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Awards

Why launch Sikh Awards?

  • The Sikh community positively contributes to the broader society during times of need in areas that demand assistance (such as floods, fires and droughts), and also in many other areas in everyday life, (such as business, government, media, medical, agriculture, and a range of other fields).
  • The natural approach from the Sikh community is not to seek recognition of this effort but help whenever there is a need. As a direct consequence, there are many unsung heroes and heroines in the Sikh community whose contributions go unnoticed.
  • It is therefore important we recognise the effort and contribution from these individuals and celebrate when they have excelled as role models in society. This is not just to make them feel proud of their achievements, but also to create a positive and informative view in the broader community of the Sikh faith and our values, identity and culture.

What Award categories are there

  • The following principles underpin all awards, in terms of informing the categories:

    1. The value of Seva (selfless service) should be evident, as framed in Sikhi; and
    2. The activities should positively contribute to the social and economic development of Australia

Award Categories
and Criteria

Excellence in Agriculture

(Recognition of farming, cultivation or livestock)

Recognition of outcomes in crop farming, livestock, or contributions to new ways of agriculture that have had a positive impact in the industry.  The award recognises achievement across the field of agriculture broadly, beyond active farming, to include areas such as sustainable agriculture, scientific research and the development of innovative techniques that contribute to the Australian economy and is recognised in the local community.

Excellence in Arts, Culture or Music

(Recognition of artistic and imaginative contribution)

Recognition of original contributions to productions and activities that are imaginative and extend the boundaries of arts, culture, and music, including contributions to the broader Australian community. In Arts, this could cover visual arts such painting, sculpture, drawing, or photography. For Culture, this could be dance, theatre or other performing arts that promote a specific level of cultural awareness. In Music, the nomination could be for an artist, musician, songwriter, or producer.

EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS AND ENTERPRISE

(Leadership Development in private or public sectors)

This award will recognize and honour individuals who have made significant contributions to the business world, showcasing outstanding innovation, sustainability, growth and ethical practices. This award is aimed at highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit within the Sikh community, acknowledging those, who not only achieve business success, but also positively impact their communities and industries.

Excellence in Community Service

(Recognise contribution towards broader public/community)

Recognition of voluntary community service towards Australia-wide public or community needs. The award recognises community service which captures the spirit of Sewa, and which has had a significant impact in changing lives and communities.

Excellence in a Professional Field

(Exemplary contribution in a professional capacity)

This award recognises outstanding performance by qualified professionals, who have made a significant contribution to, and are recognised as an expert in their chosen field. Examples of professions considered for this award could include areas such as scientific research, accounting, finance, law, IT, education, transport, or health but not restricted to these.

AUSTRALIAN SIKH WOMAN OF THE YEAR

(Outstanding role model for the community)

This award will celebrate the achievement of Sikh women who are role models for the community and have shown outstanding leadership in their chosen fields or have excelled in one or more aspects of the award categories.  It also recognises women who have worked to advance gender equality and the status of women, either within the Sikh community or more broadly among the Australian community.  Women who are nominated for other categories may, in addition, also be nominated for this category.

Excellence in Sports

(Coverage in sports and athletics)

Recognition of achievement in sports and athletics to a high standard of proficiency. The sports should have a competitive element in which achievement has been demonstrated at a national level in Australia, either as a participant, a coach, or in an affiliated role.

Young Australian Sikh of the Year

(Emerging leader in the community, < 30years old)

This award will be limited to those under 30 years old at the time of the annual awards and who are also significant role models for other Sikh youth. The award will seek to recognise a youth leader that excels in one or more aspects of the seven award categories. Nominees for other categories who are under 30 years of age may, in addition, also be nominated for this category.

Award Categories
and Criteria

Excellence in Agriculture

(Recognition of farming, cultivation or livestock)

Recognition of outcomes in crop farming, livestock, or contributions to new ways of agriculture that have had a positive impact in the industry.  The award recognises achievement across the field of agriculture broadly, beyond active farming, to include areas such as sustainable agriculture, scientific research and the development of innovative techniques that contribute to the Australian economy and is recognised in the local community.

Excellence in Arts, Culture or Music

(Recognition of artistic and imaginative contribution)

Recognition of original contributions to productions and activities that are imaginative and extend the boundaries of arts, culture, and music, including contributions to the broader Australian community. In Arts, this could cover visual arts such painting, sculpture, drawing, or photography. For Culture, this could be dance, theatre or other performing arts that promote a specific level of cultural awareness. In Music, the nomination could be for an artist, musician, songwriter, or producer.

EXCELLENCE IN BUSINESS AND ENTERPRISE

(Leadership Development in private or public sectors)

This award will recognize and honour individuals who have made significant contributions to the business world, showcasing outstanding innovation, sustainability, growth and ethical practices. This award is aimed at highlighting the entrepreneurial spirit within the Sikh community, acknowledging those, who not only achieve business success, but also positively impact their communities and industries.

