Past Great Ydeas recipients

Ritu Clementi

Ritu is committed to helping girls to shape their own future through leadership. She plans to establish a Leadership Academy to provide a monthly seminars for college aged girls, creative a supportive, empowering cohort of young women.

Sarah Collett

Sarah is passionate about keeping children and young people safe. Along with her two business partners, Sarah plans to establish a local training and consulting business to deliver high-quality, affordable and flexible workshops on child and family safety to early childhood staff, as well as other community organisations.

Gemma Killen

Gemma is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University. Gemma has been invited to present at the 7th Appearance Matters Conference in London on her research, which explores how young, queer women use the Internet to understand and speak about their bodies. The Great Ydeas grant will  support Gemma to travel to London.

Erin-Claire Barrow

Erin-Claire is a talented and unique local artist. Her project is to write, illustrate and exhibit feminist fairytales, to contribute to how we think about gender and increase the visibility of traditionally under-represented characters in these well-loved stories. After holding a local exhibition, Erin Clare aims to publish a book of the stories and illustrations and hopes to run workshops with young Canberrans on storytelling and illustration in the future.

The 2016 Australian Catholic Superannuation Great Ydeas Enrichment Grant

ACS logo - resized

We are delighted that this year Australian Catholic Superannuation  partnered with us to provide a unique Great Ydeas grant for a young Canberra woman to further her potential. The Australian Catholic Superannuation Great Ydeas Enrichment Grant was designed to help a young woman (aged 12-25) reach her potential through personal development.

Elyse Lenehan

Elyse is a young dancer with a big dream. A Canberra local, Elyse was one of 17 young people across Australia selected last year to attend the National Aboriginal and Islander Dance Academy in Gosford. The Australian Catholic Superannuation Great Ydeas Enrichment Grant will help to support Elyse with the practical expenses of homestay and other living costs, and hopefully to purchase a laptop.

The 2016 EY Great Ydeas Impact Grant

EY - resizedYWCA Canberra and EY share a commitment to supporting young people, and this year we were  pleased to announce that EY had generously supported the Great Ydeas Grants Program. The EY Great Ydeas Impact Grant was designed to to support a young woman to kick-start a project in the areas of wellbeing, social connectedness and inclusion.We are thrilled to continue our strong relationship with EY, one of Canberra’s leading professional services organisations.

 Emily Warburton

Emily is passionate about promoting health and wellbeing, and wants to establish a yoga and meditation program at her high school. The EY Impact Grant will help Emily to facilitate regular classes, as well as providing yoga mats and water bottles. She hopes to be able to replicate this course at other high schools after a successful pilot program.

The 2016 NAB Great Ydeas Innovate Grant

Nab logo - resizedWe were pleased to announce that NAB and YWCA Canberra teamed up to offer a Great Ydeas Grant for a young Canberran woman with a passion for innovation and a budding entrepreneurial spirit. The NAB Great Ydeas Innovate Grant was designed to support a young woman to kick-start a small business, a social enterprise start-up or an online shop.

Kate Butler

Kate has founded Enrol 4 Change, an advocacy body designed to promote democracy and encourage young Canberrans to enrol to vote. She plans to roll out the ‘Enrol a Mate’ campaign, engaging with university colleges and community organisations, and using social media to target young Canberrans. The EY Innovate Grant will help Kate to establish a professional website for Enrol 4 Change.

Hannah Massingham & Billi McCarthy-Price

WomenCANPlay is an inspiring web-based not-for-profit project that attempts to increase female sports participation by providing information on the opportunities available for sport participation, including up-to-date contact details; by connecting young women with a welcoming network of sportswomen; helping their participation through scholarship opportunities; and increasing the understanding of contributing factors to low sport participation through research.

Chiara Grassia

Girls Rock! Canberra is a school holiday program that aims to empower girls aged 8-17 through music, encouraging creativity, and fostering teamwork and leadership skills. Chiara will use the grant funding to travel to the USA in June-July to volunteer at two Girls Rock! camps, before returning to run the inaugural Girls Rock! Canberra at Ainslie Arts Centre in January 2016.

Update: Read this blog about Chiara’s experience of attending Girls Rock! camps in the US, and check out this great ABC news story about singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett rocking Girls Rock! Canberra.

Clare Conroy

The Women Talk Work podcast will feature interviews with women in a range of jobs and at a range of levels, to get an insight into what the working lives of Australian women are really like. The interviews will explore what an average day/week involves, the interviewee’s highlights, frustrations and future aspirations, what success in this particular job looks like, and what makes work interesting and enjoyable – or not. Importantly, the interviews will also discuss why women have made certain choices regarding their work and how work fits within the broader context of their lives.

