The Leadership Award recognises people who have shown exceptional influence or leadership in support of a community, people, group, organisation or cause in Victoria.
Bartlomiej Kolodziejczyk

Scientists in Residence Ltd.

Bartlomiej’s extraordinary leadership has enabled him to create two successful not-for-profit organisations that open up students to STEM opportunities and have so far provided more than 100 related internships. Bartlomiej is a true connector, partnering with government and industry to deliver events like Melbourne Knowledge Week. His international professional experience and educational background helps him overcome any challenge.

Deidre Bidmade

Warrnambool and District Community Hospice Inc.

Deidre’s passion to improve end of life care in the Warrnambool community led to the development of the Hospice in the Home program. Thanks to her unwavering commitment, families caring for a dying relative at home can now be helped in this difficult time by volunteers trained through the program. Deidre’s devotion to helping families manage such difficult experiences is an inspiration to all who meet her.

Elvis Martin

Melbourne City Mission, R U OK Day, Council of Homeless Persons, National Youth Commission

An empowering voice for young people with disadvantaged lives, Elvis draws on personal experience to help parents accept their children as part of the LGBTIQ+ community. His advocacy knows no bounds on issues including mental health, domestic violence, homelessness and suicide prevention. Humble and inspiring, Elvis has a rare ability to make people feel great about themselves.

Franco Scalzo

Manningham Inclusive Community Housing and Doncaster All Abilities Basketball

Indispensable to so many community activities over 20 years, Franco’s volunteer work has focused on bringing groups together to create appropriate housing for people with disabilities, as well as engaging people in the Doncaster All Abilities Basketball competition. His calmness, strong work ethic and integrity has brought enjoyment and social justice to hundreds of people with a disability.

Irene Kelly

Knox City Council and Knox Environment Society

Thanks to Irene’s dedication and drive, and supported by a team of Gardens for Wildlife volunteers, almost 800 households in Knox have now planted indigenous species to encourage local wildlife. The program Irene created with Knox City Council 12 years ago is such a success it is now replicated by other councils in the eastern suburbs. Irene has worked tirelessly to achieve this vision and continues to inspire many others to join her journey.

Kevin O’Callaghan

Craigieburn War Memorial and Remembrance Committee, State Emergency Service and Community Emergency Response Team

Volunteering for over 40 years, Kevin’s list of ‘firsts’ include leading the development of Victoria’s initial Community Emergency Response Team in Craigieburn; initiating a local ANZAC Day service that now attracts over 3,000 people. Kevin has served as a State Emergency Service (SES) controller  and led the formation of Victoria’s first SES Museum. Kind and collaborative, Kevin is an inspirational mentor for many local community groups.

Nicki Gobbo

Brighton Playroom Inc.

The volunteer-run Brighton Playroom is thriving thanks to Nicki’s skilled and selfless leadership. Since saving the not-for-profit centre from closure three years ago, Nicki has introduced transformational changes – from strengthening child safety policies to finding ways to help disadvantaged families. Practical and passionate, Nicki has created a true community hub for successive generations of children and families.

Nika Suwarsih

Indonesian Women's Friendship Network

For more than 10 years Nika has helped many migrant mothers and their children feel at home in Australia through her diligent and creative work with multicultural women's programs in south-eastern Melbourne. Educated in everything from hospitality to psychology and yoga, Nika’s outgoing character and remarkable ability to organise and engage have generated life-changing opportunities for hundreds of women and their families.

Shillar Sibanda

Africa Day Australia Inc.

Shillar’s capacity to relate to people from all walks of life and backgrounds makes her immensely effective in helping address social issues faced by African Australian communities, and build and celebrate their many successes. Shillar’s work is as diverse as supporting health activities through to creating an annual Gala Dinner. Visionary and strategic, Shillar’s passion is community, and it shows in all she does.