed an active-learning methodology, originally from the USA chemistry discipline, to use in large classes to engage learning and embed high-order-skills development in ICT university students.

Finalist - Fleur Johnston

Fleur Johnston

Fleur Johnston is Founder and CEO of Peoplebench a school workforce research & analytics company who are disrupting the way leaders in Education are making decisions about workforce strategy. In Australia today, 30-40% of early years teachers turn over in the first 5 years. It’s a $190M/year opportunity to redirect this money back in to front line learning if we can find a way to improve those stats. New Zealand has been importing 1000 teachers a year to keep their staffing models in schools operating and in the United States, the US Economic Policy Institute predicts a 200 000 teacher shortfall by the end of 2024. Teacher burnout, aging workforce profiles & a declining ability to create the flexibility that younger generations seek in their careers are all among the urgent challenges facing the sector.

Outstanding Achievement Technology Award - Finalists

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Winner - Leanne Kemp

Leanne Kemp

Leanne Kemp is an engineer, technologist and pioneer in emerging tech working from concept and ideation to actualisation of product. Leanne works on a global scale across multiple fields to provide transparency in the provenance of high value items such as diamonds and art. As well as serving as the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, she is renowned for her work at the United Nations, OECD, World Economic Forum, Global Blockchain Business Council, World Trade Board and the IBM Blockchain Board of Advisors; she is also an Adjunct Professor at QUT and a two-time patent holder. A multiple award winner, Leanne has a keen understanding of the challenges faced by women in technology and mentors many in the field to push aside barriers and achieve greatness.

Finalist - Margot Brereton

Dr Margot Brereton

Dr Margot Brereton is a national and international leader in the collaborative design of new humanitarian technologies and their interfaces. She designs with real user communities whose needs are typically overlooked in technology development. She has focussed on better futures for and the agency of older people and people with intellectual disabilities. Her group also designs technologies to connect people to nature and to support the use of endangered indigenous languages. Margot and her team’s prototypes are evolved and deployed over significant periods of time (6 months to years) within communities and the prototype is adapted in response to characteristics of use (or non-use) and growth or non-growth of participation. A fundamental tenet of Margot’s approach is that designs must be developed in use and developed over the long term to ensure that they fit into people’s lives in positive ways with people shaping their evolution.

Finalist - Sue Keay

Dr Sue Keay

Dr Sue Keay is a driving force in unifying the robotics and artificial intelligence communities in Australia, while also championing diversity and inclusion. Driven by her belief that Australia has limited time to take advantage of new technological advances, Sue feels we need to recognise and harness Australian produced talent and technologies. It is only by creating a supportive ecosystem for tech development that we can truly take advantage of the next industrial revolution. To transform this vision into reality Sue has led by example. She is a popular presenter who raises awareness of Australia’s core capability in key technology areas, especially the cluster of strength that has developed in Queensland around robotics and AI. Recognised as a Superstar of STEM by Science and Technology Australia, Sue is a strong advocate for women in technology, leading Australia’s push for to bring the Grace Hopper Celebration to the southern hemisphere.

Regional Award - Finalists

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Winner - Jodi Neal

Dr Jodi Neal

Dr Jodi Neal is currently the Project Lead for the Australian Strawberry Breeding Program within the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australia’s largest public horticultural breeding program. Through her work, Dr Neal has utilised cutting-edge scientific approaches to influence the breeding cycle of strawberries in order to produce advanced varieties. Her focus is a forward-looking strawberry breeding program that tackles the most prominent issues impacting Australia, such as food security, climate change, increasing population, and competition for land use, which will inevitably affect the future of farming.

Winner - Vivienne McCollum

Vivienne McCullum

Vivienne McCullum has over 25 years of experience in agricultural technology and project management. Vivienne is currently the Commercial Manager for DIT Technologies based in Queensland. DIT is an agricultural technology company that focuses on the development and disruption of the traditional supplementary feeding system in the livestock industry through the direct injection of nutrients into the water supply. Throughout her career, she has been a driving force in the evolution of agricultural technology, ultimately improving farming practices to serve the needs of Australian farmers better.

Finalist - Carrie Ann Wilson

Carrie-Ann Wilson

Carrie-Ann Wilson has been making her mark on the technology industry for more than 15 years. In 2016, she founded Scenic Rim Design, a digital design business that provides its clients with digital strategies and solutions and professional web and graphic design. Carrie-Ann is a firm believer in the importance of empowering rural, regional, and remote communities to embrace digital technologies to help overcome adversity and the unique challenges faced in these parts.