Update: Keep up with all of Clare’s Women Talk Work podcasts at

Lee Constable

SoapBox will be a radio program that provides a platform to local people to discuss their social justice passions. It will be produced and broadcast on local community radio station 2XXFM, and re-broadcast on national digital youth broadcaster SYN Nation. Soapbox will be a weekly interview presented live, of those who are involved in initiatives and projects which make the Canberra community more sustainable and equitable. It aims to inspire listeners to consider social equality and environmental sustainability, and will promote services and initiatives available within our community.

Update: Check out SoapBox on Soundcloud, and keep up with the podcast news via Facebook and Twitter.

Rosanna Stevens

Rosanna is an accomplished young Canberra writer who wrote a popular essay, The Right Kind of Blood, on the social abnormalisation and normalisation of menstruation in 2014, published by The Lifted Brow. Now, with the support of publishers, Rosanna is embarking on research to turn the essay into a nonfiction book. The book will make commentary on how the world perceives, treats, shames and celebrates menstruation. Rosanna will travel to Cusco in Peru to participate in a five-day intensive about Peruvian and shamanic women’s knowledge around menstruation, providing an adventurous and multicultural tone to her writing.

Update: Read Rosanna’s blog about her experience participating in a Shamanic women’s knowledge retreat in Peru’s Sacred Valley.

Three of our Great Ydeas 2014 recipients participated in the Changemakers Festival, Women Leading Change panel:

Caterina Giorgi – People for Purpose

People for Purpose (P4P) is a pilot project that will develop and implement tailored professional development training to support women working in the ACT not-for-profit sector, such as advocacy campaign design, strategic communications, and project management. The project will include a ‘Getting to Know the Sector’ training course, featuring presentations from established Sector workers and leaders. Upon completion, participants will become members of the P4P Ideas Network, a sounding board and support system to assist in professional ideas development and problem solving.

Update: Caterina is the Co-Founder of For Purpose,  a professional development and coaching and advisory service for NFP professionals.

Hannah McCann – attendance at the Femme Hive 2014

The Femme Hive Conference is a community-run conference that seeks to explore, discuss and support queer femme as a transgressive, gender-queer, stand-alone, and empowered identity. Attending the conference will provide Hannah a valuable contribution to her research, while extending her academic skills. Hannah will present a paper at the conference, based on her research. After attending the conference, she will present her PhD research on queer femme identity.

Update: Hannah wrote a fascinating blog about her experience of attending Femme Hive.

Caitlin Sandercock – Development and Aid Workers Network

The Development and Aid Workers Network (DAWN) is an online knowledge hub for volunteer and professional aid and development workers. The project aims to enhance DAWN by developing a suite of new resources for aid workers, recruiting volunteers to provide advice on key topics, and advocating for accreditation by country embassies.

Hannah Wandel – Country to Canberra

Country to Canberra gives passionate rural girls the opportunity visit Canberra, Australia’s heart of decision-making, to motivate leadership potential. It aims to combat unique barriers faced by regional and remote students, and strengthen links between them and Australia’s political epicentre. The project will run an essay competition for Year 11 students, with the winner travelling to Canberra to attend a breakfast with four powerful female community leaders, and participate in tours of Parliament House and the National Gallery.

Update: Country to Canberra offers a range of opportunities to empower rural girls to reach their leadership potential.

Heidi Zajac – Cooking Circles

The Cooking Circles project will leverage digital communication and social media to connect Australian and Timorese young women to share cooking processes and recipes, stories, and build friendships. Each Cooking Circles event will be recorded using video, stills photography and blogging technology, and shared via social media. The project will provide participants with an opportunity to learn about community development, gender equality and strengths-based work.

Update: Visit the Cooking Circles website to read about the network, and find a new recipe to try!

Anna Ehmann – Co-Op Pop-Up

Anna is an aspiring female entrepreneur who will open a ‘pop-up’ style café inside the Food Co-Op at ANU. The Co-Op Pop-Up will serve high quality, organic, healthy breakfasts in a comfortable and relaxing environment. This project will assist Anna to develop her business skills and build her confidence to begin additional projects in the future.

Claire Natoli, Alisa Draskovic, Elaine Li – Australasian Youth Justice Conference – Changing trajectories of offending and reoffending

Claire, Alisa and Elaine are committed to achieving social reform and have spent time volunteering in the community sector, with a focus on criminal justice. They are also members of the ANU Prisoner Advocacy committee. This grant will provide the opportunity for two members of the ANUPA committee to attend the Australian Youth Justice Conference, 20-22 May 2013. Through attending the conference they will further their knowledge and also build networks within the area of their passion.

