Programs

BETTY AMSDEN AWARD ALUMNI

Michela Kirkaldie Australian Ballet School 2011
Irina Konstantinova Australian Ballet School 2011
Sarah Penhall Arts Centre Melbourne 2011
Phoebe Russel ANAM 2011
Émer Harrington Arts Centre Melbourne 2012
Barrans Nicola Arts Centre Melbourne 2012
Emma Hunt ANAM 2012
Janet (Janice) Aldred Guide Dogs Victoria 2013
Dale Baker Australian Ballet School 2013
Bernie Manchee Arts Centre Melbourne 2013
Ivanka Zebic Arts Centre Melbourne 2013
Thomas Williams ANAM 2013
Ebony Bott Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2014
Elizabeth Hewett Australian Ballet School 2014
Liz Hewett Australian Ballet School 2014
Marilyn Rowe Australian Ballet School 2014
Sandra Stoklossa Arts Centre Melbourne 2014
Bree Bulle Royal Women’s Hospital 2015
Alix Candy Royal Women’s Hospital 2015
Cheree Hunter Foundation for Young Australians 2015
Josh Muir Foundation for Young Australians 2015
Sandra Robertson Melbourne Recital Centre 2015
Julia Truong Western Chances 2015
Jill Butty Royal Women’s Hospital 2016
Michelle Schwensen Royal Women’s Hospital 2016
Sandra Ball Australian Ballet School 2017
Jenny Ryan Royal Women’s Hospital 2017
Donna Smith Royal Women’s Hospital 2017
Kate Barnes Royal Women’s Hospital 2018
Edwyna Wilson Royal Women’s Hospital 2018
Frances Laing Epworth Hospital 2018
Marisa Stevens St Vincent’s Private Hospital 2018
Laura Bignell Royal Women’s Hospital 2019
Annie Howitt Royal Women’s Hospital 2019
Jo O’Connor Royal Women’s Hospital 2019
Craig Comrie Teach for Australia 2019
Madeleine Cowell Melbourne Youth Orchestra 2019
Rhyll Dorrington Western Chances 2019
Sue Giles PolyGlot 2019
Connie Lelliot Epworth Hospital 2019
Caitlin McNaughton Melbourne Fringe 2019
Brigit Ryan Melbourne Fringe 2019
Beau Vigushin Arts Centre Melbourne 2020
Sainan Wang Epworth Hospital 2020
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Betty Amsden AO Alumni Mentoring Program – Access Monash

Liam Dogger Access Monash            2017
Brodie Hopkins Access Monash            2017
Jack (Trung Truc) Huynh Access Monash            2017
Harry Kaladis Access Monash            2017
Emily Wilson Access Monash            2017
Juan (Joeii) Hill Access Monash            2018
Zac Murfet Access Monash            2018
Edina Omerovic Access Monash            2018
Sean Paulding Access Monash            2018
Maddison Pearson Access Monash            2018
Dharmakeerthi (Namik) Perera Access Monash            2018
Rebecca Postlethwaite Access Monash            2018
Nikola Reljic Access Monash            2018
Angus Rogers Access Monash            2018
Preeti Shukla Access Monash            2018
Trinity Woodman Access Monash            2018
Sarah Brackenridge Access Monash            2019
Kelsy De Prada Access Monash            2019
Alice Kunjumon Access Monash            2019
Brooke Massee Access Monash            2019
Tanya Milnes Access Monash            2019
Antara Naim Access Monash            2019
Jennifer Nguyen Access Monash            2019
Regina Nguyen Access Monash            2019
Ivy Phan Access Monash            2019
Kealan Pugsley Access Monash            2019
Arnhie San Juan Access Monash            2019
Daniel Gouthro-Dowling Access Monash            2020
Jack Hargraves Access Monash            2020
Ananya Kaswan Access Monash            2020
Rossalean To Access Monash            2020
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Betty Amsden Opera Scholar of the Year

Nick Jones Opera Scholars Australia 2009
Nathan Lay Opera Scholars Australia 2010
Alexandar Flood Opera Scholars Australia 2011
Kate Amos Opera Scholars Australia 2011
Georgia Wilkinson Opera Scholars Australia 2012
Anna Voshege Opera Scholars Australia 2013
Jessica Boyd Opera Scholars Australia 2014
Rebecca Rashleigh Opera Scholars Australia 2015
Stephen Marsh Opera Scholars Australia 2016
Madeline Crombie Opera Scholars Australia 2017
Shimona  Rose  Opera Scholars Australia 2018
Chole Harris Opera Scholars Australia 2019
Emilia Bertolini Opera Scholars Australia 2020
Leah Philips Opera Scholars Australia 2021

Meet some of the Award winners

SIMON ABRAHAMS

2010 BETTY AMSDEN AWARD WINNER

“Betty believed in me, trusted me, and pushed and pushed and pushed me to achieve.”

