Congratulations to our 2019 WiT Awards Winners

Congratulations to our 2019 Award winners 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.

WiT Life Sciences Young Achiever Award sponsored by Griffith University - Winners

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Joint Winner - Hana Starobova

Hana Starobova is a PhD student and researcher at the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on the development of new painkillers from natural sources such as animal venoms. Specifically, Hana works on pain that is the direct side-effect of anti-cancer treatments in children and adolescents. She is a talented science communicator and STEM ambassador for the University of Queensland and for Wonder of Science, a school engagement program. In addition, Hana is a champion for the equity and diversity of women in STEM and participant in the Homeward Bound project.

for IMB

Joint Winner - Amy Chan

Amy Chan is a PhD student at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB). Her ground-breaking research focuses on the inflammasome complexes, which regulates inflammation in the human body. Amy’s research to determine how the inflammasome is ‘switched on and off’ presents new avenues for inflammation research and future treatment for bacterial septic shock. Amy is an active undergraduate tutor at the University of Queensland and has recently embarked on a teaching project to create online course content to increase learning accessibility across Queensland.

WiT ICT Young Achiever Award sponsored by PwC - Winners


Emily Entwistle

As a recent graduate from Queensland University of Technology, Emily has begun her career as a Business Analyst for Technology One. Striving for continued growth she plans to pursue roles that allow her to develop her leadership and mentoring capabilities. Passionate about STEM and User Experience, Emily is always learning, while encouraging the improvement of processes in her work life. In addition, she is very keen to encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM fields.

WiT Life Sciences Rising Star Award sponsored by QUT Ihbi - Winners

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Lisa Gillinder

Dr Lisa Gillinder has a joint clinical appointment as an Epileptologist at the Mater Advanced Epilepsy Unit, and Neurologist/Epileptologist at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane. A trailblazer, Lisa is recognised as the first person to undertake a surgical epilepsy fellowship in Queensland and the first person to be trained in Stereo electroencephalograph (SEEG) in Australia. Lisa is now one of only four epileptologists in Australia qualified and practising in SEEG and the only female. She was also the first to describe an association between neuronal autoantibodies and perisylvian epilepsy.

WiT ICT Rising Star Award sponsored by Queensland Government - Winners


Kelly Pedler

Kelly Pedler is acting Manager (Digital Delivery) in the Information Technology Branch of the Department for Transport and Main Roads (TMR). She leads a team that brings together TMR business areas, industry, customers and partners to co-design solutions and explore emerging technologies to solve problems and improve customer experience. After graduating from high school, Kelly joined TMR as an administrative officer and has used her initiative, talent and curiosity to progress her career. Now, with more than 12 years’ experience in government, her leadership and expertise have been integral in the collaborative development of TMR’s first Digital Initiative Lifecycle – a framework to promote transformational change in TMR’s digital thinking. As a mentor, Kelly’s role extends into the community through her extensive work with the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA).

WiT Life Sciences Research Leader Award sponsored by The University of Queensland - Winners

Antje blumenthal

Dr Antje Blumenthal

Dr Antje Blumenthal is an Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. As a scientist, Antje is focused on understanding how the immune system recognises and kills bacteria, and discovering ways in which we may be able to develop better treatments for infectious diseases. She is excited about creating opportunities for curious minds and removing obstacles that make it difficult for some women to pursue a career in science. Antje mentors women navigating their career journey and strives to be a role model, showing that it is possible to pursue research excellence in an academic career, have a family, and have other interests away from the laboratory.

WiT ICT Professional Award sponsored by TechnologyOne - Winners


Angela Jones

Angela Jones is a results-driven IT executive and technology enthusiast with almost 20 years’ experience spanning both public and private sectors. Currently, she is the General Manager of the Office of the CIO at ASX-listed Tabcorp, Australia’s largest gambling and entertainment company. Angela is committed to unlocking the potential of her team, technology and business to showcase how disruptive technology can drive transformation that exceeds expectations. She is a recent graduate of the WiT Board Readiness Program and is currently undertaking the Chief Executive Women Leadership Program.

WiT Life Sciences Outstanding Achievement Award sponsored by QUT - Winners

Professor Vicki Clifton

Professor Vicki Clifton

Professor Vicki Clifton has committed her life to improving the health of pregnant women and their babies. She has a particular interest in the effect of maternal asthma on the growth of the fetus, the function of the placenta and the health of the child as they grow. Her findings have attributed to her attainment of various high-profile appointments. Vicki is a strong mentor for young women in science. Amongst her many achievements, she was the first female to be appointed President of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the first female to be competitively appointed as Editor of the international journal, Placenta. Her commitment to gender equality has resulted in her being the Chair of Mater Research Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and a member of Faculty of Medicine Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committees.

