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Canberra women shine at ACT Australian Leadership Excellence Awards

HerCanberra Team

Celebrated leaders have been named winners in the ACT Australian Leadership Excellence Awards (ALEAs) in a ceremony last night held at the Canberra Rex Hotel.

Outstanding local women in particular shone brightly with all six categories won by female leaders. Amongst those with their achievements celebrated were Caitrin Dunn, Canberra Partner at PwC Australia, and Nipuni Wijewickrema, Co-Founder of GG’s Flowers and 2014 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year.

Nipuni with her sister GGs Flowers Team.

Nipuni Wijewickrema with her GG’s Flowers Team.

The prestigious national awards series presented by the Institute of Managers and Leaders, has been celebrating outstanding leadership for 28 years, with ALEAs winners being championed by leadership professionals Australia-wide.

This year, 28 Canberra leaders were shortlisted as finalists across several categories including Leader/Manager, Owner/Entrepreneur, Not for Profit, Community Leader, Emerging Leader and Student Leader, reflecting the diverse professional backgrounds of ACT leadership, from the public sector, to small business, to charity organisations. The six winners of the ACT State ALEAs announced in last night’s ceremony include:

  • Caitrin Dunn, Canberra Partner at PwC Australia | Leader/Manager category
  • Fiona Fonti, Managing Director at The Rehabilitation Specialists | Owner/Entrepreneur category
  • Fiona May, CEO of ACT Disability Aged and Carer Advocacy Services | Not For Profit category
  • Nipuni Wijewickrema, Co-Founder of GG’s Flowers | Community Leader category
  • Hannah Wandel (pictured) IMLa, CEO and Founder of Country to Canberra | Emerging Leader category
  • Louise Blessington, Student at Australia National University | Student Leader category

“The results of the ACT ALEAs clearly illustrate that leadership in the nation’s capital isn’t found solely in the corridors of Parliament House,” said David Pich, Chief Executive of the Institute of Managers and Leaders. “The ACT has a breadth and depth of outstanding leaders. These are Australians who contribute to the expansion of the local economy, service the community through small business and inspire others through their work with innovative not-for-profits.”

The winner of the Community Leader award, Nipuni Wijewickrema whose business GG’s Flowers looks to empower those with special needs, including her sister Gayana, humbly accepted the award.

The 2016 Young Australian of the Year finalist said, “This award isn’t really about me, it’s about my employees that all have special needs. They really love the opportunity to have meaningful work and I’m just so honoured to be able to provide them with a platform, but also a platform via [the Australian Leadership Excellence Awards] to talk about our business and hopefully one day go national.”

Winner of the Manager/Leader award for her leadership excellence as a Partner at PwC, Caitrin Dunn said, “I have a new platform to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workforce, to talk genuinely about the wonderful work we do in the Canberra business market supporting the Federal government to transform services, and the responsibility we have as very privileged individuals living and working in Canberra with educated backgrounds to make a difference to our community on a daily basis.”

The ACT State winners were judged and awarded from a shortlisted group of 28 exceptional local leaders including Kate Driver, Deputy Director and General Manager of Operations at Questacon, and Ingrid Tomanovits, Licensee and Lead Organiser at TEDxCanberra.

The winners from ACT’s awards ceremony will become finalists in the National ALEAs Finals, to be celebrated in a gala dinner ceremony in October at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth.

Click here for more information on the awards.

Feature image: Martin Ollman


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