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Saturday, January 23, 2021

One month left to nominate ACT Woman of the Year 2021

ACT Minister for Women Yvette Berry is calling on the Canberra community to nominate women who make a positive difference to the lives of other female-identifying people across the Territory for the ACT Women’s Awards 2021. 

Ms Berry said the annual awards were an opportunity for remarkable women to be publicly celebrated and acknowledged.

“Previous award winners and nominees have made great positive impacts in the ACT including empowering young women to study STEM, advocating for gender equality in the trade industry, supporting new mothers at risk of homelessness, improving the status of women with disability and supporting female soccer coaches,” she said.

2020 ACT Woman of the Year Cindy Mitchell. Image: Kerrie Brewer.

Cindy Mitchell reflects on the year that was

Last year’s winner, 2020 ACT Woman of the Year Cindy Mitchell, took out the title for her innovative work supporting women in the ACT to succeed in the business world.  

Ms Mitchell is the founder of Mill House Ventures, Canberra’s first dedicated social enterprise business development consultancy.

In 2019, the year leading up to her nomination, Ms Mitchell supported a network of over 100 women change makers, entrepreneurs, and women-led startups, which provided indirect benefit to over 1,000 women in the region.

Before Mill House Ventures, she led No Sweat Fashions, an ethical clothing enterprise that taught migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to sew and produce clothing in collaboration with local designers.

Despite her inspiring CV, Ms Mitchell said she was initially unsure about being nominated for the prestigious award.

“Perhaps like a lot of women, I believe that hard work is its own reward,” she said.

“I admit that I felt uncomfortable with being nominated at first with a massive case of ‘imposter syndrome’. But I’m so glad I persisted!”

Reflecting on the year, Ms Mitchell said being ACT Woman of the Year gave her work momentum and inspired local communities.

“The platform and opportunities as ACT Woman of the Year have been the wind in my sails in an otherwise challenging year.

“I’ve had so many women of colour and migrants to Australia especially come up to me and say how much it meant to them that ‘we won’. It makes me proud.”

How to make a nomination for the 2021 awards

There are a few guidelines to be aware of before setting the wheels in motion to nominate someone for the 2021 ACT Women’s Awards.

Firstly, it’s not possible to nominate a co-worker or boss – there must be no financial links between nominator and nominee.

Nominees must be living or working in the ACT and cannot be an ACT Government employee.

Before submitting a nomination, Canberrans are encouraged to reflect on how their nominee has demonstrated an outstanding contribution to improve the status and lives of women and girls in the ACT.

Given the gendered impact of COVID-19 on female identifying communities across the region, nominators may wish to include information about how the nominee’s work has supported women and girls during the pandemic.

Judges also want to know how many women or girls have been impacted by the nominee’s work, and whether it has a long-lasting effect.

Nominations for ACT Woman of the Year, Young Woman of the Year and Senior Woman of the Year 2021 will close 5pm 10 February 2021.

Woman of the Year Cindy Mitchell, ACT Minister for Women Yvette Berry, Young Woman of the Year Shiralee Sankey and Senior Woman of the Year Dr Helen Watchirs at the 2020 ACT Women’s Awards ceremony (pictured left to right). Image supplied.

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts