NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards


"Winning the arts and fashion award was a huge encouragement for me, voluntarily running a not for profit organisation is hard work, so being told that people think I'm doing a good job for the community means a great deal to me. It puts wind in my sails to continue advocating for our creative industries to be more inclusive."

Genevieve Clay-Smith
2016 The Coffee Clubs Arts and Fashion Award Winner 


"It was a tremendous honour to be recognized with the First National Real Estate award for the leadership category of the 2016 NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards. Considering the phenomenal achievements of Australia’s youth across incredibly diverse fields, this award was an extremely humbling honour, but also more importantly a call to action.

I am currently undertaking an honours research project at the University of New South Wales on the topic of CO2 conversion via photocatalysis to a solar fuel. Outside of my studies, I have developed an internationally applied innovation focused on climate resilience and am the founder and executive director of a nationwide mentoring program, MentorMe Australia. My decision to tackle a chemical engineering degree was grounded in the notion of contributing to the grand challenges of the 21st century: food security, energy, water and health. Yet more recently, my attention has shifted to how these concerns can be addressed via social entrepreneurship and within the business community. I am particularly interested in the intersection of business strategy and sustainability.

In my eyes, leadership is most clearly defined as the capacity to translate vision into reality, whilst simultaneously growing others around you. You don’t need a title to be a leader and it seems evident that leaders emerge in all levels of a community. Douglas MacArthur states that “a true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He or she does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”

At the awards night the atmosphere was electric. Sitting amongst the state’s young leaders I felt an energy and dynamism which was both captivating and inspiring. These were the leaders of the future, in government, in industry and in academia and given their talents and passions, there appears every reason to be optimistic. We have a responsibility to continue to use our opportunities to make ethical, informed and courageous decisions as Australia’s future leaders.

My vision with MentorMe Australia, the nation’s first mentoring initiative from secondary school to university graduates is to develop the leaders of tomorrow. We focus on assisting individuals within their early career stages via the power of mentoring. But not only does mentoring impact the mentor and the mentee, it strengthens ties between communities, institutions and organizations. Our next phase of expansion is a unique program aimed at supporting high school students from refugee backgrounds.

To be associated with the awards and the category sponsor First National Real Estate is an incredible opportunity and privilege. First National is a centre for excellence in the real estate community in terms of its people, work, ethos and culture and I am very proud to be associated with the sponsors who have made these awards possible.

Ultimately, I hope that through my leadership and drive in the fields of climate resilience, sustainability and mentorship I have paved the way for others to follow. Indeed, the real test of leadership is the function to engage and develop more leaders, not followers. Thus, I encourage you to nominate an individual for the 2017 NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards – it is an experience that they will not forget."

Tom Perfrement
2016 First National Real Estate Leadership Award Winner