What a year we’ve had so far, celebrating our young achievers! Firstly, with Australia’s phenomenal success at the Olympics, where we took home a mammoth 46 medals and all our gold medallists were under the age of 29. We followed this up with a string of medals, stunning debuts, and records from our inspirational young Paralympians. Swim star Ellie Cole sealed history as our most successful Paralympian ever – chalking up her 17th medal at just 29 years of age!
In our own way at First National Real Estate, we like to support our young achievers, and we do this through a partnership with the annual 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards. The awards are designed to acknowledge, encourage, and promote the positive achievements of young people aged 29 and under, and while we love to applaud all young people for the positive impact they have on our local and wider communities, it’s time for our winners to have a well-deserved moment in the spotlight.
Majella Ritchie – First National Real Estate Leadership Award Winner, Queensland
Majella’s dedication and service towards supporting disengaged youth and closing the gap in indigenous education is inspirational. Becoming Australia’s youngest school principal at just 24 years old, Majella is celebrated for her role in increasing the school’s average attendance rate to a huge 98%. Within the education sector, she mentors new teachers on the importance of understanding Aboriginal and Torres Islander cultural links and embedding these values in the classroom. Outside of the classroom, her impact on youth communities continues. Most recently, she led a petition and communicated with FMCG giant Unilever and the Queensland Police surrounding the issues associated with young people using aerosol deodorant as inhalants. Majella’s strong leadership throughout all aspects of her life make her a well-deserved winner of this award.
Maddison O’Gradey-Lee – First National Real Estate Leadership Award Winner, New South Wales
Having journeyed through her own struggles, Maddison is committed to improving mental health outcomes for youth. It’s a passion she has put into action as CEO and founder of High Tide – a volunteer organisation dedicated to running mental health workshops for high school students. Her remarkable impact on the community doesn’t end there, she’s also a lead facilitator at Jasiri, a pay-it-forward self-defence class for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and works with Orygen and the World Economic Forum as a youth representative. Maddison has also chalked up the role of Australian representative at the Global Young Leaders Conference and was the first to win the Australian Dalai Lama Peace Fellowship. All this at just 23 years of age!
Marion Vigot – First National Real Estate Innovation Award, South Australia
At just 29, serial environmental entrepreneur Marion has her focus firmly placed on sustainability. Her first sustainable brand was Mister RYE, a rye-based drinking straw that utilised a by-product from the Australian rye grain harvest. Earlier this year, she launched Compostable Alternatives – a platform dedicated to bringing truly home compostable solutions to restaurants and cafes. Aside from her innovations, Marion spends plenty of time giving back to the community by volunteering her time to support start-ups and entrepreneurs as a board member of Startup Adelaide and Co-President and Coordinator for La French Tech Australia. She really does live and breathe a life of innovation.
Eldin Rostom – First National Real Estate Innovation Award, Western Australia
Eldin is devoted to empowering and inspiring the next generation of medical entrepreneurs. Through a scholarship with Accelerating Australia, he took part in the Perth Biodesign Project Hospital which aimed to generate insights about clinically unmet needs. His placement took him to the Burns Unit of Fiona Stanley, followed by a short intensive bootcamp in Eyes, Ears, Nose and Throat medical innovation at Stanford University. Off the back of these experiences, he co-founded two start-ups – Calor Medical, which aims to standardise first aid methods for burns injuries and Diag-Nose Medical which aims to combat over-prescription of antibiotics for common respiratory diseases. Quite the list of achievements for a 26-year-old!
Addy Dunkley-Smith – First National Real Estate Leadership Award, Victoria
At just 27 years of age, Addy of East Geelong leads with the compassion, courage, and care of someone that has faced her own battles. It’s this personal story of loss and love that motivates her to give back to her community and lead others to overcome mental health issues of their own. She’s an integral part of the Satellite Foundation which supports children and young people who have a parent with mental illnesses or mental health challenges. Over her four years of service with the Satellite Foundation, she’s worked as a peer leader, facilitator, presenter, consultant, and youth advocate. Addy combines this with studies towards a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and rowing at an elite level (while also mentoring and coaching others) – what a truly inspirational leader.
Kaytlyn Johnson – First National Real Estate Leadership Award, Tasmania
19-year-old Katylyn is dedicated to inspiring indigenous women – something we think she’s doing an amazing job of at such a young age. Selected as one of seven student ambassadors as part of the celebration of 150 years of public education in Tasmania, Kaytlyn is determined to use her voice to incite positive change. She was a key member of Project O – a group of young women who raised over $12,000 for women and children experiencing family violence – giving a voice to those without. Her outstanding and inspiring leadership skills have also been put to use as co-president of the Student Executive Council in high school, and as captain of the Tasmanian Indigenous Girls AFL team. Most recently, her dedication awarded her acceptance into the University of Melbourne through a Chancellor’s Scholarship. We can’t wait to see what Kaytlyn’s bright future brings.
At First National Real Estate, we’re so proud to support the 7NEWS Young Achievers Awards every year. Not only are we uncovering incredible and inspiring young people making a big difference across Australia, but we’re recognising our future leaders. So, let’s take a moment to applaud and acknowledge our 2021 young achievers.
Find out how you can get involved with the 7NEWS Young Achievers Awards here.