08/03/2024 02:45 PM

Editor's note ; photos and vision from the award's available here - 

Inspiring women in the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) have been recognised at an awards ceremony for their contribution and accomplishments in emergency management and response this International Women’s Day.   

The inaugural Women in NSW SES Awards highlight the exceptional accomplishments of females across all areas of the Service, and recognise the great contributions they make day in, day out.  

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York APM said she was delighted to celebrate female volunteers and members who help communities across the state and make the NSW SES a great place to work.  

“There are more than 70 female Unit Commanders across the state, and a healthy representation of women in leadership roles within the staff contingent of the service,” Commissioner York said.  

“The NSW SES proudly boasts females in all levels of leadership, as well as many frontline roles including chainsaw, flood rescue, storm response, vertical rescue, peer support, chaplaincy and logistics staff, just to name a few.” 

NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Damien Johnston said the awards highlighted the work of members and staff who have demonstrated remarkable dedication, talent, and perseverance. 

“By specifically acknowledging the accomplishments of our female members, we strive to break barriers, inspire others, and build a stronger and more inclusive NSW SES community,” he said.  

Waverley-Woollahra Unit Senior Group Officer Suzy Domingues, who was named NSW SES Volunteer Woman of the Year, said it was exciting to be part of a Service that has an extensive number of women in leadership positions.  

“We’re showing the next generation, and the younger cohort of staff and volunteers, that women can go a long way,” Senior Group Officer Domingues said.  

“Embracing women as equals and recognising that they can do what men can do is great. There isn’t a role that is off limits for women in the NSW SES.

"I'm supported by a fantastic male Unit Commander, and other female leaders in our unit, without whom I would be able to achieve what we have." 

Senior Group Officer Domingues was given the prestigious award for her visionary leadership which challenges the norms to actively recruit, coach and develop female members.  

Deputy Commissioner Johnston said Suzy's commitment to advancing women in leadership has transformed workplace culture, setting a precedent for inclusivity and excellence within the NSW SES. 

NSW SES Woman Staff member of the Year was awarded to Director of Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance, Nicola Clark.  

Meanwhile, a group of nine women from the NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit were recognised with an Initiative Award for their “Women Helping Women” workshops, aimed to empower local women with vital home maintenance skills. Through structured sessions, participants gained insights into roof structure, tradie engagement, and emergency preparedness, which helped foster confidence and empowerment.  

An Outstanding Service Award – Highly Commended Certificate was awarded to Sofala Unit Commander Natalie Cole for going above and beyond as both a Community First Responder and Road Crash Rescue Operator.  

Inspector Cole’s relentless commitment to ensuring access to critical first responders, coupled with her exemplary performance and unwavering work ethic, makes her an invaluable asset to her community.  

Commissioner York, who was the first female Commissioner of an emergency service in NSW, congratulated all award recipients and thanked them for their contribution to the NSW SES.  

“It’s a privilege to lead a Service which is full of strong female leaders, from Unit Commanders to Directors and a Deputy Commissioner, who are dedicated to saving lives and creating safer communities across the state,” Commissioner York said. 
The full list of award recipients are:  

NSW SES Woman Volunteer of the Year: Suzy Domingues, Deputy Commander, Waverley-Woollahra Unit

NSW SES Woman Staff member of the Year Award: Nicola Clark, Director Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance  

Initiative Award: NSW SES Warringah-Pittwater Unit members; Sam Colwell, Sara Wakeling, Sarah Carrington, Lynsey Edwards, Juliet Smith, Michelle Puhl, Jiani Chen, Katrina Roberts and Jenny Parkes.

Outstanding Service - Highly commended: Stacey Dengate, Membership Coordinator, Dapto Unit and Natalie Cole, Unit Commander, Sofala Unit.  

Champion of Change Award: Nicola Clark, Director Organisational Strategy Planning and Performance. 

Emerging Woman Leader Award – Winners (x2): Brandy Timewell, Team Leader, Blacktown Unit and Nikki Ristoski, Deputy Unit Commander, Shellharbour Unit.  

Emerging Woman Leader - Highly Commended: Kirra Waine, Senior Project Officer, Emergency Management.

Outstanding Woman Leader Award - Winner: Suzy Domingues, Deputy Unit Commander, Waverley – Woollahra Unit.

Outstanding Woman Leader Award – Highly Commended: Therese Coutinho, Team Leader, Blacktown Unit.  

Media enquiries: NSW SES Media 1800 067 234 or

Shellarbour City
ANZAC DAY MARCH Thursday 25/04/2024 04:00 AM to 25/04/2024 09:00 AM
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