2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards Nominees - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards Nominees

Thank you to those who nominated a USC graduate for the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards and for highlighting their achievements to the University since leaving USC.

Congratulations to the following shortlisted nominees. And the winners are...

Amanda Cassar
MFinPlan 2009

Amanda Cassar is passionate about financial services and philanthropy. She is an author and speaker who loves to learn and travel. Amanda is the Managing Director of two advisory firms based on the Gold Coast – Wealth Planning Partners and Trusted Aged Care Services. In 2018, she published her book ‘Financial Secrets Revealed’ which is also now a podcast. She attends Strategic Coach workshops each quarter and loves giving back to the profession, currently acting as the Australian Chair of the Million Dollar Round Table. With The Hunger Project, she has visited Malawi, India and Uganda on Leadership & Immersion Programs. Amanda is also the course writer of the Financial Abuse Specialist™ Accreditation assisting financial professionals globally to recognise the signs of abuse and provide support.

Jennie Chandler
PhD 2018

Dr Jennie Chandler obtained first-class honours from the University of Exeter in 2013 and moved to Australia to do her PhD at USC, publishing seven first-author papers. In 2017, Jennie secured a postdoctoral position at the prestigious University College of London Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (UK), where her research focusses on novel treatments for childhood kidney failure, including discovering a new cause of kidney damage. She has obtained her own funding to improve how therapeutics are delivered to the kidney and has authored a pioneering publication in the one of the world’s most-cited scientific journals, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jennie also leads patient engagement and outreach for the Kidney Group at the Institute of Child Health.

Michael Duggan
PhD 2016

Dr Michael Duggan’s mission is ‘to innovate and lead purposeful change for a positive impact’. Utilising his doctoral studies in sustainability and human geography, Mike has been a Director of Deloitte, tasked with leading sustainability services across Queensland, and played a leading role in the formation of a start-up waste to energy company. In 2019, Mike joined Orange Sky as Chief Operating Officer and has been pivotal in expanding Orange Sky’s Australian and New Zealand service delivery, embedding social impact measurement and decision-making into Orange Sky’s projects and leading the organisation through the challenges of COVID-19. Mike is also a Founder and Director of ‘Fathers of Girls’, Australia’s only organisation supporting fathers of only girls.

Iori Forsyth
BBus(IntBus) 2013

Starting her career in Tokyo with the Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) Japan office, Iori Forsyth is currently the Study Australia Partnership Manager for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), promoting Australia as a destination of choice for international education. In 2016, Iori was nominated by the Queensland Government to become the pioneer Japan representative for the Queensland Department of Education International, responsible for managing all Japan-related projects including the launch of the State’s first ever “Global STEM” educational study tour. Iori was the recipient of the “Connecting Globally Award”, recognizing her excellence in global engagement. In 2020, Iori was also the recipient of the “TIQ Standout Award” for her innovation in international education during COVID-19.

Eddie Fraser

Eddie Fraser
BJustice&LegalStud 2012

Since leaving USC, Eddie Fraser has continued his legal studies to graduate with a Juris Doctor and has recently commenced his PhD. He is currently a civilian prosecutor for the Queensland Police Service based in Brisbane and previously was based in Toowoomba and Mount Isa. Eddie has a strong commitment to social justice and community volunteering. He offers his legal expertise weekly at the Moreton Bay Regional Community Legal Service, is a member of the Equity and Diversity Committee of the Queensland Law Society, and previously of the Multicultural Association of Caboolture and Surrounds. Shortly, he will join the governing board of the Queensland Justices Association. In 2021, Eddie was a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 in the Community Legal Centre category.

Lizzie Henebery
GDPR 2012, BBus(Tour) 2009 

Lizzie Henebery has built a reputable marketing and communications business on the Sunshine Coast that helps people know and share their brilliance. Lizzie works with a range of businesses Australia-wide in brand and communication strategy, content writing and public relations across traditional, digital and social media. Lizzie also gives back to the community in her executive committee roles on the Sunshine Coast Business Women's Network and Sunshine Coast Chamber Alliance, and supports many charities. Her passion and strengths lie in interpreting people’s offerings and using this insight to develop strategies that align the product, the message and the audience, resulting in her clients frequently featuring in the media.

