Peter Shergold • Chancellor of Western Sydney University
“The ZEST Awards are an annual reminder of the positive impact that community organisations have had in Western Sydney throughout the year.I am proud to be an Ambassador.” – Peter Shergold
Professor Peter Shergold has been the Chancellor of Western Sydney University since January 2011; his term was recently extended to December 2020.
Peter’s career is preceded by his distinguished academic path. In the Australian Public Service, Peter was a CEO for two decades, establishing the Office of Multicultural Affairs; he later served for five years as Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
In the not-for-profit field, Peter has been chair of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, deputy chair of the Sydney Writers’ Festival and patron of the Left-Right Think Tank. He was CEO of the Centre for Social Impact from 2008-2011 and is now its chair.
He is Chair of the Forum on Western Sydney Airport, Opal Aged Care, the National Centre for Vocational Educational Research (NCVER) and Higher Education Standards Panel (HESP). In 2014, Peter was appointed as Coordinator General for Refugee Resettlement in NSW.
Aunty Carol Cooper • Outstanding Community Leader ZEST Award Winner, 2012
“ZEST showcases ordinary people that do work from the grass roots. I was so excited to be awarded the trophy for Community Volunteer in 2012 – it meant a lot to me to be recognised. That’s what ZEST is all about – letting people know that someone notices their work. I’m pleased to be part of ZEST Ambassadors Program” –Aunty Carol Cooper
Aunty Carol Cooper has been the backbone of the reconciliation movement in the Blue Mountains for the past 20 years. She is a descendant of both the Gundungura people and the Darug people and generously shares her culture and understandings with a wide range of people from schools, community organisations and communities. She is a founding member of Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre (ACRC) and long term member of Blue Mountains People for Reconciliation.
Aunty Carol’s contribution is extensive and not limited to her own people. As well as volunteering for the ACRC, she also assists at Great Community Transport, Katoomba North School Koori Club, Upper Mountains Basketball Association and the Katoomba Winter Magic Festival. Aunty Carol is part of the Blue Mountains East Timor Sister’s project and was an invited delegate to the second International Women for Peace Conference in Dili, Timor-Leste in 2009.
David Borger • Western Sydney Director, Sydney Business Chamber
“I am delighted to be representing the Sydney Business Chamber Western Sydney as Ambassador for the 2014 ZEST Awards. There are many champions working in the community sector; champions who work with passion and with commitment, achieving outstanding results. These people should be recognised. The diversity of nominations received from all areas of Western Sydney is a fantastic acknowledgement and will help to enhance the positive image of our region. I congratulate the Western Sydney Community Forum, WESTIR and TRI Community Exchange for this initiative.” – David Borger
David was appointed by the Chamber in 2012 as inaugural Western Sydney Director of the Sydney Business Chamber.
A regional leader, David works with members and decision-makers to advocate for enlightened public policy that drives the region forward.
David has led campaigns in support of the Western Sydney Airport, the Western Sydney Airport Alliance, the Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta, Westmead and Liverpool Innovation Districts, Parramatta Light Rail and West Metro.
Previously, David served in the NSW Labor Government as the Minister for Roads, Minister for Housing, and Minister for Western Sydney. Aged 30, David was the youngest person to hold the office of Lord Mayor of Parramatta, in which he served for three terms.
David is currently a Director of Think Planners and serves as a non-executive director on the Boards of the Sydney Festival, Evolve Housing, Westmead Medical Research Foundation and on the advisory board of the Southern Cross Group.
“You don’t need money to make real change, just passion, resilience and a healthy amount of will power and sense of purpose. As a previous ZEST award winner myself, I am extremely appreciative for the opportunities and network connections that I was able to develop as a direct result of this inspiring organisation. It is a true honour to now be an ambassador for an organisation that actively celebrates the wonderful achievements of the Western Sydney community.” – Jen Armstrong
Jen Armstrong is the 2016 NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year and Cronulla Woman of the Year, a ZEST Award Winner, The Beauty Bank founder, Western Sydney University student, Executive Officer of the MARCS Institute, Mum and foster carer. A survivor of domestic violence, Jennifer is also a popular leadership speaker, motivating and educating others on the effects of domestic violence and the power of resilience, including the ways in which everyone can change someone else’s world with little effort. The Beauty Bank is a registeredcharity that has made a huge difference in elevating the outlook of women in need, by collecting toiletries and other beauty products and distributing them as gift packs. Jen also currently sits on the NSW Government’s Corporate Leadership Advisory Group, which aims to address domestic and family violence from a workplace setting. Jen is the example of how an innovative student with determination and entrepreneurial spirit can change our world.