Finalist - Natalie McMaster

Natalie McMaster

Natalie McMaster believes that by providing peer mentored support and hands-on opportunities to engage with technology at university, preservice teachers will transform education in Primary school and reduce the decline in student participation in STEM-related disciplines. The extent to which digital technologies and robotics can transform learning and teaching, is yet to be fully realised but the potential is enormous. With a more automated future on the horizon, all primary school students should start high school with robotics and coding experience. Natalie has founded several initiatives at the University of the Sunshine Coast to transform learning and teaching in the region and raise aspirations of primary school students to careers in STEM; the USC ieducate mentor program, The Make, Integrate and Explore (MIE) School program and the design of undergraduate and postgraduate Technologies courses in the region.

Community Award - Finalists

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Highly commended- Sammy Herbert

Sammy Herbert

(Highly Commended) Sammy Herbert From being interviewed by Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas about being a women of colour to running Australia’s largest free coding workshops for women, non-binary and trans folk in Australia to building a tech community for one of the most innovative scale ups in the country, Sammy is truly a courageous and kind leader. At SixPivot, Sammy has built a free community mentoring program for deep and impactful growth in the tech community. This program has never been done before and has caught the interest of Microsoft and Amazon, it provides a platform for thought leaders to share their experience and provide a support network to grow local tech leaders.

Finalist - Zoe Eather

Zoe Eather

Zoe Eather is a Churchill Fellow, engineer, and millennial with a passion for Smart Cities, Communities and Regions. She is a catalyst for change, undaunted in her mission to utilise technology in a way which enhances livability and sustainability. She is committed to providing real solutions to prevalent community needs, which requires forward thinking, effective use of resources, and education. Zoe shares her learnings through her ‘The Smart Community’ podcast and boutique consultancy, My Smart Community, which offers advisory services such as; smart mobility, smart technology for regional communities, project management, and collaboration facilitation.

Finalist - Nina Du Thaler

Nina Du Thaler

Nina Du Thaler is passionate about raising children’s awareness and engagement on the important topic of online safety – and she’s taking a “break from corporate life” to do so. What started as a hobby in 2014 is now her focus – creating fictional and fun books for children and all under the banner of Bright Zebra. She was knee-deep in the IT world, with over 25 years of experience and working in various tech roles in both the private and public sectors. Today, she’s taking a leap into the creative writing world to pursue her dream, but still wants to build a portfolio of roles (including board appointments, interim c-level gigs, executive coaching).

Finalist - Alice Spies

Alice Spies

Alice Spies is a Customer Success Manager at Campfire, a social tech for good platform, created by Orange Sky. Campfire is designed to help connect amazing people with extraordinary opportunities, opportunities where they give their time to make our community and the world we live in a better place. In her role, Alice is responsible for helping those organisations who choose to adopt Campfire amplify their impact by not just helping them to setup their Campfire instance, but to guide them on a journey which helps them understand their purpose and how they can use Campfire to engage more effectively and safely with those amazing people (vollies) that help them achieve their mission.

Innovation in Science Award - Finalists

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Winner - Elke Hacker

Dr Elke Hacker

Dr Elke Hacker is a world-leading postdoctoral researcher in the skin cancer field at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT. Over the past ten years, she has expanded her research from in vitro lab models to human clinical studies which have generated results that improve understanding of the relationship between sun exposure, genetic-susceptibility and skin cancer risk. Her work examines preventative approaches including post-sunburn treatments with DNA repair enzymes which could protect against skin cancer. Dr Elke’s extensive research portfolio has led to the development of various smartphone apps which reliably collect UVR exposure data and measure the risk of sunburn.

Highly commended- Bronwyn Venus

Bronwyn Venus

(Highly Commended) Bronwyn Venus is evidence that not everyone in STEM is a scientist who works in laboratories. While she has worked in laboratories and in the field as part of various animal science research teams in the past, she now manages multi-million-dollar contracts which requires innovation and creativity. The scientists in the institute, and across UQ, have awarded her the 2015 Professional Staff Achievement Award and the 2018 Leadership Award within QAAFI, and across UQ the inaugural highly prized 2019 DVC-R’s Research and Innovation Award for Excellence. Bronwyn leads business and engagement at QAAFI and is a people person who has the unique ability to bring scientists together across disciplines to address large research questions and subsequent contracts.

