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The annual Kingston Woman of the Year Award celebrates the outstanding contribution that women in Kingston make to industry, community, and society.

Nominees of this award are women who are leaders in their field, who inspire others and who make a difference to our community through their exceptional professional or personal achievements. Award winners are announced each year at Kingston’s International Women’s Day ceremony in March.

Nominations for the 2022 awards will open on 1 October. Please keep an eye on our website for details or contact Community Projects Officer, Nishtha Goel on 9581 4648 or


2021 Award Recipients

Kingston Woman of the Year
Woman-of-the-Year-winner-Simone Hardham.jpg

Simone Hardham

Simone has dedicated much of her life to support and serve communities through volunteering, fundraising and campaigning. She works full-time, is a mum, President of a neighbourhood centre and founder of a non-profit organisation. Mindful Makings Inc delivers services that positively impacts the lives of those challenged by compromised mental health or seclusion.


Lifetime Award
Woman-of-the-Year-Lifetime-award-Joan Bradd.jpg

Joan Bradd

Joan is a long serving Member of Scouts Victoria, and the Kingston District. She also established the Dingley Scout Group. She started at Phillip Girls Club which in 1988 became part of Aspendale Scout Group. In over 40 years of service, she has held many positions including District Commissioner Kingston District and State Commissioner of Training.


Honourable Mentions

Arna O’Connell

Arna is dedicated to the field of community development, working as both a volunteer and in management of Cheltenham Community Centre, and previously at Mordialloc Community Centre. She works tirelessly and passionately to ensure thelocal community is provided with quality programs that connect people with each other and respond to community need.

Megan King

Megan is a single, working mum who has created a local group for the carers of children with special needs. During the Covid lockdown, she utilised a grant to send out care packages. Megan’s Facebook group ‘Autism & Special Needs – Melbourne’ connects over 1,500 families to local services and support. She is passionate about anti-bullying.

Vanessa Heredia

A local Mum of 3 kids, Vanessa was inspired by her children to become involved in the community, supporting those less fortunate. With her husband Vance and a dedicated team of volunteers, she established Chelsea Community Christmas Lunch bringing hope and love to so many who are alone. Vanessa coordinates across churches, schools & businesses to ensure a memorable Christmas Day for all.

2021 Nominees

24 inspiring women were nominated for Kingston Woman of the Year Award 2021 who have made a significant contribution to Kingston community. We acknowledged and celebrated their achievements at Kingston’s International Women’s Day ceremony in March.

List of 2021 Nominees


To be eligible for the Kingston Woman of the Year Award, nominated individuals must:

  • Be a woman or individual who identifies as female;
  • Be aged 16 years and above;
  • Live, work or study within the City of Kingston; and
  • Have made an outstanding contribution to our community whose achievements positively influence the changing social, environmental or business landscape and make them leaders (or emerging leaders) in their field.

Nomination categories

Individuals are nominated for Kingston Woman of the Year Award under one of the following categories:

  • Courageous Commitment: This category is for women who are dedicated to making a difference to the health, wellbeing, safety and/or sustainability of our community through advocacy, campaigning, fundraising and/or thought-leadership.
  • Excelling in Arts and Sport: This category is for women using their sporting and/or creative talents to represent, motivate and inspire our community.
  • Inspiring Innovation: This category is for women who are leaders in Business, Economics, Politics and/or an Entrepreneur.
  • Success in STEM: This category is for women who are excelling in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Independent referee check

All nominations are required to be supported by one independent referee.

Referee Eligibility:

  • Referee should be independent of the nominee and nominator
  • Someone who has had close involvement with the nominee during their service or is able to comment directly on the nature and impact of their achievements
  • For all eligible nominations received, Council staff will contact the referee to provide a Letter of Support for their respective nominee. 

Selection process

For all eligible nominations received, Council staff will contact the referee to provide a Letter of Support for their respective nominee. Nominees may be required to undertake further checks, which may be used to assist in the determination of the Award.

Once nominations have closed, the selection panel will consider all eligible entries against the assessment criteria and select a winner. 

The selection panel consists of the Mayor and fellow Councillors of the City of Kingston.

Assessment criteria

In choosing the recipient of the Kingston Woman of the Year Award, nominees will be assessed according to the following assessment criteria:

  • Significance and impact of contributions made;
  • Demonstrated level of commitment to the betterment of the Kingston community;
  • Degree of difficulty of the achievement and sacrifices made;
  • Nature and length of activity or service;
  • Future goals and likely impact on the Kingston community;
  • Previous awards and recognition received;
  • Demonstrated excellence in their field;
  • Personal attributes of the nominee such as being an inspirational/positive role model for their peers, overcoming adversity, showing vision, leadership, innovation and creativity;
  • Personal, academic and professional achievements; and/or
  • Individuals must indicate whether their contribution was in the course of employment, voluntary or both.
  • Nominees may be required to undertake further checks, which may be used to assist in the determination of the Award.

Previous winners

Winner of Kingston's Woman of the Year Award 2020
 Woman-of-the-year-June-R.jpg June Rea

June is a dedicated volunteer with The Office of the Public Advocate’s Community Visitors program. She works tirelessly to ensure the human rights of the more vulnerable in the community are upheld. Her tenacious advocacy has resulted in positive impacts on the lives of residents in terms of both living conditions and lifestyle.

Winner of Kingston's Woman of the Year Award 2019
Woman-of-the-Year-Emma-G.jpg Emma Gierschick

Emma uses her own experience as a family violence and cancer survivor plus parent of a disabled child to advocate for increased support, information and awareness in the community. Recognised by the Australian Financial review as one of the top 100 Women of Influence in 2018, Emma has been a leading voice presenting to parliament, the Royal Commission into Family Violence and is a sought-after advisor to MPs, service providers and local government – including Kingston Council where she serves on the Kingston’s Family Violence Working Group.