2019 Women Will Change The World Award finalists


Melanie Tate – Puddle Jumpers Inc

Melanie Tate is the CEO and Founder of an award winning charitable organisation making life changing differences for society’s most vulnerable children. Melanie manages approximately 650 volunteers and employees. Melanie and Puddle Jumpers provide services to children, primarily those who do not live with their birth parents. Puddle Jumpers runs camps and activity days that give children who may never have been away a holiday, and provides food, clothing and household items weekly at their Community Food Nights. Puddle Jumpers has two op shops as well as owning a children’s birthday party hire company. Melanie started Puddle Jumpers 7 years ago from her kitchen table and since then the organisation has moved into premises owned by the Department of Child Protection with support from the government and private and public sponsors, including both the Minister for Child Protection, Rachel Sanderson MP and Shadow Minister Jayne Stinson MP.



Emma Price – Source Kids

Emma Price is the founder and CEO of Source Kids – Australia’s only magazine, digital media and events business for parents and carers of children living with a disability. Emma founded the business five years ago through her own frustrations as a special needs parent navigating the world of disability.

Source Kids delivers relevant, reliable and up-to-date information in a positive and vibrant way to over 300,000 parents every month, creating a community for parents to share the highs and lows of raising a child with a disability. Source Kids has built its community through a multi-faceted approach including a quarterly glossy magazine, website, email, social media and most recently it’s expo events.



Sandra Spadanuda – Blue Beanie Projects

Sandra has worked in Social Services for 21 years. She currently works full-time as a Senior Youth Justice Officer with the WA State Government; is Co-Owner, and Director of Marketing, Communications and PR of Soul Café; and is Co-Founder of Blue Beanie Projects Limited, a Pilbara based organization aimed at; increasing regional young people’s access to professional, ethical and sustainable youth services; and to increase young people’s social and emotional wellbeing, self esteem and connection to community.

Sandra is extremely passionate about improving the social and emotional wellbeing of young people, reducing rates of youth suicide, and advocating for increased access to services and resources for young people in regional areas. In her spare time she volunteers at youth programs, sits on various Boards, and is a Foster Carer, having cared for some of the state’s most vulnerable children and young people.



Megan McLoughlin – Herd of Hope Ltd

Megan McLoughlin is the found of ‘Herd of Hope’ using her own personal experiences after receiving a double transplant. The charity identifies a number of regional people affected by organ donation. Both donor families and recipients a like. Providing much needed services no matter where you live. Megan is one only eight four women in the world to have two children after receiving a double transplant. Megan continues to prompt organ donations to the community by telling her story including health challenges she has faced along the way. Megan launched the charity in March 2017 with a cattle drive on iconic Bondi Beach, Sydney. Not an easy feat for some who is legal blind! This event was the first time both donor families and receipts attended an event together. From this we created Australian first, kids camps and study on regional patients have become reality.



Selina Tomasich – Hair Aid Inc

Selina Tomasich is the founder and CEO of Hair Aid Inc., an Australian based charity doing amazing things both internationally and in communities throughout Australia. Her career has spanned the corporate space and academia. Prior to dedicating herself full time to Hair Aid, she was a Queensland based academic currently lecturing in Business at the University of the Sunshine Coast, University of Queensland as well as at Queensland University of Technology, Selina describes herself as a ‘dedicated nerd’, with a passion for learning. Selina holds five university qualifications as well as an international inventors’ patent for creating online technology. She has created eight apps, written academic books and is published in peer reviewed journals.

With a passion for finding real life learning events for students to engage in and create change in the world, Selina started Hair Aid in 2010. The vision was to provide hands on learning for students and to create livelihood empowerment training for people living in critical poverty. From this first project, Hair Aid was born.

Hair Aid is a social enterprise not for profit. Through several international and national projects, Hair Aid does two things – provide hair cutting training (developed and modified by TAFE educators and industry professionals) for people living in critical poverty in Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia and community haircuts for people living in poverty or crisis in communities throughout Australia. This year, Hair Aid celebrated its 21st project in January to Manila, 22nd Project in Cambodia and 23rd Project in Thailand.



Assunta Meleca – Racing for MNDi Foundation

Assunta Meleca, aged 47, has been married for 19 years and is a mother of two boys aged 16 and 14.  In April 2017, whilst on Long Service Leave, Assunta  founded The Racing for MNDi Foundation.  It was established as a result of Assunta discovering her family carries a gene which causes the development of Motor Neurone Disease (MND).  Racing for MNDi is now Assunta’s full time job.  Assunta chairs The Board consisting of 5 volunteers and she heads the Events Committee which consists of 10 highly energetic women volunteering their time. Since the foundation’s establishment, Assunta has worked tirelessly to grow the ‘business’ and to share what makes Racing for MNDi different to other MND foundations.



