2023 Victorian Rural Women’s Award Finalists

5 remarkable women have been named as finalists for the 2023 Victorian Rural Women’s Award today, coinciding with International Women’s Day. View the media release here.

The Victorian Winner will be announced at an event at Parliament House in Melbourne in April and will receive a $15,000 grant from Westpac toward the implementation of her project. She will also compete against winners from other states for a further $20,000 and the title of the National Rural Women’s Award which will be announced in September.


Grace Larson, Kyneton

Through her 15 years’ experience working as paediatric intensive care nurse, Grace knows how important timely access to services is on mortality rates of children experiencing traumatic injuries. Grace recognized that patients who received CPR or First Aid had better outcomes than those who did not and identified first aid training as particularly critical to children in rural areas.

Grace formed The Sisterhood Project to mitigate the barriers of distance and affordability for parents and carers in rural areas, providing free access to essential paediatric first aid training for vulnerable groups, particularly in rural Australia. She hopes this will have a significant impact on child mortality rates in rural Australia.

Nikki Davey, Glenmore

Nikki is the Co-founder & CEO of Grown Not Flown, a digital platform and marketplace dedicated to promoting and selling locally grown flowers and produce. As a relatively new flower farmer herself, Nikki is using her skills in digital product development and analytics management to transform the flower industry.

Leveraging technology to aggregate and share industry insights and best practices, Grown Not Flown aims to empower micro and small-scale growers to collect and manage their farm data, streamline business operations, and easily connect with consumers. Nikki hopes to arm growers and consumers with information on the importance of supporting local farming communities, economies, and small businesses so they can continue to blossom.

Neha Samar, Shepparton

Neha founded non-profit The Flamingo Project to connect women in regional Victoria from various backgrounds and stages of life to women who can help them grow personally and professionally. Through her own experiences as a migrant to Australia, Neha recognized that opportunities are often down to who you know, not what you know.

This disadvantage is even more acute for women living in regional areas. Bridging the gap between those looking to grow and those willing to help them succeed, The Flamingo Project is a community of women helping women. Knowing that asking for support may not always be easy for women, the program has no barriers to entry and is free of charge. Neha hopes to further develop The Flamingo Project to grow its scale and impact.

Michelle Daga, Macarthur

Michelle is a birth worker aiming to end birth trauma and improve birth and postpartum outcomes for rural families. Informed by her own experiences and her background as a nutritionist, Michelle is a birth educator and post-partum nutrition coach and certified doula.

Recognising the importance of access to a range of birth supports, Michelle founded Better Birth in the Bush to make empowering birth education and happy and healthy birth and postpartum outcomes more accessible for all rural Australians. Specifically designed for rural people by rural educators, the platform will offer a self-paced online learning program for parents as well as group classes and a certified training program for birth workers.

Sarah Duncanson, Greendale

Sarah is a paediatric critical care nurse at the Royal Children’s Hospital and has cared for some of Australia’s most critically injured children. She has cared for many children with complex medical needs whose parents navigate the medical world from home every single day. With rural families especially have difficulties accessing specialised paediatric care, Sarah’s company PAEDS education provides hybrid and online paediatric carer training and education which is accessible regardless of postcode.

Sarah knows the impact of their children’s injuries or the complexity of their congenital conditions often changing families forever and hopes greater access to specialized training will improve support, reduce the burden of care, and improve the outcomes of children and their community.

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