Excellence in Community Service

(Recognise contribution towards broader public/community)

Recognition of voluntary community service towards Australia-wide public or community needs. The award recognises community service which captures the spirit of Sewa, and which has had a significant impact in changing lives and communities.

Excellence in a Professional Field

(Exemplary contribution in a professional capacity)

This award recognises outstanding performance by qualified professionals, who have made a significant contribution to, and are recognised as an expert in their chosen field. Examples of professions considered for this award could include areas such as scientific research, accounting, finance, law, IT, education, transport, or health but not restricted to these.

AUSTRALIAN SIKH WOMAN OF THE YEAR

(Outstanding role model for the community)

This award will celebrate the achievement of Sikh women who are role models for the community and have shown outstanding leadership in their chosen fields or have excelled in one or more aspects of the award categories.  It also recognises women who have worked to advance gender equality and the status of women, either within the Sikh community or more broadly among the Australian community.  Women who are nominated for other categories may, in addition, also be nominated for this category.

Excellence in Sports

(Coverage in sports and athletics)

Recognition of achievement in sports and athletics to a high standard of proficiency. The sports should have a competitive element in which achievement has been demonstrated at a national level in Australia, either as a participant, a coach, or in an affiliated role.

Young Australian Sikh of the Year

(Emerging leader in the community, < 30years old)

This award will be limited to those under 30 years old at the time of the annual awards and who are also significant role models for other Sikh youth. The award will seek to recognise a youth leader that excels in one or more aspects of the seven award categories. Nominees for other categories who are under 30 years of age may, in addition, also be nominated for this category.

Nominating &
Selection Process

Who can be nominated

  • Sikhs from across Australia can be nominated from any state, or community. Nominations can come from inside or outside of the Sikh community.
  • There will be a clear process to nominate people, that allows detail on their achievements to be outlined.
  • Dates for nominations, and the details to be provided for each nomination will be communicated via the Australian Sikh Awards website. Self-nominations will not be possible.

Who will decide winners and how

  • A panel of seven representatives from across Australia, to ensure diversity across geographies, professions, gender and age groups. Representatives selected are expected to remain in their roles for a period two years.
  • Once nominations are received, the panel review and determine the winner in each award category.

Selection Panel

Ms. Harinder Sidhu

Patron

Ms Sidhu was appointed as Australian High Commissioner to New Zealand on 31 March 2022.

Ms Sidhu is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and was most recently Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Secretary. She has previously served overseas as Australia’s High Commissioner to India and in Moscow and Damascus.

In Canberra, she has served in DFAT in senior leadership roles, as well as in the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Office of National Assessments and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Ms Sidhu holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney.

Tarandeep Singh Ahuja

Chair of the selection panel

Tarandeep Singh Ahuja is a partner at McKinsey & Company, the preeminent global management consulting firm, based in Melbourne. He has been with McKinsey for over 16 years and leads their Energy practice in Australia and New Zealand and their Product Development and Procurement practice across Asia-pacific.

Tarandeep advises clients across energy, resources, industrial and consumer goods sectors on a wide range of topics – strategy, growth, performance improvement and digital transformations, and is leading the thinking on the energy transition. Previously, Tarandeep worked at Unilever in India developing and implementing digital solutions across its Food and Beverages supply chain.

Tarandeep is passionate about strengthening the relations between Australia and India and supported the development of the government’s India Economic Strategy to 2035. He chairs the advisory committee of Asialink Business at University of Melbourne and was invited as a guest speaker at the inaugural Asian-Australian Leadership Summit. Tarandeep is also a member of the advisory board of the Young Sikh Professionals Network.

Tarandeep holds an integrated M.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, and an MBA from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.

Gurmesh Singh

Gurmesh is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing Coffs Harbour for the NSW Nationals.

He is a third-generation Coffs local and has worked in various industries from digital marketing to design, as well as agriculture. He is dedicated to ensuring small industries aren’t forgotten and there is less red tape so such businesses can thrive.

Gurmesh is passionate about representing the constituents of the Coffs Harbour electorate in the State Parliament and ensuring that the Coffs Harbour electorate gets its fair share of State Government funding.

Gurmesh’s path to Parliament is summed up by a journey that began 120 years ago with the decision made by his great-grandfather to migrate to Australia, and his vision for growth and opportunity can be read in his Inaugural Speech at the NSW Parliament House in May 2019.

Ms. Manpreet Kaur Singh

Manpreet is a media personality and multi-award-winning journalist working with Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), which is the world’s largest and most diverse multilingual broadcaster. Currently working as a Program Manager, she oversees the editorial and digital output of several language programs on SBS Radio.

Having worked for national television and newspapers in India, Manpreet joined SBS in 1993 as Executive Producer of the Punjabi program. Serving audiences through investigative stories about social justice, cultural cohesion, and multiculturalism, she has won several national and international awards: UNAA Media Peace Award, New York Festivals, NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communication Awards, Victorian Multicultural Awards of Excellence, GOPIO award to name a few, also being named finalist for several accolades including the prestigious Walkley Awards and The AIBs.

