Inspirational women celebrated at Women of the West Awards

2022 Women of the West Awards recipients: Surma Subedi, Young Woman of the West; Rachel Haywood, Woman of the West (Community); Vyvienne Abla, Woman of the West (Business); and Sharon Robertson; Highly Commended, Woman of the West (Community).

Western Sydney University is proud to announce the winners of this year’s Women of the West Awards.

The inspirational women were celebrated at a special event held in partnership with the Coleman Greig Women in Business Forum.

Vyvienne Abla was named Woman of the West (Business) and Rachel Haywood was awarded Woman of the West (Community), while Surma Subedi was named Young Woman of the West.

In addition, Sharon Robertson received a Highly Commended in the Woman of the West (Community) category.

Western Sydney University Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership, Professor Michelle Trudgett offered her congratulations to all the exceptional winners and nominees.

“The Women of the West Awards acknowledge the significant contributions women are making to the Western Sydney region,” said Professor Trudgett.

“The year’s awards highlighted the diversity, strength and passion of women across a range of important areas, including the arts, health, advocacy and community.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Leadership, Professor Michelle Trudgett with the nominees. Photo credit: Sally Tsoutas

Woman of the West (Business) Vyvienne Abla was recognised for her longstanding commitment to the music and creative industries spanning two decades.

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.

The Bankstown resident also launched 4ESydney, the only festival and conference of its kind in Australia specialising in HipHop culture and multi-artform, interdisciplinary practice.

Woman of the West (Community) Rachel Haywood was acknowledged as an experienced health and wellbeing marketing, communications and project manager from Liverpool.

Rachel is the co-founder of the charity Pink Elephants Support Network which supports women, families and physicians through early pregnancy loss and miscarriage. She is also Marketing Manager for Western Sydney MRC, a charity supporting refugees and migrants through settlement and creating connections to the community.

As part of the Woman of the West (Community) category, Sharon Robertson was also recognised with a Highly Commended for her extensive community work.

Sharon is the Founder of Dilly Rocks – an initiative that has raised over a million dollars and helped 25 struggling farmers in Wollondilly. She is also the co-founder of the Macarthur Storm Chasers, a group that helped serve the community during recent bush fires and floods. During lockdowns, Sharon also supplied meals to those in need.

2022 Women of the West Awards nominees. Photo credit: Sally Tsoutas

Young Woman of the West Surma Subedi from Penrith was recognised for her social equity and justice advocacy as a healthcare professional and community volunteer.

Over the last decade, Surma has transitioned from a nurse in Nepal working with marginalised community groups to working for NSW Health. After graduating from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Nursing, Surma has worked in different capacities across multiple settings at Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District (NBMLHD).

A proud member and leader of the Nepali community in the region, she has volunteered in multiple community-based projects through her affiliation with the Nepalese Community of Western Sydney (COWS) and Penrith Gorillas Soccer Club.

Coleman Greig Lawyer’s Women in Business Ambassador and Principal, Caroline Hutchinson, said: “It’s been a pleasure to formally recognise and celebrate the achievements of these incredible women who have made a significant impact within the Western Sydney community. On behalf of the staff at Coleman Greig, we’d like to congratulate all the winners and finalists of the Women of the West Awards.”


2 May 2022

Ali Sardyga, Senior Media Officer