Elise Jione
GradCertHlthSectLeadership 2021, MBA 2019

Elise Jione is the General Manager of USC’s Thompson Institute and has played an integral role in the Thompson Institute’s growth to become one of Australia’s leading mental health research institutes. Elise developed and implemented the Alliance for Suicide Prevention, a community-based program committed to improving mental health outcomes on the Sunshine Coast. She also led a multi-disciplinary team to swiftly develop ‘EMERALD’, a wellbeing program in response to COVID-19. In 2021, Elise received the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network ‘Young Business Woman of the Year’ award. She is also a Board Director of Wandi Nerida, Australia’s first residential eating disorder facility.

 

Kristy Marshall
BA/BBus 2011

By the age of 24, Kristy Marshall was promoted to Head of Marketing at a Sydney events company, increasing revenue generated by her department 10-fold while in the role. She is currently heading up Global Marketing for international technology company Datamine, leading the marketing strategy for over 20 software solutions. In 2020, Kristy built a following of over 50k on TikTok, with almost three million views of her videos in the personal development space. She achieved this while battling with chronic Lyme disease. Kristy has also volunteered her marketing expertise for several organisations to raise awareness for their causes, including the Thyroid Association of WA and Young Change Agents in Brisbane.

Lyndsey Scott
BBus(Tour) 2007

Lyndsey Scott is the Group Human Resources Director for MJS Holding in Saudi Arabia, an exclusive global group bringing world-class dining to Saudi Arabia as the country brings to life its 2030 vision with a focus on a vibrant and energised society. During her 15 years’ experience in Human Resources, previous roles have included being appointed as Area Director of HR for Hyatt based in the Middle East and Director of HR at Grand Hyatt Melbourne. Lyndsey is a passionate advocate for inclusion and diversity with a focus on women in the workplace and has achieved global recognition for innovation in her industry. She was also a key participant in the International Labour Organisation-led Hospitality Working Group to reshape the culture of industry workplaces in the lead-up to FIFA 2022.

Shamala Thilarajah
PhD 2019

Dr Shamala Thilarajah is the current President of the Singapore National Stroke Association, World Stroke Organisation Future Leader (2020-2022), and Singapore Physiotherapy Association 2021 Outstanding Public Sector Physiotherapist award winner. Shamala has been a physiotherapist since 2004 and is a Principal Physiotherapist at the 8th ranked hospital in the world, Singapore General Hospital. Shamala has a long history of volunteering to improve the lives of people with severe neurological conditions, for which she was awarded the Healthcare Humanity Award in 2020. Shamala regularly convenes neurorehabilitation education sessions for international audiences, with a focus on improving patients’ lives in developing countries.

Tahnee Togo

Tahnee Togo
BNursSC 2019

Tahnee Togo has a strong passion for helping people to achieve better health outcomes in the Fraser Coast region. She has a background in childcare and aged care before pursuing her USC education to become a nurse. Tahnee has teamed up with a local doctor to deliver a health service to the most vulnerable community members in a safe and culturally appropriate way. The mobile GP clinic won the Hervey Bay Community Centre's Pitch Night Community Choice Award. Tahnee has been involved in other community groups such as the Hervey Bay Girls Academy, which supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to complete their education.

Sharon Wright
BA 2015

After graduating from USC with a BA in Communications and Community Development, Sharon Wright held the position of Electorate Officer for Independent State Member for Noosa, Sandy Bolton MP, and was instrumental in driving the community engagement strategy for the Covid-19 response and bushfires of 2019. In her current role of Executive Coordinator for the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation, Sharon has instigated the Noosa Biosphere Annual Gala and the Noosa Biosphere Awards which recognise those working towards addressing climate change and implementing innovative sustainability practices. She recently won the UNESCO Michel Batisse Award for Biosphere Reserve Management, accepting the award (via Zoom) at the 33rd session of the International Coordinating Council in Abuja, Nigeria.

Cameron Zbikowski
DipBus 2019

Diploma of Business graduate and US Navy Veteran Cameron Zbikowski is the Director of Development, Policy, and Communications for Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) – Michigan, United States. In this role, Cameron led the creation of a fundraising operation with corporate sponsors as well as the implementation of a CRM tool that can activate a grassroots call-to-action campaign of over 35,000 members at a moment's notice. Cameron was a top 10 finalist for Student Veteran of the Year out of over 1500 chapters worldwide. He was also one of five student veterans selected nation-wide for a Legislative Research Fellowship. Cameron currently has two bills being introduced to the 117th U.S. Congress aimed at improving the VA’s Patient Advocacy Program.

Please note: the nominees' work details are current at the time of receiving their nomination.