Outstanding local leaders named winners in South West Queensland Australian Leadership Excellence Awards


Celebrated local leaders have been named winners in the South West Queensland regional Australian Leadership Excellence Awards (ALEAs) in a ceremony in Toowoomba on Thursday night held at Fitzy’s venue. Amongst those with their achievements celebrated were Isabelle Chassain, Vice President of the Board of Directors at YWCA Queensland, and Sheriden Wright, CEO and Founder of Kiyua Performing Arts.


The prestigious national awards series presented by the Institute of Managers and Leaders, has been celebrating outstanding leadership for 28 years, with ALEAs winners being championed by leadership professionals Australia-wide.


This year, 23 local leaders were shortlisted as finalists across several categories including Leader/Manager, Owner/Entrepreneur, Not for Profit, Community Leader, Emerging Leader and Student Leader, reflecting the diverse professional backgrounds of South West Queensland leadership, from the public sector, to small business, to charity organisations. The six winners of the South West Queensland ALEAs announced in last night’s ceremony include:


  • Kirrilly Rowan, Customer Service Manager at Toowoomba Regional Council | Leader/Manager category
  • Lisa King, Owner and Founder at Crunch Practice Solutions | Owner/Entrepreneur category
  • Isabelle Chassain, Vice President, Board of Directors at YWCA Queensland | Emerging Leader category
  • Phillippa Whitman, CEO at TASC Toowoomba | Not For Profit category
  • Sheriden Wright, CEO and Founder at Kiyua Performing Arts | Community Leader category
  • Marlene Monteith, Student at the University of Southern Queensland | Student Leader category


“The consistently high calibre of finalists and winners in regional Queensland shows that great leadership isn’t only found in places like Silicon Valley or New York, and isn’t limited to the capital cities like Sydney or Brisbane,” said David Pich, Chief Executive of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.


“Great leadership is as prevalent in regional Queensland through community leaders and local business owners, as in large multi-national corporations. Regional Queensland’s outstanding leaders are an inspiration to everyday Australians and we are honoured to be celebrating their accomplishments”.


Isabelle Chassain, winner of the Emerging Leader award for her outstanding leadership as the Vice President of the Board of Directors at YWCA Queensland said, “My personal leadership story is still ongoing. I’m still learning to be a leader and I’m still developing my skills. So far it’s been a lot of trial and error and learning on the run. What this award means to me is that I’m on the right path and I’ve still got a long way to go but I’m getting there.”


“I surround myself with uplifting positive people who encourage my dreams and goals. As a leader I must do the same for those who look to me for guidance,” said Sheriden Wright, Winner of the Community Leader award for her leadership excellence as Founding CEO of Kiyua Performing Arts.


“Never stop learning, never stop growing never settle for average. I am honoured to have been chosen by the Institute of Managers and Leaders for the Community Leader Award I see it as recognition of all the amazing Kiyua volunteers and awesome Kiyua Kids.”

The regional winners were judged and awarded from a shortlisted group of 23 exceptional local leaders including:


  • Kevin Geddert, Manager, Business Information, at Savanna Energy | Leader/Manager category
  • Simone Finch, CEO at Darling Downs and West Moreton Primary Health Network | Leader/Manager category
  • Jaden Frame FIML, Managing Director at Live Well Australia | Leader/Manager category
  • Amy Briggs, Audit Manager at Crowe Horwath | Leader/Manager category
  • Renee Ventaloro MIML, CEO and Founding Director at Pro Help Australia | Owner/Entrepreneur category
  • Naomi Wilson, Director Consultant at Focus HR | Owner/Entrepreneur
  • Helen Muller, Assistant Manager at METRO Care Toowoomba | Not For Profit category
  • Penny Hamilton, CEO of YellowBridge Queensland | Not For Profit category
  • Glenn Roberts, CEO of University of Southern Queensland Student Guild | Not For Profit category
  • Derek Tuffield, CEO of Lifeline Darling Downs | Not For Profit category
  • Toby O’Regan, Residential Youth Worker at Gateway House | Community Leader category
  • Ann-Louise Shrapnel, Case Worker at The Dignity Project | Community Leader category
  • Scott McGrath, Deputy Chair at Goodwill Committee Toowoomba | Community Leader category
  • Ben Twidale, Business Adviser and Team Leader at Power Tynan | Emerging Leader category
  • Megan Meade, Student Representative Committee President at the University of Southern Queensland | Student Leader category
  • Jacob-Hakim Oyat, Undergraduate Accountant at Power Tynan | Student Leader category
  • Eleanor McCulloch, Student Ambassador and Academic Program Support Officer at the University of Southern Queensland | Student Leader category


Winners from Wednesday’s ceremony will become finalists in the Queensland State ALEAs held in September at Brisbane City Hall.


For more information about the Australian Leadership Excellence Awards, please visit https://managersandleaders.co.nz/leadership-excellence-awards/


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Contacts of finalists and David Pich are available for interviews upon request.



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Tamara Wright, Signature Events Manager

0439 956 104 | tamara.wright@managersandleaders.com.au