Innovation in Technology Award - Finalists

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Winner - Lauren Hall

Lauren Hall

Lauren Hall has a Second Dan Black Belt in both Entrepreneurship and Taekwondo, having successfully built five multi-million dollar businesses across manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and technology industries and competed as a South African Springbok in the ITF Taekwondo World Championships (Russia 1995). She has 25 years of executive-level business management experience with an education in Programming and Accounting. Lauren is the Founder and CEO of iVvy, Australia’s multi-award winning SaaS Technology software company which continues to revolutionise the events and hospitality industry. iVvy unites a highly fragmented industry by empowering communities through change, innovation and connection.

Finalist - Fleur Johnston

Fleur Johnston

Fleur Johnston is Founder and CEO of Peoplebench a school workforce research & analytics company who are disrupting the way leaders in Education are making decisions about workforce strategy. In Australia today, 30-40% of early years teachers turn over in the first 5 years. It’s a $190M/year opportunity to redirect this money back in to front line learning if we can find a way to improve those stats. New Zealand has been importing 1000 teachers a year to keep their staffing models in schools operating and in the United States, the US Economic Policy Institute predicts a 200 000 teacher shortfall by the end of 2024. Teacher burnout, aging workforce profiles & a declining ability to create the flexibility that younger generations seek in their careers are all among the urgent challenges facing the sector.

Finalist - Katie Richards

Katie Richards

Katie Richards is the founder and CEO of Law on Earth and known for her first startup Virtual Legal an online law firm now in it’s 8th year of operation. Law On Earth is currently entrenched in the Startmate Accelerator, being one of the top 10 tech accelerators in the world, and has taken on seed investment with a Series A raise due later this year for global expansion. One corporate client has contracted for 60,000 advice sessions for Australia and enquired on NZ and the UK also. Katie has always been passionate about addressing the global access to justice issue, and the Law On Earth platform has achieved some success in this regard. It has been awarded several times in Australia and also internationally and voted by the Anthill Magazine as one of Australia’s best inventions.

Finalist - Qin Li

Professor Qin Li

Professor Qin Li is a Full Professor of Environmental Engineering at Griffith University, working at the interface of functional materials and integrated intelligent systems for environmental technologies. Prof. Li is a world-leading researcher in fluorescent carbon quantum dots. In the past decade, she has consistently led original works on carbon dots to promote this new class of environmental-friendly quantum material that has wide applications in bioimaging, drug delivery, sensing, displays and light harvesting. Prof. Qin Li advocates Sustainable Innovation. Her recent works on transforming human hairs into highly fluorescent carbon dots for OLED display as well as ultrasensitive sensors for organic pollutants in drinking water have been inspiring for circular economy in the high-tech space.

Employer of Choice Corporate - Finalists

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Winner - Data3


Data#3 is a leading Australian IT services and solutions provider, Data#3 Limited (DTL) is focused on helping customers solve complex business challenges using innovative technology solutions. Built on a foundation of over 40 years’ experience, combined with world-leading vendor technologies, Data#3 delivers an integrated array of solutions spanning cloud, mobility, security, data & analytics and IT lifecycle management. These technology solutions are delivered by combining Data#3’s services across consulting, procurement, project services, resourcing and managed services. Listed on the ASX in 1997, Data#3 reported revenues of $1.2 billion in the 2018 financial year and has more than 1,100 employees. Headquartered in Brisbane, it has facilities across 12 locations in Australia and Fiji. Our vision is to harness the power of people and technology for a better future.

Employer of Choice Small/Medium Business - Finalists

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Six Pivot


SixPivot is one of the most innovative scale ups in the country, they are purposefully different in the way they do business. They have built a company of exceptionally talented software developers ranking among the best in the world. They are true to their craft, believing anything is possible and care deeply not only about technology they build, but equally about the people they build it with and for. Their CEO & Founder puts people at the centre of everything she does and those values permeate throughout the company in everything they do. They have employee profit-sharing because they all celebrate the wins, their vision is for the company to be owned by its people. SixPivot was founded five years ago with remote working from home, before it was popularised by the COVID pandemic. SixPivot has always been ahead of the curve in innovation. And what makes it so forward thinking and progressive, is that it’s entirely lead, managed and owned by women. There aren’t many technology companies who can say that.