The Australian Financial Review has unveiled its 100 Women of Influence for 2018. Announced on Tuesday 4 September, the list includes women working across a spectrum of industries demonstrating a strong sense of commitment to a cause.

From OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn, whose company has partnered with United Nations Environment to host events across the country to raise awareness about the alarming rates of global food wastage, to positive body image campaigner Taryn Brummfit, anti domestic and family violence campaigner Rosie Batty, Rochelle Courtenay, Founder and Managing Director of social enterprise Share the Dignity, which supplies women who are homeless or victims of domestic violence with sanitary products, and author, journalist and broadcaster Tracey Spicer, who has dedicated the past decade to amplifying women’s voices and who broke the first #metoo stories in this country.

A record 850 entries were received this year, a large increase on the 370 received the last time the awards were held in 2016. The swell in numbers can be partly attributed to a surge in submissions in the business and entrepreneur and social enterprise and not-for-profit categories. Entries in the business and entrepreneur category tripled in number, reflecting the advance in female entrepreneurs.

Senior client partner Jacqueline Gillespie of executive search firm Korn Ferry helped screen applicants. “For categories like business entrepreneur and social enterprise, where women more broadly are highly represented and where external funding is often hard fought, being recognised as a woman of influence can make a significant difference to the profile of the woman and the enterprise she leads,” Ms Gillespie said. “The stories of these women’s journeys were really compelling and quite important to their journey as women of influence.”

A panel of respected judges were called on to compile the list, including two previous overall winners of the award, Ann Sherry, executive chair of cruise company Carnival Australia, and Moya Dodd, lawyer and soccer official. The other judges were Mark Scott, secretary, NSW Department of Education, Barry Irvin, executive chair, Bega Cheese, Paul Zahra, retail adviser and diversity advocate, Sam Mostyn, director of Sydney Swans, Vanessa Hudson, chief customer officer of Qantas, Financial Review Chanticleer columnist Tony Boyd, Financial Review managing editor Joanne Gray and Sally Patten, editor of AFR BOSS magazine. Entrants this year were asked to demonstrate the competency of self-leadership (courage, resilience, self-development) through challenges and hardships.

Read the full list of 100 Women of Influence here.

Banner Image: Ronni Kahn

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