Women of the West Award Winners

Congratulations, to our 2022 Women of the West Award Winners

Each year, Western Sydney University publicly celebrates the outstanding leadership and diversity of women who live and work in Greater Western Sydney. Our Women of the West Awards honour these women and formally recognise their contributions to the development of the region.

Three Winners and a Highly Commended were recognised for their community work on Friday 29th April at a Women in Business Forum event.

For more information regarding all Women of the West Nominees for 2022 please view handbook.

If you have any questions, please email Engagement@westernsydney.edu.au.

Woman of the West (Business)

Vyvienne Abla (Winner)

Vyvienne has been working within the music and creative industries for 20 years locally and across the globe. In 2007, Vyvienne founded Vyva Entertainment using the HipHop and music culture to empower others, focusing on integrating industry, education, and community to create unique pathways for youth, artists, and professionals. In 2015, Vyvienne launched 4ESydney, the only festival and conference of its kind in Australia, specialising in HipHop culture and multi-artform, interdisciplinary practice.

Vyyienne continues to gradually build a worldwide infrastructure and platform for HipHop in Australia as a member of several committees, which has led to her being honoured at multiple award ceremonies.

Woman of the West (Community)

Rachel Haywood (Winner)

Rachel is an experienced health and wellbeing marketing, communications and project manager. Rachel is passionate about communication and, in 2014, co-founded the Pink Elephants Support Network - a charity supporting women, families and physicians through early pregnancy loss/miscarriage. Co-Founder of the Pink Elephants Support Network was a full-time volunteer role for three years. She performed this role in addition to her full-time job since 2016 as Marketing Manager for Western Sydney MRC, another charity supporting refugees and migrants through settlement and connecting to the community.

Rachel believes that we all need to have one thing that we do in life that is selfless, one thing that takes empathy, sympathy and understanding to the next level, volunteer, donate, be involved with the community, help another, and be the change

Sharon Robertson (Highly Commended Winner)

Sharon founded Dilly Rocks in February 2021, an initiative that saw her painting over 400 rocks Wollondilly to raise money and products for local farmers who were struggling at the time. The initiative has raised over a million dollars and helped 25 struggling farmers. They now have over 1,800 members and over 1000 rocks painted around the area.

Sharon also co-founded the Macarthur Storm Chasers in 2015 with a small team to inform locals on current storms during the high-risk weather seasons, which helped serve the community during recent bush fires and floods.

During Covid, Sharon went above and beyond to support her community during the multiple lockdowns in NSW. She supplied 50 meals a week to locals who had no way of feeding themselves. Sharon even went as far as providing meals paid out of her pocket.

Young Woman of the West

Surma Subedi (Winner)

Surma is a healthcare professional, a community volunteer and an unapologetic advocate of social equity and justice. In the last decade, Surma has seen herself transition from a Nurse in Nepal, working with marginalised community groups ‘Registered Nurse’ working for NSW health and serving the wider community of Western Sydney.

After graduating from Western Sydney University (WSU) with a Bachelor of Nursing degree, Surma has worked in different capacities across multiple settings at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD).

Surma is a proud member and a leader of the Nepali community in the western Sydney region and has volunteered in multiple community-based projects via her affiliation with the Nepalese Community of Western Sydney (nCOWS) and Penrith Gorillas Soccer Club