“The ZEST Awards allows organisations and our community to celebrate success in every sense of the word. The values of the human spirit and helping people achieve their goals with dignity exemplify the real meaning of these prestigious awards. Congratulations and may they always continue.” – Jim Taggart
Jim’s career began as a teacher and Deputy Principal of a Catholic High School. Subsequently, he entered the financial services industry, now providing financial adviser soft-skill training and education and regularly speaking at conferences and seminars, in Australia and internationally.
In 2012 and 2013 respectively, Jim was appointed Adjunct Professor with Notre Dame University, Australia and Western Sydney University. He is actively involved in community activities, including the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal and Local Chambers of Commerce. Currently, Jim is Chairman of Mentor Education, and Chairman of APIC, a leading international educational organization. He is Deputy Chairman of Regional Development Australia for Sydney and sits on three separate council bodies in Western Sydney.
“The ZEST Awards promote Western Sydney’s assets, diversity, passion, creativity and innovation. As a previous ZEST award winner, I am truly honoured to have developed strong networks and now be an ambassador for an organisation that actively supports and celebrates our community’s excellence, achievements and stories.” – Matilda Harry
Matilda, a proud Wiradjuri woman, is devoted to increasing the educational opportunities and independence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities across health, employment, policy and reform sectors. She is a high achieving Master of Education student at Western Sydney University and will soon undertake research to empower and make meaningful change for all Australians, particularly First Nations communities. Matilda’s ongoing involvement with First Nations communities has led her to work in grassroots and peak body initiatives and institutions across local, state and national platforms.
Cen Amores • Founding President, Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations
“Volunteering is an ideal platform to reach out to the vulnerable and isolated people, engaging with them and supporting them while they are on the road to gaining self-confidence and a sense of empowerment.” – Dr Cen Amores
Cen‘s career spans over 40 years in teaching, guidance and counselling, employment services and community development. She is founding president of the dominant state body, Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc, President of Auburn Small Community Organisation Network Inc, Membership Development Chair of the multi-awarded Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd and served as a Board Member for Ethnic Communities Council of NSW.
Multiply-awarded and publicly recognised for her distinguished work as a community leader, capacity builder and Ambassador, Cen’s tireless endeavours promote social cohesion, inclusion and equality, in the hope that all people will one day live in peace and harmony. Cen derives most satisfaction in helping those in need and advocating for those who don’t have a voice. In retirement, Cen spends time volunteering in Filipino-Australian and CALD communities.
“I am delighted to be involved in an Awards ceremony that celebrates one of the most diverse and dynamic regions in Australia. I congratulate all ZEST Awards nominees for the role that they play in making Western Sydney a thriving, progressive community. I congratulate all of those involved in staging this initiative and look forward to being a part of the celebrations.” – Lyall Gorman
Mr Lyall Gorman is CEO of Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. He has over 35 years’ experience in senior management, project management and administration, in both the public and private sectors. In 2004 he became founding CEO and subsequently Executive Chairman of the Central Coast Mariners – one of eight clubs in the new national football competition, the Hyundai A-League. In 2010, Mr Gorman was appointed by Football Federation Australia as Head of the Hyundai A-League, and in 2012 became founding Executive Chairman of the Western Sydney Wanderers. In 2014 he was appointed as Group CEO of Cronulla Sutherland Sharks.
Mr Gorman is currently a Director at NSW Business Chamber – key portfolio Western Sydney; Chairman at Parramatta Parklands Trust; Chairman at Western Sydney University – Centre for Research Advisory Board and Ambassador for SportsConnect. He is engaged as a mentor for emerging business leaders and is a engaged to speak authoritatively in areas such as Leadership, Brand Development and Fan Engagement. Mr Gorman is also a Director for Cricket NSW.
Irene Ross • Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women
“I am very proud to be an Ambassador of the ZEST Awards and look forward to promoting the great work that is being done by the community sector and all who work in it. I commend the ZEST Awards for providing a platform where our people and community groups can be celebrated.” – Irene Ross
Irene Ross is a consultant with many years of experience, working in both the community and private sectors and specialising in business growth, coaching, leadership development and events.
Irene is the BPW Australia NSW Representative, BPW Coordinator Global Compact Network Australia, Member of TAFE NSW- Western Sydney Institute Advisory Council, Facilitator Asian Australian Alliance and a member of the Western Sydney Collective Leadership Group, supporting collaboration between business, government, community organisations and academia to achieve better social and economic outcomes for people in Western Sydney.
Prior to establishing Irene Ross & Associates, Irene managed services targeting migrants; previously she sat on key committees, including Minister for Immigration Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council (RRAC) and International Organisation for Migration.
