The Australian Women's Weekly Women of the Future Awards 2021
Camille Goldstone-Henry, Founder and Director of Xylo Systems – an innovative tech platform created to help save endangered species – took out the top honour at the 9th Annual Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Awards presented today at a lunch ceremony at the Sydney Opera House, Yallamundi Rooms.
An experienced wildlife conservation and research manager, 30 year old Camille from Bondi, New South Wales, was awarded for her innovative cloud based platform, Xylo Systems, founded to connect, track and manage conservation projects, creating a worldwide solution for conserving biodiversity and Australia’s iconic species.
Sponsored by La Trobe Financial, the six Women of the Future finalists aged 18-34 were celebrated for their exceptional innovation, creativity and business nous. The other worthy 2021 finalists were Hannah Diviney from Missing Perspectives, Angelique Wan founder of Consent Labs, Mannie Kaur Verma from Veera – Brave Girl, co-founders of JAM The Label, Molly Rogers and Emma Clegg and co-founders of She Runs, Martina Ucnikova and Jessica Smith.
Camille Goldstone-Henry said: “We are losing a species every three to five minutes on this planet. There are thousands of conservation teams and researchers working to save our species, but they don’t have an easy way to connect and share information and make informed decisions.
“Xylo Systems will aggregate data from various sources and provide insights on some of these conservation projects so decision makers can have a 360-degree view of what is happening and optimise resources to save these species.
“I dream of a future where my grandchildren can see koala’s in the wild. I’m passionate about bringing conservation and technology together to create a sustainable future for humans and animals.”
As the Women of the Future winner, Camille will receive a prize valued at over $100,000 including $40,000 investment with La Trobe Financial. The investment will help fund the programming needed to bring in deep tech AI learning that requires specialist software engineers to teach the system to make decision. Xylo Systems also recently received a grant from Taronga Zoo where they are trialling the software.
The Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly, Nicole Byers, said: ”What an absolute honour it is to be celebrating successful young entrepreneurs of the future. The Australian Women’s Weekly is committed to supporting the ambitions of female trailblazers across diverse sectors. Congratulations to this year’s winner Camille – in what is a critical time for the nation’s wildlife, Xylo Systems is the key to rapidly saving our species.”
The event featured a thought-provoking panel discussion between radio and television presenter Yumi Stynes, businesswoman and activist Wendy McCarthy AO, women’s rights activist Manal al-Sharif, journalist and television presenter, Natalie Barr and moderated by event host Fran Kelly.
The panel covered various topics and issues such as consent, tied to the petition circulated by Sydney school girl Chanel Contos as well as a sharing thoughts around societal and positive outcomes around the changing world of the pandemic to a discussion around cancel culture, social media and the responsibility of social media platforms to provide a safe space.
The panel particularly highlighted the terrible trolling happening on social media. Natalie Barr revealed her horrific and “dangerous” social media attacks she received over one Sunrise segment.
“I have had to turn off notifications on twitter, I cried, I went into a corner, then I thought I’m strong but what about the poor 15 year old girl in the school yard, how does she cope with this.”
Wendy McCarthy responded about whether or not to stay on social media, “We need to fight don’t let them own you, you have to say no, just no, but you’ve got to stay there (on social media) and use the delete button.”
Yumi Stynes who took part in the discussion around consent commented, “A few people have mentioned Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame today. I urgently wanted to point out today, they are nice, they have supportive partners, they have good teeth and they don’t have a criminal record but for a lot of people who have experiences of sexual assualt don’t fit this criteria, they’re not so glossy so I think as women in power here, in this room, we need to remember there are a lot of other people we need to gather with us and support them.”
A number of high-profile guests including Ronni Kahn, Anna Bligh AC, Blanche D’Alpuget, Lady Lynne Cosgrove, Jenny Kee, fashion designers Bianca and Allegra Spender, Olympic Gold medallist, Bronte Campbell, singer Mahalia Barnes, media personalities Natalie Barr, Edwina Bartholomew, Jessica Rowe, Natarsha Belling, Melissa Doyle, Angela Bishop, Kylie Gillies, inspirational speaker and author Aminata Conteh-Biger and I Am Woman director Unjoo Moon attended the luncheon.
The panel of judges tasked with choosing one winner for the awards this year were: Ita Buttrose (AC OBE, Chair of the ABC); Yasmin Poole (Youth Advocate and Plan International Australia Ambassador); Julie Bishop (Australian National University Chancellor and Former Foreign Minister); Narelda Jacobs (Network 10 presenter and journalist); Tanya Plibersek (Federal Shadow Minister for Education and Women); Nicole Byers (Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly and group Publisher Women’s Lifestyle & Food at Are Media); and Caterina Nesci (Director of ESG and International Partnerships at La Trobe Financial),
The Christmas issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly, featuring Women of the Future Awards winner, is on sale now.