Her work exploring the history of Indian arrival in Australia has been included as individual contributions in at least three published books, and was commissioned as an educational resource for high school students in Australia.

Manpreet has served Our Watch as a member of the Media Advisory Group for several years to promote ethical reporting of family violence in the media, also participating as a guest speaker at the Our Watch Fellowship Program delivered in conjunction with the Walkley Foundation. Working closely with Australian Football League, she was part of the AFL Multicultural Focus Group for many years, going on to become an AFL commentator who called multiple matches in Hindi and Punjabi between 2103-16.

In 2017, she was recognised in a global publication as one of 500 Sikh Role Models – from different walks of lifeand in the following year, her contributions were recognised by the international website Sikh Role Models under the category ‘Authors and Writers’.

Manpreet holds a post graduate degree in Mass Communication, and over the years, has written articles for several publications including India Today, Indian Express, Hindustan times, and Sikhchic.com

Ms. Kuljit Jassal

Kuljit came to Fremantle in Western Australia (WA) as a young school student on a Student Exchange in 1980. She then migrated with her family to Perth in 1982.

She joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1988 as a Logistics Officer. Kuljit saw much of this country as an Australian Defence Force Recruiting Officer when she was posted to the Recruiting Unit in Melbourne, Victoria.

After nearly 13years in the RAAF, she joined the Education Department (WA) where she is currently employed as a Systems Officer.

Kuljit has always been involved in community activities through school parent groups, School Boards, local Cancer fundraisers and more recently by volunteering with the Australian Sikh Heritage Association. She enjoys learning about how and when Sikhs first came to this country. Kuljit is very proud of her Sikh heritage and is always wanting to share it with the wider community.

Kuljit holds a Bachelor of Business from Curtin University and Graduate Certificate in Business from the University of New England.

Pam Bains

Pam was appointed Group Executive Network at Aurizon in March 2020. Prior to this appointment, she held the position of Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive Strategy from 2017.

Pam has been with Aurizon since 2010 and has held various senior management roles at the company during this time. She played a key role during Aurizon Holdings’ initial public offering and listing on the Australian Stock Exchange, capital restructuring and separation of Aurizon’s Network business, as well as support for various regulatory reforms which have improved the financial performance of Aurizon’s Network business.

Pam has broad experience in finance and leadership roles in both Australia and globally over the past 25 years. Prior to joining Aurizon, she was the Head of Finance, Customer Service at Telefonica O2 UK, a subsidiary of one of the largest global integrated broadband and telecommunications providers. She has also held senior management roles at Next PLC, General Electric and Arthur Andersen.

Pam holds a BA (Honours) Accounting and Finance, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Pam is also a Non-Executive Director of NBN Co Limited, a Director of Aurizon Network Pty Ltd, Integrated Logistics Company Pty Ltd, Coal Network Capacity Co Pty Ltd and an Advisory Board Member for the Young Sikh Professionals Network (YSPN).

Pardip Pangly

Pardip is a multifaceted technology executive leader with over 20 years’ experience across operations, program and department/account management. He has specialised in the automotive sector to deliver innovative technical solutions that have supported major business transformations. He currently managing three of his own businesses spanning the Caravan, Manufacturing and Farming sectors.

Pardip’s passion is sports, and he has been a soccer coach and player for 20 years across seniors and juniors. This has included a player, coach and manager at the Australian Sikh games for 20 years.

Pardip is Secretary of the Adelaide Punjab Lions Sport Club (Soccer, Cricket, Basketball and Netball), and has held a number of roles for the Australian National Sikh Sports and Cultural Council

(ANSSACC), including being Treasurer of the South Australian Regional ANSSACC, Tournament Director of the 2017 Adelaide Sikh Games, and also has been Secretary of the National ANSSACC Committee since 2018.

Pardip holds a Bachelor of Manufacturing & Automation Engineering, and a Masters in Commerce/Engineering from the University of South Australia.

Sarvjit Girn

Sarv is a senior executive and Non-Executive Director with a career spanning more than 30 years in the financial services sector in Australia, the UK and Asia. He has a proven track record in driving business change enabled by digital platforms for service, productivity, innovation and revenue goals.

He has been the CIO for I-MED Radiology Network since April 2022 where he leads the technology platforms that enable a clinic network spanning metropolitan and regional Australia, and a growing foot print of international radiology services.

Previously, he was the Chief Information Officer of the Reserve Bank of Australia between 2012 and 2018; and has also held strategic and transformational roles at Cuscal Payments, MLC Life Insurance, Westpac, and the Commonwealth Bank.

Sarv holds a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from the University of London and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Sarv is Non-Executive Director of the Reserve Bank Health Society (RBHS), and is also Chair of the Audit Committee and Member of the Risk Committee.  He is a Non-Executive Director of the Can Too Foundation, where he also Chairs the Audit and Risk Committee.