This page is dedicated to honoring the exceptional achievements of our community’s most remarkable individuals, groundbreaking initiatives, and outstanding organisations. On this page, we proudly present a lineup of winners, highly commended honorees, and recipients of special recognition awards who have made invaluable contributions to our community. These awards are a testament to their dedication, passion, and the positive impact they’ve had on the world around them. Join us in celebrating and acknowledging the extraordinary accomplishments of these inspiring individuals, innovative initiatives, and outstanding organisations.
CONVERGED SECURITY RESILIENCE CHAMPION – Proudly sponsored by Everbridge
WINNER: Chelsea Capizzi-Walsh
Chelsea leads the University of Tasmania’s Scenario Planning Research Project, improving crisis capabilities and nurturing future professionals. She actively trains colleagues, participates in research, and contributes to industry groups, particularly supporting women in tech. She’s a standout leader in her field.
WINNER: Jacinta Thomson
Jacinta, your leadership drives transformative change in cyber governance and security. Your visionary approach profoundly impacts information security and community safety. Your interpersonal skills foster collaboration, trust, and secure partnerships. Your extensive security experience instils confidence among stakeholders, setting an exemplary standard in the field.
BEST INDUSTRY INITIATIVE THAT SUPPORTS DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AND EQUALITY
WINNER: Purple Team Australia
The Purple Team Australia Program’s outstanding commitment to co-ownership, real-world skills, inclusivity, partnerships, and feedback-driven improvement has revolutionised workforce development. Its unwavering dedication to tackling cybersecurity challenges and focusing on diversity and inclusion, collaborative approaches, tailored training, and inclusive practices for neuro-diverse talent makes this a noteworthy initiative.
Highly Commended – nbn’s Security Group Diverse Talent Program
The nbn Security Diverse Talent program breaks norms, reaching beyond typical internships for innovation, inclusivity, and industry impact. It underscores nbn’s commitment to a diverse and thriving environment. With opportunities spanning the entire Security Group, it drives meaningful projects for Australia’s digital future.
BEST SECURITY MENTOR
WINNER: Asou Aminnezhad
Asou, you’re the deserving winner for your exceptional, inclusive mentorship with global impact. Your guidance has empowered women and non-binary individuals, resulting in remarkable success stories in cybersecurity. Your ability to unlock potential and drive positive change is truly remarkable. Congratulations!
Highly Commended Best Security Mentor: Jalpa Bhavsar
Jalpa, your mentoring programs empower women in cybersecurity, offering guidance and support. Your formal initiatives, podcasts, and presentations establish you as a leader and role model. Your commitment to reshaping the cybersecurity landscape and addressing skills shortages is commendable and impactful.
Special Recognition: Sandy Assaf
Sandy, your exceptional contributions to Purple Team Australia programs have been extraordinary. You’ve tackled Australia’s cybersecurity skills shortage and championed diversity, particularly supporting First Nation Women Australians and advancing the AWSN mentor program. Your guidance has led mentees into leadership roles, showcasing your unwavering dedication and impact.
MOST INNOVATIVE EDUCATOR IN CYBERSECURITY
WINNER: Girls Programming Network (GPN)
This grassroots initiative champions gender diversity in tech, fostering community, empowering volunteers, and nurturing a tech career pipeline. It sparks tech interest, boosts diversity, and changes perceptions, showcasing enduring success.
AUSTRALIA’S MOST OUTSTANDING IN PROTECTIVE SECURITY
WINNER: Christina Rose
Christina, your leadership and innovation have reshaped national screener training standards. Your dedication to public safety and protective security is evident in your advocacy, mentorship, and speaking engagements. Your contributions in regulatory design and training standards are commendable, leaving a lasting mark. Your influential mentorship is deserving of recognition.
Highly Commended: Amy Hewson
Amy, your exceptional leadership is seen in your unwavering dedication to women and diverse groups’ needs while maintaining strong business practices. Your ability to harmonise business and personal needs has made MPS a standout, empowering workplace, shown through team-building and individual recognition. You’re a true role model in your field.
