Introducing the 2018 Women of the West nominees

On the eve of International Women’s Day, Thursday 8 March, Western Sydney University is proud to announce the nominees for the 2018 Women of the West Awards.

For more than 10 years the Women of the West Awards have celebrated the invaluable contribution that women make to the Western Sydney region.

This year’s nominees include community and social justice advocates, nurses, teachers, mentors and students. These 18 inspirational women were nominated in the categories of Woman of the West (Business), Woman of the West (Community) and Young Woman of the West (18 to 30yrs).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, says the awards are a chance for the people of Western Sydney to recognise the incredible women that live and work in their local community.

“The University is proud to honour women in Greater Western Sydney and formally recognise their contribution to the economic, social and cultural development of the region,” says Professor Kirkpatrick.

“While these women may come from many different backgrounds and work across many different fields, they all have in common a drive, passion and commitment to making our community a better place.”

The winners will be announced on International Women’s Day, Thursday 8 March 2018 at the Coleman Grieg Women in Business celebration. The guest of honour for this year’s event is internationally acclaimed author, journalist and UNICEF Ambassador Tara Moss.  Ms Moss will share her insights on women's representation in media, fiction, politics and public life - addressing the topic of 'Labels, Leadership and Why We Need More Women's Voices'.

Women of the West nominees for 2018

Woman of the West (Business) Category

Peggy Willcox

Peggy Willcox Peggy is the founder of Mooney Real Estate.  She was nominated for her advocacy for tenants' rights, for her use of her professional role to offer advice and support to people in need of housing expertise, and for her establishment of the Schools Matter campaign to improve educational infrastructure for young people in the Penrith LGA.

Cynthia Payne

Cynthia Payne As Chief Executive of SummitCare for the past 15 years, Cynthia has demonstrated a sustained commitment to delivery of quality and innovative aged care services to the people of Western Sydney. Cynthia has a long history of mentoring work, board memberships, and is an active industry commentator and speaker.

Deb Croucher

Deb Croucher As Founding Director of the Brilliant Group, Deb was nominated for her inspirational leadership and strong commitment to flexible employment opportunities for working parents in Greater Western Sydney.

Fiona Smith

Fiona Smith Fiona was nominated for her implementation of strategic transformational change at a struggling manufacturing site, resulting in strong business growth, staff retention and team development in her role as Head of Site at Virbac and for her contributions to community in her capacity as President of the Kurrajong Community Forum.

Gail Hook

Gail Hook As Nursing Unit Manager of a Neurosurgery/Trauma High Dependency Unit, Gail was nominated for her leadership in implementing a new approach to communication and patient care in clinical decision-making, and for her leadership and mentoring of nursing students and early career nurses.

Maria Kovacic

Maria Kovacic As co-founder of Western Sydney Women, Maria was nominated for her design and delivery of skill development opportunities in financial literacy, job readiness, and health and well-being for women in Greater Western Sydney.  Maria also contributes to business development in an advisory capacity through her membership on a number of professional boards and committees.

Woman of the West (Community) Category

Amy Briggs

Amy Briggs Amy is a Western Sydney University student and childhood education and care professional.  She was nominated for her extensive volunteer work and commitment to promoting youth literacy in the Blue Mountains and Greater Western Sydney.

Angelina Synnott

Angelina Synnott Angelina was nominated for her commitment to improving access to early childhood education and care, with a specific focus on creating safe spaces for children and families at risk.

Donya Haddad

Donya Haddad Donya was nominated for her efforts to raise awareness about issues facing youth, young women, and people from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Nelum Joachim

Nelum Joachim Nelum was nominated for her extensive initiatives which aim to promote social justice and community engagement in early childhood education and care.

Allison Kokany

Allison Kokany Allison was nominated for her significant work in mental health support and advocacy.  She has been involved extensively in the design and delivery of mental health services with a particular focus on the contextual needs of communities across Greater Western Sydney.

Elizabeth Docking

Elizabeth Docking Elizabeth was nominated for her long-term commitment to the Community Greening Program, which seeks to promote the social, economic, and health benefits of community gardens across the areas of Mt Druitt, Macarthur and Penrith.

Martha Jabour

Martha Jabour Martha was nominated for her substantial and sustained contributions to family and community support, education, and legal reform for those dealing with homicide and traumatic crime, including a major initiative to establish a world-leading residential trauma support centre in Greater Western Sydney, Grace's Place, for children affected by homicide.

Maria Said

Maria Said Maria is the CEO of the national charity Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia.  She was nominated for her contributions over the past 25 years to patient advocacy and education in allergic disease recognition, management and emergency treatment.

Jo Armstrong

Jo Armstrong As Director of Fundraising, Marketing, Development and Volunteering at Parramatta Mission, Jo was nominated for her strategic approach to bringing sustainable solutions for at-risk communities in Greater Western Sydney including people facing homelessness, domestic violence and struggling with mental health so that all people can have the opportunity to live life to the full.

Jo-Ann Morris

Jo-Ann Morris As Co-Founder of the Samuel Morris Foundation, Jo-ann was nominated for her work to establish local initiatives and an international support network targeting non-fatal drownings. In addition to this work, Jo-ann is actively involved in parental advisory groups for children's rehabilitation. She has also recently completed a nursing degree.

Young Woman of the West Category

Angela Stansfield

Angela Stansfield Angela was nominated for her approach to social justice and her community-focussed work in the areas of migrant language support, homelessness, food security, and cancer fundraising for children.

Marija Yelavich

Marija Yelavich Marija is a Western Sydney University student was nominated for her work as a publisher, mentor and community advocate. Marija was recognised as the 2017 ‘Law Student of the Year’ at the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards last year.