Australian Women’s Weekly celebrates its 9th Women of the Future Awards

Australian Women's Weekly winner and Julia Bishop

Natassia Nicolao – the founder and director of Conserving Beauty – took out the top honour

The Australian Women’s Weekly Women of the Future Awards has awarded Natassia Nicolao – the founder and director of Conserving Beauty, Australia’s first waterless beauty brand – with the top honour.

Now in its ninth year, the major event was presented at a lunch ceremony at 12-Micron in Barangaroo on Wednesday.

Are Media partnered with La Trobe Financial as its sponsor for the third year running, cementing its commitment to social issues that disproportionately impact women. 

A biochemist and entrepreneur, 28-year-old Nicolao from Victoria was awarded for revolutionising skincare, creating beautiful products that use no water and leave no waste.

Nicolao spent years working in ethical sourcing and product development for beauty and wellness companies.

Australian Women's Weekly

AWW editor-in-chief Nicole Byers with Women of the Future Awards Natassia Nicolao and Julie Bishop

Having lived through water restrictions in drought-ridden Australia, Nicolao felt compelled to disrupt this overuse of water in the beauty industry. She now uses her skills and her passion for making a difference, and in 2021 she created Conserving Beauty.
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 2022 finalists were Sophie Li from SignHow, Gemma Lloyd founder of WORK180, Stephanie Trethewey from Motherland, Brigette McDowell of Cheeditha Energy and Nikita Fernandes of Ally Assist.
Caterina Nesci, head of La Trobe Financial’s Foundation, said they were thrilled to continue the partnership in 2022, as the awards link directly to the brand’s commitment to investing in the advancement and wellbeing of Australians from all walks of life.

“The Women of the Future Awards are the perfect fit for us. Financial literacy is one of the key pillars of our foundation and we know this social issue disproportionately affects women. This campaign truly makes a difference in people’s lives, and we know by being involved we get to play a part in that,” Nesci said.
“This year’s finalists are simply outstanding, it’s incredible to see women taking on everything from confronting sustainability and innovation to building a better world. I am very honoured to be a judge for these amazing awards and meet so many future women in leadership. I have truly enjoyed being surrounded by so many exceptional women who have made a difference and know our six trailblazing finalists will wow you.”

AWW Women of the Future Awards finalists

Award winner Nicolao said: “Taking my experiences being an operations person on the nerdy side, I decided to re-map a product life cycle and look at it from start to finish to work out better ways to do things.”
“It was just so obvious that water is involved in every stage of a product life cycle. It’s involved when we grow our ingredients, harvest, extract, manufacture, process. Everything we do has a huge water footprint – everything we use, buy, sell and make. On top of that, the beauty industry adds water, typically as the main ingredients in its products, despite it not actually having a direct benefit to our skin.”
As the Women of the Future winner, Nicolao will receive a prize valued at over $100,000 including $40,000 investment with La Trobe Financial.
Nicole Byers
, the editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly, said: “Women of the Future celebrates some of the country’s most extraordinary young women every year and provides great opportunities for us to partner with brands to drive incredible outcomes for real people.
“Like us, event sponsor La Trobe Financial, is committed to supporting our finalists’ ambitions and making an impact on the broader community.”
“Congratulations to this year’s winner Natassia – her innovative brand is a game changer for the industry.”

Australian Women's Weekly Women of the Future Awards with event host Natalie Barr and AWW editor-in-chief Nicole Byers and attendees

Natalie Barr (centre left) and AWW editor-in-chief Nicole Byers (centre right) with attendees

The event, hosted by Sunrise co-host Natalie Barr, featured a thought-provoking panel discussion, this year for the first time featuring a male champion of change.

The panel included Independent politician and businesswoman Allegra Spender, The Man Cave CEO and Young Australian of the Year finalist Hunter Johnson, co-chair of the Uluru Youth Dialogue Allira Davis and 2021 Women of the Future finalist, writer and disability activist Hannah Diviney.
The panel covered various topics from managing comments on social media to the power of community when it comes to getting a First Nations voice embedded into the Constitution to “comeback culture” as opposed to “cancel culture” as well as the continued crusade for equality across all forums.
A number of high-profile guests including Julie Bishop, The Hon. Dame Quentin Bryce, Lady Lynne Cosgrove, Blanche D’Alpuget, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, David Koch, Sarah Harris, Natarsha Belling, Kylie Gillies, Mark Berretta, inspirational speaker and author Aminata Conteh-Biger women’s rights activist Manl al-sharif 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); Julie Bishop (Australian National University chancellor and former foreign minister); Narelda Jacobs (Network 10 presenter and journalist); Nicole Byers (editor-in-chief of The Australian Women’s Weekly and group publisher women’s lifestyle & food at Are Media); Sarah Moran (2018 Women of the Future winner and Girl Geek Academy CEO and co-founder) and Caterina Nesci (head of La Trobe Financial’s Foundation).

The Women of the Future winner will appear in The Australian Women’s Weekly December issue, on sale 3rd November.

Top image: Natassia Nicolao with Julie Bishop

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