Queanbeyan resident Hannah Wandel, who has worked tirelessly for the community, has been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List with an OAM.
She founded the not-for-profit organisation Country to Canberra over eight years ago with an aim to empower young women across regional, rural and remote Australia to reach their leadership potential.
Hannah grew up in regional South Australia and saw many young women not having access to education opportunities like their city counterparts.
"Growing up, I saw gender inequality in politics and business and a range of other issues that are negatively impacting women. So, I started an organisation that would help young women overcome both gender and geographical barriers to leadership and success," she said.
"That organisation has grown a lot over the last eight years to support thousands of women living across regional Australia in their leadership journey and helped them undertake leadership training, seek a career in politics, business or agriculture."
Hannah was the Chief Executive Officer of the organisation from 2014-2020 and has been the chair since 2018.
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She is the recipient of OAM "for services to women's affairs, and the community", her citation reads.
"I feel extremely honoured to be receiving this award. I have always had a strong commitment to the community and public service. I feel grateful to be acknowledged in this way and feel humbled," she adds.
Hannah believes in giving back to the community and has been a number of boards and committees. She has been the Executive Director, Drought Policy and Programs, National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, since 2020. She is also a member of the CEO Advisory Panel of Commonwealth Bank since 2019.
She has been an Advisor in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 2016-2018 and Ministerial and Parliamentary Liaison, Department of Defence, 2014-2016.
Hannah has received several awards and recognitions which includes ACT Young Australian of the Year in 2019; James McWha Rising Star Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Adelaide, 2019; National Emerging Leader Award, Australian Leadership Excellence Awards, 2017; ACT Emerging Leader Award, Institute of Managers and Leaders, 2017 and AFR 100 Women of Influence, 2015.