“ZEST documents the often unseen and not always well recognised work that happens daily across our communities in Western Sydney. This work makes a profound difference to the lives of many people and also strengthens many diverse local communities.
I am delighted to be able to promote and support the year round efforts of ZEST to ensure that these stories of skilled and creative local workers, interesting and diverse local communities, innovative local agencies and many dedicated volunteers are documented and most importantly celebrated!
As a former WSCF Board member I recall a discussion at a Board meeting some 10 years ago about ZEST. Although ZEST was affirmed and encouraged I know that we didn’t imagine ZEST would become such a well-supported and highly regarded program that everyone in Western Sydney wants to be a part of!” – Pam Batkin
Pam Batkin has been CEO of Woodville Alliance since May 2010. Since then WA has developed new services and has expanded into new communities in response to community need. WA is also currently undertaking a number of innovative projects, including a number of social enterprises such as a digital employment business for school leavers with a disability. For the last few years WA has also been involved in a local campaign to reduce gambling harm and has participated in several local projects to educate and support local agencies and the community to be part of this campaign.
With extensive experience in leadership and senior management in the community sector and in local government, Pam was Chair of the Board of the peak Western Sydney policy and advocacy organisation, Western Sydney Community Forum for four years until 2020. Pam was also the President of the Board of the NSW community services, peak body, the Council of Social Services of NSW (NCOSS) from 2006 to 2010. These state and regional leadership roles reflect Pam’s strong professional commitment to social justice and to work at all levels for a fairer society.
“l am because We are… together we can make a difference.” – Oliver Zvinaiye Maboreke
Oliver Zvinaiye Maboreke is a development practitioner of extensive experience, including in international development, youth work, community education and training. As Project Officer – Refugees, New and Emerging, at Western Sydney University, Oliver collaborates with new and emerging communities and stakeholders to promote access to higher education and scholarships; he created UniCampFire Chats – a successful refugee student-retention program. Originally from Zimbabwe, Oliver is actively involved as a leader with the Zimbabwean community, working with young people in community safety, wellbeing, mental health, sports and recreation, and music. He works on various community development initiatives, with Forward in Faith Ministries International.
Oliver works with the African-Australian community as an African Think Tank Board member and is a member of the AFAO National Reference Group on HIV/AIDS in Australia; he is currently also actively involved with the Sydney Alliance. Oliver has devoted much of his life to promoting an inclusive, respectful and consultative approach for Australian CALD Communities.
Oliver is actively involved with the Zimbabwean community as a leader working with young people in areas of mental health, Youth sports and recreation, as well as sexual health. He also works on various community development initiatives run through Forward in Faith Ministries International Western Sydney and NSW at large.
He is also involved with the African-Australian community as African Think Tank Board member and is a member of the AFAO National Reference Group on HIV/AIDS in Australia. Oliver has also held various roles with the Victoria Multicultural Commission, ECCV and is currently actively involved with the Sydney Alliance. Throughout his selfless community oriented work, Oliver has devoted much of his life at promoting an inclusive, respectful and consultative approach for the Australian CALD Community. One of the highlights of his community work has been a part of the pioneering African Think Tank team to initiate the first African – Australian leadership Training program, which has been running since 2009.
“Often individuals and organisations give so much to the community without recognition. The ZEST Awards are about recognising best practice, innovation and hard work in Greater Western Sydney.” – Mary Haiek
Mary Haiek has worked for BarnardosAustralia for 16 years, most of these in the Auburn Children’s Family Centre, in Western Sydney, NSW. She has worked directly with children, young people and families as well as managed a Family Support and Preservation program and Transitional Accommodation programs. In the last 7 years, Mary has held the position of Centre Manager at the Centre as well as extensive experience in serving on Management Boards of non-government organisations. Mary has worked in social welfare for more than 25 years and has a Bachelor of Social Work degree (Syd Uni). Mother of 2 teenage boys, Mary is passionate about her work and that of Barnardos – she strives to ensure better outcomes for children, young people and families.
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Luke Penrith belongs to the Wiradjuri, Wotjobaluk, Yuin and Gumbaynggirr Nations of South Eastern Australia. He lives and works on his Grandmother’s country which is Wiradjuri country – the biggest Tribe in NSW. He is father to four deadly boys and a baby girl.
Luke is proud to look back on 15 years of work in Indigenous Affairs, in sporting, legal, employment and training industries. He is the owner of savvypennylink; a small business that he finds both challenging and rewarding. Through this, Luke shares his culture, community and family achievements with the wider community.
He passionate about being able to give back to communities through his work and business.