Jessica Taylor – Endometriosis Association

Jessica Taylor is President of Endometriosis Association, Chair of the Australian Coalition for Endometriosis, and advocates for women and girls on several expert boards. Jessica has been a driving force to change the lives of the 730 000 Australian women and girls with endometriosis.

Jessica re-branded and reignited life into the 31 year old charity and created products for women and girls with chronic illness.

Jessica has a personal struggle with gynaecological diseases, being told she wouldn’t have children. She overcame odds of 0.04% chance and became a Mum in 2017 to her miracle baby. Through this, Jessica drives the only charity in Australia who runs the worlds only endometriosis help line, delivers hospital care packs to patient, face-to face support network, products for women and girls with chronic illness, health professionals workshops, schools program and mobile app to bridge the disconnect between health care and patients.



Lyn French – AHVISE Aussie Helpers Volunteers for isolated student Education

I live and breathe remote Australia, at times creates havoc in trying to volunteer from a distance. I have been a strong advocate for rural and remote children educational needs for over 30 years.2005-2011 on federal council of ICPA  admin for 29 years on VISE before it  closed down I could not sit back and see rural children being left behind so set up new organisation called ahvise ,www.ahvise.org.au .This has helped 100’s families living in rural and remote Australia .Having limited education as a child I have strong empathy in helping rural and remote children education. 24th May 2019 on behalf of all rural and remote mums I proudly accepted QLD volunteer of the year.

Changing the life of another person is an incredible feeling and it is completely within my grasp. I hope that one day I can be a mentor to other, WE rise by lifting others. A good leader doesn’t set out to be a leader they set out to make a difference, its not about the role always about the goal.



Helen Parker OAM – The Babes Project

Every woman needs support, knowledge and an understanding ally to thrive in her motherhood. The Babes Project empowers new mamas to face the fears, tears, challenges and joys, through pregnancy and the first crucial year of baby’s life. Founded by Helen Parker OAM, the not-for-profit support service provides free, holistic and nurturing perinatal care to women facing crisis and challenging pregnancies.

At centres in Croydon and Frankston (VIC) and in Cairns (QLD) from October 2019, Babes staff and volunteers ensure that participants receive regular emotional care, practical advice, essential baby supplies and connections to other health services, all in a safe and nurturing environment. Since 2018, The Babes Project support has also been available Australia-wide through its national triage phone service. In the past decade, hundreds of new mothers have transformed their motherhood journey and their lives through The Babes Project’s perinatal support program.



Sarifa Alonto Younes – Arndell Park Early Childhood Learning Centre

Sarifa Alonto Younes had lost both her parents at a very young age. Her father had a car accident and died when she was 3 years old. Few years later, her mother lost her battle with cancer. Losing both her parents was a very devastating experienced for her. She went through various forms of obstacle in her life journey. That’s how she learned to love her obstacles and turn them into opportunities not only for herself but for those young generations, orphans and women who are in disadvantaged circumstances.

Now, Sarifa is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and educator. Empowering, educating, helping and inspiring young generations, orphans and women to learn to love their obstacles and turn them into opportunities. She is the Managing Director of the Arndell Park ECLC; Director of the Training College of Australia; Founder and President of the International Academy of Marawi (Phlippines) and the Chairperson of the HerStory Women’s Global Empowerment Conference for Melbourne. In 2018, Sarifa won the 2018 AusMumpreneur Multicultural Business Excellence Award. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and 4 children.


Christine Mastello – Community Hair Project 

Restoring Dignity One Haircut at a Time! You completely take a haircut for granted; Christine did. Community Hair Project now attends 37 different locations in NSW, 4 in Victoria and 3 in Qld. They partner with Hairdressers and Barbers  ALL AROUND AUSTRALIA.. Together they provide FREE HAIRCUTS TO AUSSIES DOING IT TOUGH. Community Hair Project visit homeless shelters, Womens Refuges, Community Centres and parks where our Aussie homeless sleep.



Theresa Mitchell – Agape Outreach

Theresa Mitchell foundered Agape Outreach Inc. 10 years ago. Agape (meaning unconditional love) feeds the homeless and needy in Byron Bay, Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast. Agape has 70 volunteers and provides free meals on the streets to the homeless, free food hampers to families in need, free life skills training course, free access to showers and laundry plus free case management for applications for housing and also free counselling to help with trauma.

Currently Agape provides support people 400 times a week, 20 000 times a year and, is completely run by volunteers. Agape  is non-funded.

Agape also runs the Heart of Women awards on the Gold Coast recognising other inspirational women that are making a difference in the community. Produces documentaries to raise awareness on homelessness and has public speakers in schools and businesses raising awareness.

Agape is currently fundraising to open a house for the homeless by the end of 2019.