2022 NSW Woman of Excellence Award
A role model, who has excelled in her chosen field. In doing so, she affects lasting change and is an inspiration to others.
Dr Jill Duncan
Jill Duncan is an academic, advisor, volunteer and mentor dedicated to improving outcomes for people with a disability.
Having lived with conductive hearing loss since early adolescence, Dr Duncan instigated the Universal Newborn Screening Hearing program, which screens every baby for deafness at birth. The decrease in the age of diagnosis saw an increase in outcomes for deaf children in Australia.
Dr Duncan developed Australia’s first remote learning program for deaf children, which served as a model for many other programs to provide regional, rural, and remote deaf children with targeted support.
She is currently the Deputy Chair of the Disability Council NSW, a non-executive director of Aussie Deaf Kids, an editor-in-chief of Deafness & Education International, and a respite foster carer.
Licia Heath is striving to create gender parity in all levels of Australian government as the CEO of Women for Election Australia (WEA).
In 2019, Ms Heath was motivated to change the inequality in gender representation on NSW councils, and joined WEA as its inaugural CEO the same year.
Ms Heath has since inspired thousands of women to consider careers in politics. WEA has grown to have over 1,900 registrations for their events.
Ms Heath also started the 2000 by 2022 and #lookslikeapolitician campaigns, aiming to change perceptions around politicians.
Partnering with Politics in Colour, WEA is now focusing on supporting Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse women to take up leadership positions.
Kylie Pussell is the CEO and co-founder of Miracle Babies Foundation, working to provide vital services and resources to families with a premature or sick baby.
Mrs Pussell has been working to develop and expand peer support services for families in need of support and community. Inspired by her own experiences, she is motivated to create spaces for babies and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness.
Recently, Miracle Babies has developed Nurture E, an information hub that shares new findings from long-term research.
Mrs Pussell is also an advocate for paid parental leave for families with a premature or sick baby. She considers compassion for these families to be important in improving outcomes for both babies and families.
Professor Julie Redfern - Winner
Julie Redfern is a Professor of Public Health and a Research Academic Director at the University of Sydney, who is transforming the way patients are supported and cared for after a heart attack.
Prof Redfern’s research found gaps and inequities in the field of cardiovascular disease rehabilitation. Her subsequent text-messaging research has been delivered to over 10,000 patients globally.
Prof Redfern is the author of almost 200 scientific manuscripts, a presenter in over 20 countries, and the most published Australian on cardiac rehabilitation secondary prevention and text messaging.
Having supervised and mentored more than 50 students, Prof Redfern was awarded a Vice Chancellors Award for Leadership and Mentoring at Sydney University and a NSW Tall Poppy Award.
Prof Veena Sahajwalla
Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer, and inventor, who is revolutionising recycling science.
As Founding Director at the UNSW Sustainable Materials Research and Technology Centre, Prof Sahajwalla is renowned for pioneering ‘green steel,’ which uses recycled tyres in steel production.
Prof Sahajwalla led the $3.3 million ARC Hub Microrecycling of Battery and Consumer Wastes, and now leads the $149 million Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub.
As a dedicated advocate for women in science, Prof Sahajwalla created the Science 50:50 program. With participants from over 50 schools nationally the program, which inspires girls and young women to pursue careers in science and technology, has funded 28 university scholarships.
In 2022 Prof Sahajwalla was named NSW Australian of the Year.