2019 Women of the West nominees

Western Sydney University is proud to announce the nominees for the 2019 Women of the West Awards.

The talented and diverse group of women have been nominated for their significant contributions to improving the lives of people in Greater Western Sydney through their outstanding business and community initiatives.

The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, commended the women for their dedication to the region across a number of areas including social justice, mental health, sustainability and cancer support.

“The Women of the West Awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the remarkable impact women make across Western Sydney. Every year, we are impressed by the passion, determination and commitment our nominees display as they actively work to create a better future for Western Sydney,” said Professor Kirkpatrick.

“It gives Western Sydney University great pride to be able to share these stories of leadership and celebrate the remarkable achievements of our Women of the West nominees.”

The 16 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 30 years old).

Winners of the Women of the West Awards will be announced on International Women’s Day, Friday 8 March. The awards will be presented in collaboration with the Coleman Greig Women in Business Forum.

As the special guest speaker at the event, the Hon Julie Bishop MP will talk about her extensive career, overcoming challenges as a female leader and the importance of working towards gender balance.

Women of the West nominees for 2019

Woman of the West (Business) Category

Azita Abdollahian

Azita is Director of Bebe’s Hair and Beauty; an Iranian refugee and self-made business woman who actively works to address Women of the West Nominee Azita Abdollahianhomelessness and domestic violence. Azita holds senior leadership positions in three community organisations, and was a recipient of the 2018 Mayoral Commendation as The Hills' Citizen of the Year.

Katrina James

Katrina is Founder of The Westies, a not-for profit organisation focussed on changing the narrative of Western Women of the West nominee Katrina JamesWomen of the West nominee Katrina JamesSydney through art, economy and local storytelling. Katrina coordinates the Westies markets, business, website, blog and Facebook channels and also sits on the board of the Western Sydney Small Business Expo.

Frances Sidarous

Frances is the Senior Property Manager & New Development Sales Manager of Sidarous Realty. Frances is recipient of a number of awards for business acumen, and has undertaken a broad rangeWomen of the West nominee Frances Sidarous of volunteer work to contribute to the Parramatta community.

Woman of the West (Community) Category

Millie Booth

Millie Booth is a Director of both Constructive Workforce Pty Ltd and Precast Elements Pty Ltd. She has held annual fundraisers for Women of the West nominee Millie BoothSave the Farmers and Hope for Cambodian Children, raising over $1 million dollars in support for these events.

Amy Basman

Amy is the volunteer Operations Manager for Mama Lana’s Community Foundation in Penrith. She regularly contributes to all aspects of the Foundation’s activities as it seeks to offer food, facilities and dignity to assistWomen of the West nominee Amy Basmancommunity members experiencing homelessness.

Sally-Ann Eather

Sally-Ann is a current Western Sydney University student. She is a Millennium Fellow and is involved with the United Nations Academic Impact Program to advance the UN Sustainable Development Women of the West nominee Sally-Ann EatherGoals. Sally-Ann is co-designing a program to help reduce University waste and volunteers with a range of community organisations.

Padmini Howpage

Dr Padmini Howpage is the Director of Psychiatry Services at Mind Connections and the Founder of the Positive Vibes Foundation. She has a special interest in Women of the West nominee Padmini Howpagecommunity-based prevention programs.  Her work is focussed on addressing the stigma attached to mental illness.

Amanda Barnes

Amanda is a social worker and has contributed extensively to the development of young people in Penrith, Richmond and the Blue Mountains. She has undertaken extensive volunteer work as an SRE Women of the West nominee Amanda Barnesteacher in primary schools, a safe youth event coordinator, a school-industry partnership mentor, a volunteer with the Red Cross, and across a range of roles with Rotary International.

Polly Grundy

Polly is the Founder of OCAGI (The Mark Grundy Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Group Inc). OCAGI is the only oesophageal cancer charity in Australia, and provides essential awareness, support and research activities targetedWomen of the West nominee Polly Grundy at reducing oesophageal cancer’s impact. Polly also sits on a number of boards, and was the Campbelltown Woman of the Year in 2014.

Jodie Amor

Jodie is the founder of PinkFinss Charity, set up to educate and provide tailored assistance to women and families dealing with cancer in the Hawkesbury. Through PinkFinss, Jodie has raised over $1.2 million in support for her community. She was the Hawkesbury Australia Day Local Volunteer of the Women of the West nominee Jodie AmorYear in 2018.

Young Woman of the West Category

Shardai Jimenez

Shardai is a Western Sydney University graduate and works in the Family Litigation and Care & Protection Unit at Legal Aid NSWWomen of the West nominee Shardai Jimenez She is an advocate for social justice and inclusion, and has dedicated her career to assisting those who are socially and/or economically disadvantaged. Shardai has completed training in crisis support, mental health and suicide prevention and is a volunteer Crisis Support Worker at Lifeline Australia.

Farzana Khan

Farzana is the HR Executive for Fink Group. She is also a current Western Sydney University student ambassador Women of the West nominee Farzana Khanfor the Go Global program and a member of the Student Voice Committee. She has developed a significant number of initiatives in her HR role and has been awarded several rising star awards. Farzana is a committee member of the Australian HR Institute and a consultative member for TAFE NSW.

Sara Mansour

Sara Mansour is the co-founder of the Bankstown Poetry Slam, which empowers young people from Women of the West nominee Sara MansourWestern Sydney to express themselves and tell their own stories through poem. The Slam is regarded as the largest regular spoken-word event in Australia. Sara is also a practicing lawyer and was the Bankstown Woman of the Year in 2017.

Matilda Harry

Matilda is a current Western Sydney University student and a recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Leadership Scholarship. She is an Aboriginal woman from the Hawkesbury region, an Australian Indigenous Mentoring Women of the West nominee Matilda HarryExperience (AIME) mentor, an ambassador/member of the Ngarra National Park Aboriginality Program, and a volunteer for Anglicare Australia and Riding for the Disabled Australia. Matilda has also been a mentor and volunteer in a wide range of other capacities, including Western Sydney University’s Reading Ambassador and Pathways to Dreaming Programs.

Naomi Kroll

Naomi is a current Western Sydney University student and founder of the Plastic Lid Project, an art initiative which engaged over 4,000 community members to recover over 20,000 plastic bottle tops from waterways. Naomi was also co-founder of Women of the West nominee Naomi Krollthe Sock Syndicate, a social enterprise which donated a pair of socks for each pair sold to people experiencing homelessness and made a difference to over 540 community members in Western Sydney.

Hannah Stack

Hannah is the chairperson of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber’s Young Entrepreneur Initiative 'YoHu - Young & Hungry' and a member of the Sydney Hills Business Chamber Board. She is a strong advocate for the Hills/ Western Sydney area and endeavours to empower and educate others through digital marketing knowledge. Hannah actively volunteers and contributes to a broad range of community events.Women of the West nominee Hannah Stack


1 March 2019

Ali Sardyga, Media Officer