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Nominations now open!

Inspired by the work of Rachel Whitford, the namesake of the major award, the Queensland Women in Leadership Awards recognise the outstanding work, resilience and leadership skills of women from across the state. Presented by BEMAC’s parent company Access, and held on International Women’s Day, the awards acknowledge the influential work of women leaders (both established and emerging) and highlight the fundamental role these individuals play in developing, empowering and contributing to the community.



Gender equality across leadership roles in business and within boardrooms remains a significant issue in Australia. According to the Australian Government and Workplace Gender Equality Agency, over one-quarter (29.9%) of Agency reporting organisations have no key management personnel who are women, with only 28.5% of women in the workforce holding key management positions.

These figures reflect the strong need for us to get behind the women who are leading the way and inspiring other women to be the best they can be. These awards were created to focus on the merit, credibility, and hard work of women across Queensland and encourage them to continue, grow, lead and inspire.

Rachel Whitford

Behind the Awards:

It was Access’ long-serving Board Chairperson, the committed, compassionate and transformative Rachel Whitford, who inspired The Queensland Women in Leadership Awards. Rachel has been influencing a generation of young Queenslanders in the south-east for over two decades. Rachel has been a servicing Police Officer since 1991, and has dedicated her life’s work to ensuring culturally and linguistically diverse communities across south-east Queensland have every opportunity to live in a safe environment, free from discrimination and violence, and able to interact with law enforcement officials.

Through her tireless work and dedication, Rachel transformed the Logan PCYC into one of the most responsive and community-focused branches in Queensland. Under her guidance, the Logan PCYC has produced high-quality youth and community development and crime prevention programs that are being replicated in other branches across the state. Her work has empowered thousands of young people in the Logan community. In addition to this work, she has also chaired the board of one of the state’s largest refugee organisations, Access, all whilst raising her 5 children.

Upon Rachel’s retirement from the Police Force in 2017, Access honoured this exceptional woman with the creation of the Rachel Whitford Award for Women in Leadership, to recognise other great women whose efforts and ethos continue to inspire, empower and transform.

Nominations Close Sunday February 18.

For more information or to nominate someone, visit