AUSTRALIA’S MOST OUTSTANDING IN IT SECURITY – Proudly sponsored by CyberCX
WINNER: Lisa Currie
Lisa, you are the worthy winner of this award for your outstanding contributions in fostering collaboration, driving innovation with psychology-based security insights, and upholding a strong commitment to regulatory compliance and talent retention, all of which are paramount for safeguarding critical assets. Your exceptional leadership, innovative security strategies, dedication to diversity, and a passion for knowledge-sharing have collectively set you apart as an exemplary winner.
BEST PROGRAM FOR YOUNG WOMEN IN SECURITY
WINNER: Purple Team Australia
This collaborative initiative actively involves women and First Nations Australians, offering a comprehensive pathway for holistic cybersecurity education and talent management. It stands as an exceptional contribution towards closing the cybersecurity gap. By steadfastly emphasising diversity and education, it is driving substantial changes and redefining the cybersecurity landscape.
Highly Commended –ASD CyberEXP
Impressive. This innovative program immerses Australian students in the dynamic realm of cybersecurity through engaging online experiences and activities. Its profound impact is indisputable, reflected in the unwavering dedication of LifeJourney and ASD to cultivate the next generation of cybersecurity professionals and spark authentic curiosity in this critical field.
BEST INNOVATIVE BUSINESS ‘RESHAPING THE FUTURE’ OF THE SECURITY INDSUTRY – Proudly sponsored by Equifax
WINNER : AustCyber
AustCyber, under Stone & Chalk, boosts Australia’s global cyber sector through collaboration, education, and innovation. They unite industry, academia, government, and research, gaining international recognition for expertise and fostering cyber education. Key initiatives include the Professionalisation Program, Innovation Network, CSTP, AUCyberscape, AUCyberExplorer, and Sector Competitiveness Plan. AustCyber’s strategy enhances Australia’s global cyber influence and tackles immediate challenges.
Highly Commended – Secure Code Warrior
Secure Code Warrior receives a highly commended award for exceptional achievement in delivering agile, high-impact secure coding education. Their commitment to upskilling developers, nurturing a security-conscious mindset, and elevating code quality is commendable. Their unwavering dedication makes them an invaluable partner in training development teams and fortifying defenses.
PROTECTIVE SECURITY CHAMPION
WINNER: Rachell DeLuca
Rachell, your significant contributions to Australia’s security sector, your extensive expertise in risk and protective security, and your unwavering commitment to mentoring and promoting gender diversity in major projects are truly remarkable. Your leadership and advocacy have firmly established you as a leading figure in the security field, championing positive change for women and serving as an inspiring role model for all of us.
THE ONE TO WATCH IN PROTECTIVE SECURITY
WINNER: Nadia Hammoud
Nadia’s 19-year journey in critical security roles showcases excellence and resilience. Your capacity for innovation, even in the face of bias and discrimination, underscores your untapped potential. Your ability to apply lessons from Brazilian Jujitsu to navigate challenges and spur personal growth is truly commendable. Your inspirational story leaves us eagerly anticipating the next chapter of your journey.
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD: Michelle Lee
Your dedication and drive have led to remarkable achievements, particularly in your role at TAL. Your contributions extend beyond your immediate work environment, including your involvement in the CySec Leaders Summit and your role in Privileged Access Management, where you’ve become a recognised subject matter expert. Your leadership qualities shine through, and your commitment to peer support and social learning is evident through your role as a co-founder of UTS BITCOM.
CYBERSECURITY CHAMPION – Proudly sponsored by KPMG Australia
WINNER: Eva Chen
Eva, you’re a well-deserved winner for your remarkable dedication to mentoring aspiring cybersecurity professionals through AWSN and shaping the industry’s future. Your influence in security practices, agile development, privacy, the Information Security Manual, and risk assessments enhances organisational security and cultivates talent, vividly showcasing your commitment to championing cybersecurity.
Highly Commended : Jess Dodson
Jess, your unwavering dedication to promoting women in tech and digital security through your influential social media presence, conference presentations, and podcasts is truly commendable. Your commitment to increasing female representation in security and IT is exemplary, and your contributions are outstanding.
