The Leadership Award recognises people who have shown exceptional influence or leadership in support of a community, people, group, organisation or cause in Victoria. Nominees will be inspiring people who may have built effective networks, empowered others or coordinated effort, or they may have motivated, encouraged, guided or supported others.

Please find the list of Leadership award winners below:

Cheryl Sculthorp

Ardoch Youth Foundation

With vision and tenacity, Cheryl led a volunteer committee to develop, plan and execute a peer-to-peer fundraising event, Ardoch’s Great Race, raising $40,000 and increasing community awareness of educational disadvantage. Cheryl brought to this project leadership in mobilising other young professionals, strong communication with all stakeholders, business development, and most importantly, energy, passion and commitment.

Susan Cole

Rotary Club of Prahran

Susan’s exceptional leadership and relationship building skills have helped the Rotary Club to play a pivotal role in community support. She shows compassion and empathy, values others’ views, and actively promotes inclusion in membership, community programs and activities. Susan organised a forum on homelessness attended by over 100 stakeholders with an expert panel from five organisations. Susan has also increased club membership, focussing on diversity, helping to make Rotary Prahran “the heart of the community”.

Helen Worcester

Neighbourhood Watch

For 30 years Helen has been the key driver in the development of Neighbourhood Watch in North West Victoria. Her initiatives and stakeholder management have helped improve the level of credibility of Neighbourhood Watch, increasing police support, volunteer and member involvement, funding opportunities and education programs. Helen introduced Junior Neighbourhood Watch in the school curriculum and this program now services more than 600 children in the local area. Helen attends activities, meetings, programs, and functions on a daily basis and travels thousands of kilometres every year for the cause.

Elissa Simmons

Glenroy West Kindergarten

Elissa led the local community to rebuild the kindergarten, ensuring every aspect was covered - planning, payments, meeting tight timelines and government regulations, and coordinating volunteers - all while maintaining a positive attitude. Elissa continues her work today in applying for grants and overseeing new projects. She has developed positive and ongoing relationships with many families and created a lasting legacy for the local community.


Suzanne Crellin

Banyule Community Health- 3081 Angels

Suzanne is a dedicated volunteer leader of the thriving local community project, 3081 Angels. The group supports vulnerable children and families with essential baby goods and access to developmental literacy programs. The group has supported more than 900 families in five years. Suzanne’s astute leadership ensures there is a role for all volunteers to play, such as fixing prams, sorting and washing clothes, and training other volunteers.

Ella Angarane

Bass Coast Breakers Women's Football Club

Ella has been a pioneering leader for females in the Bass Coast region, initially with the introduction of a girls football league, and then a women’s team to provide a pathway for younger players. Players come from disadvantaged and diverse groups, including mothers, Indigenous women and people with disabilities. Through good planning and a sponsorship and grants strategy, Ella has created a sustainable platform with minimal participation barriers.

Jane Crozier

Macedon Ranges and Woodend communities

For more than 35 years, Jane has performed numerous volunteer roles including in aged-care, committee membership, first aid, fundraising and event management, garden maintenance, emergency services, transport, and coordination of many sporting activities. Jane always leads by example, encouraging others to volunteer and contribute to the community.


Maureen Fontana

Office of the Public Advocate

Maureen is a Senior Community Visitor who is a strong role model for other Community Visitors. She visits people with disabilities who live in group homes in the community to make sure their human rights are being upheld and that they remain free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Through her guidance and wisdom, Maureen is able to successfully lead a diverse group of volunteers. She treats all her volunteers with respect, listens to their views and opinions, and actively engages them.

Sally Ritter

Backpacks 4 VIC Kids

Sally provides support for children who are taken into emergency and foster care by providing backpacks with essentials and personal items. Sally’s project has delivered more than 3000 backpacks, raised more than $100,000, grown a volunteer support base, made connections with local businesses and schools to support the project, established an op shop, and raised awareness of the needs of children facing difficult circumstances. Sally regularly visits schools speaking about kindness, empathy, success and choosing to help others.

Clare Gray

Stroke Association of Victoria

Over the past 30 years Clare has assisted with the establishment of 30 Stroke Support Groups across Victoria. She has developed the Association through effective governance and operational work, and was involved in Australia’s first Stroke Support Centres, now in Boroondara and Geelong. Clare has actively led fundraising campaigns to establish new programs and is a certified crisis counsellor. Her commitment has been exceptional, being available 24/7 for stroke survivors in crisis and their families.

Ian Holowko

Manningham Inclusive Community Housing

Ian showed strong leadership when helping to develop a housing project for young people with an intellectual disability in the City of Manningham, bringing together representatives from a corporate entity, a housing provider, carers, government and the local community. Ian was the spokesperson, treasurer, and strategic and business planner of the project, and also developed training and transition programs to prepare people with intellectual disabilities for the opportunities and challenges of living away from home.