It has been our absolute pleasure to bring back The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (DoEIA) Excellence and Innovation Awards to recognise the outstanding efforts of those who make The Duke of Ed Award possible and highlight the commitment and dedication to youth development within the community.

We have received an amazing number and caliber of nominations, a clear indicator of the incredible work being done across Victoria by organisations and individuals in the areas of Innovation, Longevity, Outstanding Program Delivery, and Youth Leadership. You can read more about the Award categories here.

Next week, our judges are coming together to review the nominations and have the difficult task ahead of selecting our finalists. Finalists will be announced Friday 16th October. Winners will then be announced at our Gold Award Gala on Saturday 5th December at The Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

It is with great delight that we would like to introduce our judges for the Excellence and Innovation Awards:

Karen Luu is Human Resources and Risk professional at Toll Group. Her diverse experience in industrial and employee relations, safety, risk management and commitment to provide pragmatic solutions has delivered positive outcomes in the areas of people, performance, culture. Before Toll, she worked with the National Union of Workers, serving the working class and trade union movement as an Industrial Officer and Organiser. She is also experienced in achieving operational excellence outcomes through continuous improvement methodologies including LEAN.

Karen holds a Masters of Workplace of Employment Law, Bachelors of Arts (Politics & International Studies), Business (Management) and Tourism from Monash University. She is also qualified with Certificate IVs in Training and Assessment, OH&S and is a LEAN Practitioner.

Karen is passionate about connecting young people with programs that will enrich their life and leadership skills. With the team, she works enthusiastically to extend the reach of relevant programs to young Victorians, for the benefit of the individuals and their community.

Colin Ellis runs his own practice helping organisations and individuals develop the leadership skills and cultures necessary required to deliver great project experiences every time. He feels that the removal of needless process and complex language is critical in ensuring that organisations deliver on their promises to their customers and staff.

Originally from Liverpool, Colin now lives in Melbourne with his wife and two children. A popular trainer, speaker, author and mentor, Colin has 20 years experience working in the UK, New Zealand and Australia and yet still struggles with writing bios in the third person.

Visit Colin’s website.

Daniela Ascone’s role is to launch the Fingerprint Me Youth Employment Academy nationally and work closely with key stakeholders; Education providers, Government, Industry and our Corporate Partners to develop key initiatives that will enable more young Australians to have access to innovative programs and support services.

Daniela is a dedicated and results-driven senior manager with over 15 years experience working within the not-for-profit, employment services and human resources industry. Her extensive experience and a strong interest in developing mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded organisations and individuals for the purpose of developing key initiatives and advocacy campaigns for young people, has resulted in working with a number of education providers, Government departments, industry and community stakeholders across Australia.

John Kouvelas is a highly regarded Principal Policy Officer with the Department of Health & Human Services with extensive experience obtained through almost 25 years in the education, community and public sectors.

Having started his career as a secondary school teacher, John worked for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for over twelve years before joining the Department of Planning and Community Development, and has been recognised through service awards and additional roles of responsibility throughout his career for his strong leadership skills in: program and project management; grant development, implementation and evaluation; governance and strategic planning; stakeholder management; community development and people management.

John’s current role sees him oversee the development and management of youth initiatives to support positive individual and community outcomes in education, employment and capacity building, with John’s team responsible for the delivery of $12.4 million in 2015-16 of initiatives within the Victorian Government’s Youth Affairs portfolio.

One of the major programs John manages is the Victorian Government’s Advance program, a school-based initiative for young people to volunteer in their community. Advance is a partnership between the Department of Health & Human Services, Victorian Government secondary schools and community organisations. Through Advance, young people have the opportunity to do something great in their community based on their choice. Young people are able to plan projects, meet new people, build skills and make a difference.

John also holds the position of School Council President for Mount Waverley Secondary College.

Sam Hillman
-stay tuned to read about Sam!

A big thank you to everyone who made a nomination! We look forward to announcing the lucky finalists with you in the coming weeks.

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