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Sakshi Thakur honoured with Sir John Monash Award

MELBOURNE, 30 AUG. A commitment to advance opportunities for women and a determination to advocate for gender equality has been recognised by Monash Council with Sakshi Thakur winning the Sir John Monash Award for Outstanding Leadership at a glittering event at the Monash Gallery of Art.

Sakshi began volunteering in Monash as a 17-year old-taking on the role of Chair of the Monash Young Persons Reference Group and campaigning on numerous issues affecting young people including homelessness, youth mental health and gender equality. She actively contributed towards Council’s Gender Equity Committee and played a leadership role in our Empowering Women strategy.

Sakshi is an advocate for gender equality and she’s started with her own family and talking to them about gender equity and equality and breaking down traditional gender stereotypes.

Her proud family say Sakshi has always been about 'walking the talk', and makes sure her actions reflect her values.

Sakshi’s mother shared an example when her grandparents visited from India, and Sakshi took the time to teach her grandpa the importance of equality in the kitchen, and he agreed to learn how to make tea for everyone!

She has been involved in the Monash community since she was 17, including Monash Youth Peer Reference Group, council events and reference groups and took her passion and advocacy to her studies and career in the commerce/social entrepreneurship area.

Her next project is heading to Pondicherry in South India to help the community of 'untouchable' women with employment and financial resources through her new social enterprise called Malaika.

Mayor Paul Klisaris said 41 nominations had been received for the annual awards and choosing winners had been a challenging task for the committee but Sakshi’s advocacy and determination had stood out for the judges.

“Sakshi and her fellow nominees are wonderful examples of the extraordinary community spirit that we enjoy in Monash,” Cr Klisaris said.

“We are so fortunate to have the calibre of people that we do in Monash, who so readily and generously give back to the community in many ways whether it’s championing gender equality for women and men, helping those from other cultures to feel at home or championing the rights of all to live in safety and freedom.

“I am honoured to acknowledge these heroes of our community and be able to thank them for their tireless work.”

The winners and finalists in all eight categories of the awards:

* Multicultural Champion – Shashi Kochhar. High Commendations – Deon Manasis, XinJun Shan Chinese Library.

* Active Monash – Phil Cook. High Commendations – Barry McDonald, John Allison.

* Outstanding Advocate of People with Disabilities – Kaye Speed. High Commendations – Balmoral Men’s Woodworking Group.

* Sustainability Leadership – Venkata Kalva. High Commendation – Geoff Peterkin.

* Youth Leadership Award – Wesley Chen. High Commendations– Debbie Clark, Rida Khan.

* Volunteer of the Year – Mohamed Mohideen. High Commendation – Norman Hyland, Dr Senake Perera, Wanda Egerton.

Inspirational Women’s Leadership – Sakshi Thakur. High Commendation – Yohana Jury.

* Positive Ageing Leadership – Zhang Hu. High Commendations – John Jarvis, Liming Cao.

The winner of the Sir John Monash Award for Outstanding Leadership, Sakshi Thakur, was chosen from among the category winners. Each winner will be profiled in the Monash Bulletin newsletter over the coming year, so people can learn more about their special contributions. Awards recognising members of the local community and honouring Sir John Monash have run in Monash since 1998 when Norm Gibbs won the inaugural Sir John Monash Community Leadership award.

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