Ms Hannah Wandel

Recipient of the James McWha Rising Star Award 2019

Ms Hannah Wandel was only 24 when she founded the not-for-profit organisation Country to Canberra, which runs programs that provide education, leadership and mentorship opportunities for young women in regional and remote Australia.

Named the 2019 ACT Young Australian of the Year, Hannah is also currently the Acting Director of the Drought Taskforce at the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, where she has worked while she steadily built Country to Canberra into an organisation that has helped 3,500 girls nationally.

“The more remote you go in Australia, the tougher it can be for kids to access career and education opportunities.

“Gender inequality is still having a massive detrimental impact across the country in leadership, when it comes to women’s safety and in so many aspects and realms of life,” she said.

Despite facing initial challenges, Hannah was adamant she would take Country to Canberra’s message of self-confidence, respectful relationships, goal setting and leadership far and wide.

“I was determined to do it, even though I got knocked back time after time from sponsors and people who were going to get involved.

“Now, five years later, we have four incredible programs, we’ve been able to meet people like Prime Minster Scott Morrison, Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek, and empower and reach thousands of young women. This is something I’m really proud of,” she said.

Tagged in alumni, alumni recognition, Distinguished Alumni Awards, DAA 2019