Special Recognition : Anubha Sinha
Anubha, your journey of overcoming adversity inspires many. Your participation in the “Women of Identity” initiative at KPMG shows your potential for a profound impact. Your achievements and resilience distinguish you as an exceptional leader in the security industry, uplifting others. We anticipate greater accomplishments from you in the future.
BEST PLACE TO WORK FOR WOMEN IN SECURITY
WINNER: MF & Associates
MF & Associates values diversity, fostering a culture where everyone can succeed. Their inclusive approach builds a cybersecurity team with vast experience, including former CISOs and award-winning professionals. Despite rapid growth, they maintain these values, challenging the idea that diversity is a checkbox requirement. They deserve recognition as the 2023 Best Place to Work in Security for leading in equity, diversity, and inclusion in the industry.
Highly Commended: Equifax Australia
Equifax, under Wayne Williamson’s leadership, is paving the way in promoting diversity in cybersecurity. They’ve increased female representation, fostering an inclusive culture valuing unique perspectives. Mentorship programs and women in key roles highlight diversity as a business imperative, setting an industry example in inclusivity.
CHAMPION OF CHANGE
WINNER: Matt Tett
Matt, your dedication to championing change in cybersecurity, driven by a belief in equality and diverse perspectives, is evident. Your proactive steps to address gender underrepresentation and systemic change are commendable. Your personal experiences with gender bias have fueled your commitment to inclusivity. Your passion for empowering women as a Champion of Change is truly inspiring.
Highly Commended: Masseh Haidary
For your outstanding work in promoting gender equality in cybersecurity, including leadership programs and university partnerships in STEM, Masseh, your dedication to high school internships has inspired and provided opportunities for young women, fostering respect and female leadership. Your mentorship has guided many women into senior leadership roles through your unwavering commitment.
WINNER: Bronwyn Mercer
Your extraordinary contributions, driven by technical expertise and a profound passion for positive impact, really set you apart. Your unwavering commitment to cybersecurity and safety, alongside your advocacy for underrepresented groups, makes you an exceptional leader.
BEST SECURITY STUDENT – Proudly sponsored by AusCERT
WINNER: Eleni Lykopandis
For your exceptional ability to positively influence others and your unwavering dedication to the Australian ICT industry set you apart. Éleni has displayed remarkable leadership potential by actively seeking opportunities for skill development and networking in both the public and private sectors. Her commitment to continuous learning and her role as a Student Advisor for cybersecurity degrees at La Trobe University, enhancing cybersecurity-related programs, makes Eleni a standout recipient.
Highly Commended: Bethany Balazs
Bethany you have been awarded highly commended for your first graduate rotation, where you led a vital Jira migration. You’re pivotal on the Graduate Committee, building a national graduate community. Your passion for cybersecurity education shines through workshops and outreach. And as a Cyber Champions program member, you inspire peers with your mentoring and commitment.
UNSUNG HERO _ Proudly sponsored by TAL Australia
WINNER: Mina Zaki
Mina, your tireless efforts championing diversity and inclusivity in cybersecurity have expanded the industry’s horizons. Your multifaceted impact, from assisting job seekers to mentoring newcomers and supporting startups, is commendable. Your dedication also extends beyond the industry, making a tangible difference in the lives of women and children in Afghanistan. Your role in establishing an Indigenous Cyber Company exemplifies your commitment to diversity and inclusion. Your dedication to helping others succeed is a testament to your character and your belief in collective growth.
Highly Commended: Gabriela Guiu-Sorsa
Gabriela’s dedication to cybersecurity and inclusion is evident in her roles as a mentor, ambassador, and AWSN Strategic Adviser. Her “Cyber Security Champions of Tomorrow” initiative empowers women and minority groups in cybersecurity. Her personal journey and resilience amplify her advocacy. Gabriela’s unwavering efforts have significantly enhanced industry diversity and inclusivity.
BEST FEMALE SECURE CODER – Proudly sponsored by ASD
WINNER: Medha Mishra
Medha is a standout in application security, known for her creative projects like security dashboards and gamification. She’s a leader in promoting application security, reducing vulnerabilities, and fostering a security-first mindset. Her adaptability, effective communication, and dedication to mentoring inspire the next generation, making her a valuable asset to the security community.