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

Thanks to Mo’s generosity in sharing his first aid knowledge and experience, the engagement and retention of St John Ambulance volunteers has vastly improved in the six years he has served. Throughout this time, he has led by example, volunteering his considerable skills at countless public events. Always open and enthusiastic, Mo makes it his priority to offer every volunteer encouragement and support, which ultimately ensures St John continues to provide the best possible service to people who need it most.

John Forrester

For more than 30 years, John has never lost focus on the vision to create a healthier Werribee River catchment. He continues to work tirelessly for a stronger Werribee River Association and encourage people to contribute to its role as a waterway protector. His commitment has always been diverse, from managing the organisation to conducting citizen science on water quality and forming alliances to protect wildlife. Thanks to John’s ongoing influence, the association now has more than 400 volunteers dedicated to ensuring the Werribee River is a place of beauty, refuge and life.

Lucy Donaldson

Dynamic, driven and kind, Lucy has provided strategic leadership at Lord Somers Camp and Powerhouse for almost 20 years. As the Executive Officer on the week-long Big Camp programs, she oversees the timetable, communications, venues and meal service for more than 330 people, six times a day. A natural mentor and coach, Lucy has contributed to essential leadership roles – from running camps for newly arrived Syrian, Afghan and Sudanese teenagers to those designed to develop the skills of future volunteer leaders. Her boundless humour, optimism and creativity bring people together to continuously enrich the Victorian community.

Batul Fatima Gulani

Community worker, psychotherapist and charity director, Batul believes in communities working together to create social change. Her selfless dedication and determination are essential to her role helping Shi’a Muslim communities integrate into and enrich the broader Australian community. As co-founder and chairperson of the AMAFHH Federation, Batul oversees the Shi’a Muslim charity’s efforts to help people of all backgrounds address problems including family violence, marginalisation and social disadvantage. Known affectionately as Aunty Batul, she particularly focuses on empowering women and young people to lead in society with resilience and confidence.

Kerrigan La-Brooy

Kerrigan puts boundless energy, respect and devotion into making sure the Gethsemane Church Charity he founded continues to provide food and clothes for vulnerable people in the broader Berwick community. Forever compassionate and charismatic, Kerrigan launches into everything, from stocking the food pantry for 130 families to do their weekly shop to starting a music/singing/dancing class for children whose parents can’t afford lessons, or creating a Christmas giving program so disadvantaged children can celebrate the holiday season.

Sandra Jacobs

The smallest things can often make a big difference to people’s lives, especially when they are struggling. This kind of deep understanding and compassion led Sandra to start the Nappy Collective – a charity that diverts leftover nappies from landfill to families in need. In 2013, Sandra found seven nappies her baby had outgrown and realised how precious these would be to women arriving with just the clothes on their backs and a child in their arms. She called friends, word spread, and they collected 1,500 nappies. Since then the charity has collected almost three million donated nappies – and continues to be driven by Sandra’s tenacious passion to lighten the load for disadvantaged families.

Gary Lee

Forever devoted to volunteering, Gary has committed his life to giving back – connecting communities through platforms like sport, performing arts, music and fashion. Gary never switches off. He constantly finds inventive ways to encourage more people to support causes and bring visibility to the diverse groups he works with, including Welcoming Australia, Bully Zero Australia Foundation, the AFL Community Multicultural Program and Melbourne Victory. Whether he is helping sick children, students or refugees, Gary’s passion is always for people.

Khayshie Tilak Ramesh

Pioneer of youth advocacy, regional representation and cultural diversity in Bendigo, Khayshie lives by her mantra – the worst thing anyone can say is no. Passionate about her city’s success, Khayshie is the Bendigo Food Share Multicultural Ambassador, sits on various city and regional boards, and her first decision as Youth Mayor of Bendigo was to establish a youth council so young people can influence policy. Khayshie is the Victorian Multicultural Youth Commissioner, an inaugural Joan Kirner Young and Emerging Woman Leader and a Top100 Future Leader of Australia, proving her inexhaustible dedication to creating positive change in her community and beyond.

Shaoying Xu

Shaoying’s decade of contribution to the social and cultural vigour associated with the Xin Jin Shan Chinese Library is remarkable. As library director and curator, he motivated 95 elderly Australian Chinese to become library volunteers, encouraging them to overcome language and cultural barriers along the way. Under Shaoying’s leadership the library collection has increased from less than 2,000 items to more than 100,000 today. He has also enabled almost 1,000 multicultural events that involved over 12,000 people. Now aged 86, Shaoying continues to dedicate his extraordinary insights and experience to the library and the diverse community it serves.