1. What did the Award enable you to do (what activity did you undertake)?

Together with my then Polyglot colleague and forever friend Sue Giles, Betty supported us to travel to attend the ASSITEJ international children’s theatre congress in Copenhagen and Malmo in 2010. We saw shows, took part in conversations, extended our networks and broadened our minds.

2. What impact has the Award had on your life and career?

The 2010 trip to Copenhagen and Malmo was eye opening – I still remember seeing a work called Kalejdoskop by a Danish company called Carte Blanche, in which we crawled through a labyrinth in a constantly changing physical environment. It’s still one of the best things I’ve seen and reminded me that children’s theatre is the perfect place for experimental artwork, because children don’t come to art with expectations or form or content – they come to it with open minds and curiosity. Betty was also a supporter, friend, mentor and colleague who was not just patron of our Polyglot Foundation but also a collaborator with whom we discussed strategy and big picture ideas. She gave me career advice, and told me when I’d got it wrong. I gave her advice about other arts organisations and told her what I really thought. We’d have terse words, she’d say “I told you so” and give me that twinkle eye. Most importantly, she believed in me, trusted me, and pushed and pushed and pushed me to achieve.

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JULIA TRUONG

2015 BETTY AMSDEN AWARD WINNER

“Betty would always challenge me to think broadly, try new approaches and ensured that I was grounded in my business decisions.” 

  1. What did the mentorship enable you to do?

I was first introduced to Betty Amsden in 2013 through my Ambassadorship position at a charity that Betty was supporting. I was 19 at the time, freshly graduated from the University of Melbourne, Victorian College of the Arts and I was keen to pursue my passion for events and production management as a business. Whilst everyone around me encouraged me to start my own business, I required someone to provide me with a realistic view of what lies ahead – Betty did this. In our meeting, Betty drew a bell curve graph, explaining what I need to expect as an entrepreneur in the next 10 years. Betty was real in her approach and encouraged me to find a part-time job in a large corporation to ensure I am well rounded in my experiences. I listened and was able to pick up a parttime events role at a university. Within three months, I was promoted twice and was exposed to the nuisances of how to manage a diverse range of stakeholders. With this position, I grew as an individual, whilst being able to continue to pursue my freelance work. Within a year, I built enough clients to leave my position and dived into the business full time.

2. What impact has the mentorship had on your life and career?

Betty would always challenge me to think broadly, try new approaches and ensured that I was grounded in my business decisions. Her mentorship allowed me to realise at an early stage in my career that being a business owner is not simple and that there will be plenty of knockbacks and challenges along the way. With this realisation, I felt more prepared as I continued to grow JT. Production Management. Now, seven years on from our first meeting, my ‘freelance’ business has become a company, with a team of employees, a portfolio of our 45 brands, delivering an average of 50 events a year. Betty’s feedback wasn’t always pretty, though her honesty has helped shape my career.

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Émer Harrington

2012 BETTY AMSDEN AWARD WINNER

“My personal and professional development as a result of this award allowed me to be successful in my next career move just after Betty passed away. We had completed our four years of the program together and it was time for us both to move on.”

  1. What did the Award enable you to do?

With Betty’s award I travelled to Denmark and the UK in 2011 to attend two festivals of theatre for young people. I attended Danish Plus in Aarhus in Denmark which was a bi-annual showcase of work by the leading Danish companies making work for children and families. I then attended Imaginate Festival in Edinburgh which presented work from all over the world. I had numerous meetings and developed new relationships and networks.

2. What impact has the Award had on your life and career?

The travel that I undertook, the theatre that I saw and the international colleagues that I met and developed relationships with helped me develop my confidence in my own programming talent and enabled me to grow the families program at Arts Centre Melbourne. It was a tremendous step for me to take. My work gained more attention and I was promoted through a restructure soon after. I also developed a stronger working and personal relationship with Betty who became a great supporter of my team and me and we went on to work very closely together in developing the Betty Amsden Participation Program at Arts Centre Melbourne. This program allowed me to create real and impactful change and is one of my proudest career highlights.

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CRAIG COMRIE

2019 BETTY AMSDEN AWARD WINNER

“Simply being afforded this opportunity has given me a renewed confidence in my capability, knowledge and skills.”

  1. What did the Award enable you to do?

The Betty Amsden Award took me to New York City where I undertook a course in Leading Strategic Growth and Change. The program was focused on leading significant changes within organisations working strategically to build cross-organisational buy in, reduce resistance and achieve outcomes.

2. What impact has the Award had on your life and career?

Being a career not-for-profit staff member, having the opportunity to participate in a program at an Ivy League school like Columbia University is not something that happens often. Simply being afforded this opportunity has given me a renewed confidence in my capability, knowledge and skills. The course itself came at a time where I was leading a large change process within my organisation with varied success. It gave me a new way of orientating my thinking toward the change process and gave me unique ideas about how I could overcome the challenges we were experiencing.

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