December 11, 2020

2020 CSI Staff Award recipients announced

The Centre for Social Impact’s second annual staff awards have been announced today.

Watch our video announcement with CSI's CEO, Professor Kristy Muir and read below about each recipient’s achievements and why they have been awarded their category - in the words of their nominators. 

We wanted to publicly recognise and reward these extraordinary team members and also thank all of the CSI team for their ongoing and remarkable commitment to catalysing social change around Australia.

Congrats to our award recipients!

Best Research Paper Award

Dr Graham Dwyer

For: 'Post Inquiry Sensemaking: The Case of the ‘Black Saturday’ Bushfires', published in Organization Studies (ABDC Journal List: A*, Impact Factor: 3.96) in January 2020 (with Co-Authors, Professor Cynthia Hardy and Professor Steve Maguire). The paper presents qualitative findings from interviews with 62 emergency management officers who were cross-examined by the 2009 Royal Commission after the Black Saturday Bushfires. The paper demonstrates strong methodological rigour and a rigorous interpretive analysis of secondary documents.

Catalysing Change Award

Danjoo Koorliny Project Team: Led by the Danjoo Koorliny Aboriginal Elders and leaders, Dr Noel Nannup OAM, Dr Richard Walley OAM, Professor Emeritus Colleen Hayward AM and Carol Innes, supported by Josey Hansen, Farley Garlett, Oral McGuire, Sharon Wood-Kenny, Ezra Jacobs-Smith, Kobi Morrison, Louise O’Reilly, Katie Stubley, Dr John Stubley, Professor Paul Flatau, Shenali Perera, Zoe Street, Mags Martin, Kath Conway and many others.

The respected leaders of Danjoo Koorliny have worked with CSI's team in inviting everyone on a journey of walking together as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people towards 2029 (200 years of colonisation in WA) and beyond. Danjoo Koorliny is a bold, long-term, large-scale, Aboriginal-led systems change project which has secured partnerships with numerous government departments, businesses, community and not-for-profit organisations.


Cultural Builder Award

Dr Emma Lee

For: Building a culturally safe, collaborative and generous culture between CSI partners. This can be seen in many places but is particularly evident in her selfless support of the Aboriginal-led Danjoo Koorliny Walking Together Project, from CSI Swinburne. Despite being involved in numerous projects in her home of Tasmania, and elsewhere on the east coast, she has taken the time and energy to support the Danjoo Koorliny project at CSI UWA.

Director's Choice Awards

CSI Swinburne: Kata Saporta

Kate is the Manager of the Swinburne Social Startup Studio which embodies CSI’s commitment to catalysing social change through evidence-informed support for practice leaders. Since its launch in mid-2019, the Studio has provided support to more than 50 organisations and in 2020 expanded its focus to provide clinic support for social enterprises affected by COVID 19 and the 2019/2020 bushfire crises, along with early stage development training for those exploring social enterprise for the first time. As manager of the Studio, Kate coordinates all aspects of delivery and applies her expertise to providing bespoke support in business and financial modelling alongside designing for social purpose and impact. She is a generous leader, an excellent team player, and a powerful supporter of a more inclusive economy.

CSI UNSW: Anna Cessario

Anna has proven herself to be an invaluable member of CSI and has supported the entire CSI UNSW team through an office move last year, a successful transition to working from home during COVID, all policies and processes around CSI UNSW’s operations, our research team’s finances, and she’s also picked up many pieces of our Centre Manager role. She is a hard worker and the quiet supporter behind the scenes who enables others to work so effectively. She is a much loved and respected team member who lives and works by CSI’s values every day.

CSI UWA: Mags Martin

Mags began at CSI UWA in 2014, making her one of the longest-serving staff members of CSI across Australia. For six years Mags has led the administrative functions of the CSI UWA team, across the education, research and community programs. Mags knows how to navigate the education systems making sure that online platforms and assessments are up to date, students and teaching staff are being looked after, marks are submitted and the Alumni for Impact supported. She keeps CSI UWA’s finances in order and our personnel contracts up to date. She also manages meetings and events and most of all she maintains close personal contacts with all of our team, and our present and future students and stakeholders. Her dedicated, thorough and innovative work at CSI UWA is the glue that keeps our organisation thriving.

Impact Award

Rhonda Yanitsas

For: Her conception, commitment and delivery of the impact2020 webinar series, which has been the single biggest driver of new engagement for CSI in many years. Over the original six week period from April - June 2020, CSI gathered 8,000 registrations for our daily impact2020 webinars, of which around 60% engaged with our research, education, and catalytic activity, and have since become new stakeholders of CSI. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive and it was a truly collaborative program, which has continued with monthly webinars.

Professional Leadership Award

Elizabeth-Rose Ahearn

For: Exceptional leadership this year in the development and management of CSI's Indicator Engine platform. She has managed multiple stakeholders, as well as a team of research assistants and the resulting product is incredibly rigorous. Rose has also equipped and supported the research assistants to be independent and confident in the work, which has led to outputs such as an impressive excel documentation of all considered indicators, as well as documentation of psychometric guides for evaluating indicator validity and reliability.

Research Translation Joint Award (joint recipients)

Mentoring to Work Project Team: Professor Paul Flatau, Dr Mariana Atkins, Lisette Kaleveld, Zoe Callis, Dr Ami Seivwright and Mags Martin.

For: The team's research translation and dissemination of findings in relation to the quasi-experimental process and impact evaluation on the the Mentoring to Work Program, designed to address youth unemployment through a mentoring intervention. As the impacts of the pandemic unfolded earlier in the year, the effect of the changing economic climate on unemployed youth garnered renewed attention. The evaluation team highlighted key issues and findings in a number of ways, including radio, webinars, fact sheets, articles and videos.


Social Progress Index Project Team: Dr Megan Weier and Isabella Saunders, with Nicola Hannigan and Rhonda Yanitsas.

For: The Australian Social Progress Index, which was launched at Australian Parliament House in February 2020. Since the launch, the SPI has been translated or communicated in a number of ways including (but not limited to) national media coverage, including The Australian, ABC Radio National, ProBono News, Philanthropy Australia and The Mandarin; The presentation of 10 webinars, including six impact2020 webinars, and an invited panel participation in the Social Progress Imperatives ‘What Works 2020’ Forum; A keynote presentation at the Wayside Chapel’s Side By Side Conference; and a presentation to the Social Impact Investment Network South Australia (SINSA) board.

Teaching Excellence Award

Dr Ioana Ramia

For: Inspiring students through the social impact education program at UNSW, teaching in impact measurement and providing guest lectures. Ioana's work in digital uplift of her course has been used as an exemplar by the university, demonstrating excellence in online course design.

Teaching Innovation Award

Dr Graham Dwyer

For: Teaching innovation in extending CSI Swinburne’s reach into undergraduate cohorts and growing the undergraduate course year on year, while demonstrating innovation through authentic assessment, an innovative learning and teaching structure, and student engagement.


Back to
Download Printable File

Comments (1)

  • 25.02.21 | 9:03PM

    From the bottom of my heart, I congratulate everyone who received the award!


Make Change Matter



Sign In or Register