WiT ICT Outstanding Achievement Award sponsored by The University of Queensland - Winners


Mandy Ross

Mandy Ross is the Chief Information Officer of ASX-listed Tabcorp, Australia’s leading diversified entertainment group. She leads a team of more than 1,000 technology professionals – with IT operations spanning digital channels and more than 9,000 venues and retail outlets around Australia. Previously, Mandy was CIO of travel start-up, one of Queensland’s first successful online businesses. In 2015, she was awarded Boss Young Executive of the Year, and runner-up in CEO Magazine’s CIO of the Year Award. She was also awarded CIO of the Year at the national iAwards in 2012. She is a tech executive with a passion for building high performing and diverse teams and embedding a culture of innovation to deliver business value.


Highly Commended - Carla Wall

Carla is Managing Director of Construction Industry Solutions (COINS) Australia, which is part of a global organisation that provides enterprise software to the construction industry. As a business leader Ms Wall has more than 20 years’ experience, driving the vision, business strategy and growth for companies in the construction and software industries. She is renowned for her systematic approach to problem solving and its application to business strategy, growth, people leadership and financial management. As a fearless leader and changemaker, Ms Wall is a proud advocate for women, as well as a passionate champion for social enterprise.

WiT Community Award sponsored by Flight Centre Travel Group - Winners


Rebecca McDonald

Rebecca McDonald left her construction industry job to volunteer in Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquakes. It was there she discovered that millions of children across the globe did not have the opportunity to learn to read or have access to books in their own language. As Founder and CEO of Library For All, she aims to help 20 million of the world’s most underprivileged children discover a love of reading. Rebecca has developed a free cloud-based digital library application that delivers a curated collection of books and educational resources to remote schools and communities. Back home in Queensland, the mother of three continues to build networks in the developing world, has established a thriving not-for-profit publishing operation and has recently focused her attention on providing indigenous language books for children in remote Aboriginal communities.


Highly Commended - Robyn Bull

Robyn is the Wonder of Science Program Director at The University of Queensland and is dedicated to encouraging young people in Queensland to pursue STEM education. Wonder of Science recruits, trains, mentors and mobilises PhD researchers as Young Science Ambassadors to lead the implementation of challenging STEM curriculum in Queensland schools and communities. In 2019, the program fielding 110 young scientists as ambassadors– of which 76% are female, and will reach almost 6000 Queensland students and over 200 teachers in more than 60 schools. The emerging scientists impacted through the Young Science Ambassador and Flying Scientist programs are highly influential and positive STEM role models for both students and teachers, providing expertise in helping students to engage and experience success in STEM.

WiT Sue Wickenden Entrepreneurial Award sponsored by The University of Queensland - Winners


Megan Avard

Megan Avard is Founder and CEO of a multi award-winning software company, SurePact – a risk identification and mitigation Enterprise SaaS solution designed to improve contract risk management, project and procurement delivery. With 25 years’ industry experience and specialist knowledge in the construction and infrastructure sectors, Megan specialises in business efficiency and the identification and management of contract and project risk. She is a role model for aspiring women in business having resigned her senior executive role two years ago to start a technology company in her late 40’s. In its first 18 months, SurePact has made a significant impact to 13% of Queensland’s Local Government Councils and continuing to deliver and achieve award winning results including back-to-back Ignite Ideas Grants.

WiT Employer of Choice Small Business Award sponsored by Mater Research Institute - Winners


Field Orthopaedics

Field Orthopaedics is a medical device company that identifies solutions to overcome challenges in orthopaedics. The growing team is comprised of doctors, engineers and scientists who all share a passion for improving the practice. Developing products for niche markets, which lead to world-changing improvements, Field Orthopaedics empowers young, capable engineers and biomedical students and is committed to providing a working environment that embraces equal opportunity and flexibility for its employees.

WiT Employer of Choice Corporate Award sponsored by Dimension Data - Winners



Recognised as one of the top 50 brands worldwide, PwC works with businesses, Government and the community to help Australia continue to grow and thrive. PwC Australia ranked first on LinkedIn’s 2018 Top Companies list of where Australians want to work. Delivering quality in audit, assurance, consulting and tax services to more than 5,000 clients PwC’s purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. Bold in its commitment to diversity, inclusion and flexible working, PwC Australia is proud to continue the encouragement of female talent with 51% female and 49% male employees as of June 2019.


Highly Commended- Hall & Wilcox

Hall & Wilcox is a leading independent Australian law firm. The firm employs approximately 700 people, including more than 400 women, delivering legal services to corporate, public sector and private clients, both Australian-based and those offshore doing business in Australia. Hill & Wilcox’s purpose is to enable its clients, its people and its communities to thrive. They are renowned for their Smarter Law approach – looking beyond the status quo to think differently and find solutions that are better, faster and cheaper. Smarter Law includes enabling technology, challenging business models, innovative pricing and creative resourcing.