Jo Allebone – Martial Women and Girls ACT

Martial Women and Girls is a community network that provides all women and girls with an opportunity to explore martial arts in a safe and inclusive environment. Through this grant, Jo will be able to run four workshop events and a martial arts performance, as well as develop branding and promotional materials, including the development of a website.

Katherine Meacham and Tanya Bae – Supporting Our Sisters

Katherine and Tanya are involved in SOS (Supporting Our Sisters), a local group who hand out water every Friday night in the City, in a bid to ensure young women get home safely and to reduce the negative effects of intoxication. This grant will provide First Aid training for six members of SOS as well as the purchase of six First Aid kits to help them assist other young women and keep them safe.

Merija Gilbert-Puttock – Women Reclaiming Themselves

Merija aspires to publish a book detailing the experiences of women and children who have experienced foster care. This grant will provide Merija with a one year membership to the ACT Writers Centre and provide her with the opportunity to attend a one day editing course to assist her with her project.

Tjanara Goreng Goreng – United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

In May 2013 Tjanara will attend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues at the United Nations in New York. She will be attending as an Elder and mentor for a young Aboriginal woman, and will support her to make decisions and sign off on interventions. This will also assist Tjanara to develop her own skills in lobbying for interventions, diplomacy and engagement at an international level. This grant will provide funds for Tjanara to purchase her flights.

Courtney Sloane and Melanie Poole – Global Youth for Reproductive Rights

A social movement to raise awareness of the importance of sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights in achieving gender equality and other major development goals.

Diane Kambanei and Melissa Burford – Freedom Marketplace

A pilot project to establish an online store supporting female artisans in Papua New Guinea.

Julianne Williams – Ngnunnawal Aboriginal Arts

Through setting up a studio space in her home, Julianne will create her own small business to create artworks and teach young women at college.

Melissa Burford – The Powerhouse Sisterhood

A gathering of social entrepreneurs who will meet on a monthly basis supporting each other to take their initiatives to the next level.

Jac Torres Gomez and Kiri Dicker – Feasibility Study in Papua New Guinea

Jac and Kiri will form a partnership with the YWCA of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to examine the feasibility of locally produced, culturally appropriate, environmentally friendly and affordable sanitary products for women in PNG.

Tanya and Casey Keed – Dance Beyond Barriers

Tanya and Casey, through Dance Beyond Barriers, will put together a performance for the National Anniversary of the Apology on 13 February 2012. Dance Beyond Barriers is a new dance group in the ACT created to raise awareness of sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and many other issues within the Aboriginal community.

Donisha Duff – Indigenous Business Excellence

Donisha will be undertaking professional development at Harvard University Summer School from June to August 2011. This experience will contribute towards the progression of Donisha’s Masters of Business Administration and will support her commitment towards reconciliation by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to be educated and empowered to lead in their communities.

Abbey Townsend – English4everyone

Abbey will run ‘english4everyone’, a program offering migrants, refugees and visitors opportunities and support to develop English language skills in order to understand Australian society and to share culture, resulting in increased feelings of belonging and enhanced abilities to contribute to community life.

Anya Dettman – Voices of the voiceless: the women of East Timor’s resistance

Anya will be creating an oral history archive of filmed interviews (subtitled in English) with several East Timorese women who worked for the Resistance against Indonesian occupation. At the completion of the project, Anya will hold a screening to show the films and talk about the project.

Helen Moran – Shades of Brindle Cross Cultural Educational Resources

Helen will be developing and publishing a series of six cross cultural educational resource books for pre-school to year six students. Dindima’s Adventures: Learning Aboriginal Culture, will tell the story of a young Aboriginal girl and a group of native Australian animals and didgeridoo characters as they learn about Aboriginal culture.

Nicole Ella – Professional development

Nicole will be undertaking professional development courses, including attending the 6th National Homelessness Conference in Brisbane. These opportunities will help Nicole gain a better understanding of the homelessness sector, the alcohol and other drugs sector and Indigenous sector.

PJ Ann Aguilar – Simplicity Retreats

PJ will be running two Nurturing Yoga retreats for mothers, in order to give mothers a day off to feel refreshed, and regain balance and focus. PJ aims to introduce yoga as a tool to cope with stress, maintain physical fitness and mental balance.

Rita Markwell – Stripping off the Layers

Rita and her project partners will script, produce and perform a creative stage production combining theatre, dance, song and film. The performance piece will explore the journey of cultural identity and belonging from the outside, as seen through the eyes of three Canberra women.