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Recognising those making a positive impact on individuals and communities. 


Inspired by the work of Rachel Whitford, the namesake of our major award, the Queensland Women in Leadership Awards recognise the outstanding work, resilience and leadership skills of women from across the state.

Held on International Women’s Day, the awards acknowledge the influential work of women leaders (both established and emerging) and highlight the fundamental role these individuals play in developing, empowering and contributing to the community.

Purpose of the Awards:

Gender equality across leadership roles in business and within boardrooms remains a significant issue in Australia. According to the Australian Government and Workplace Gender Equality Agency, over one-quarter (29.9%) of Agency reporting organisations have no key management personnel who are women, with only 28.5% of women in the workforce holding key management positions.

These figures reflect the strong need for us to get behind the women who are leading the way and inspiring other women to be the best they can be. These awards were created to focus on the merit, credibility, and hard work of women across Queensland and encourage them to continue, grow, lead and inspire.


Access Community Services Limited (Access) is a national leader in settlement, employment, training and youth support services to migrants, refugees and mainstream clients. We operate throughout Queensland, with particular emphasis on Logan City, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.

It was our long-serving Board Chairperson, the committed, compassionate and transformative Rachel Whitford, who inspired The Queensland Women in Leadership Awards. Rachel has been influencing a generation of young Queenslanders in the south-east for over two decades. Rachel has been a servicing Police Officer since 1991, and has dedicated her life’s work to ensuring culturally and linguistically diverse communities across south-east Queensland have every opportunity to live in an safe environment, free from discrimination and violence, and able to interact with law enforcement officials.

Through her tireless work and dedication, Rachel transformed the Logan PCYC into one of the most responsive and community-focused branches in Queensland. Under her guidance, the Logan PCYC produced high-quality youth and community development and crime prevention programs that are being replicated in other branches across the state. Her work has empowered thousands of young people in the Logan community. In addition to this work, she has also chaired the board of one of the state’s largest refugee organisations, Access, all whilst raising her 5 children.

Upon Rachel’s retirement from the Police Force in 2017, Access honoured this exceptional woman with the creation of the Rachel Whitford Awards for Women in Leadership, to recognise other great women whose efforts and ethos continue to inspire, empower and transform.


We are looking for women who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in order to create extraordinary outcomes, big or small. Women who have gone above and beyond to inspire individuals and communities to create meaningful change. Women who have harnessed innovation and creativity to action their ideas and inspire other women to unlock their own potential. Unsung heroes who are doing astonishing things at a large scale or grass-roots level.


Category 1: The Rachel Whitford Award for Women in Leadership

The Rachel Whitford Award for Women in Leadership recognises women who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership qualities, and made a tangible impact or contribution to an individual, group, or community in Queensland. The award acknowledges their high levels of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurialism, and an ethic to supersede their duties in order to create transformative change either at a grass-roots level or beyond.
Category 2: Emerging Leaders Award

The Emerging Leaders Award recognises women under the age of 30 whose strong leadership qualities have made a positive impact on an individual or community. This award focuses on women at the beginning of their leadership journey who have utilised innovative and creative ideas to create change or make progressive contributions to the community.


Download and fill in the nomination form
Send all nominations to [email protected] by Sunday 18th February.


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