In Conversation with the 2023 Top100 Student Winners

Posted by Clareese Packer

The 2023 Top100 Future Leaders Awards went off without a hitch earlier this year, with an interesting assessment centre group task before the dazzling award ceremony. Several of the employers expressed how impressed they were with the high calibre of the applicants, leaving them with some very tough decisions to make in terms of choosing a winner!

If you’re considering applying for the 2024 Top100 Future Leaders Awards, read on to learn about some of the things the candidates took away from the whole experience other than the awards themselves!

What were some of the key takeaways from the experience?

Right from the start of the assessment centre, it was clear that connections had already been formed between the candidates. Networking, connection and collaboration seemed to be recurring themes when the students were asked what their biggest takeaway from the experience was, including Stephanie Dunn.

As the winner of the Quantium Data Science Top100 Future Leader Award, she said that it was inspiring to hear about all of the work the other candidates were doing, and to hear fresh perspectives.

“It’s really exciting to talk to other people and hear about their perspective on the future, and the stuff that other people are doing who are also around my age. It’s really inspiring to see people doing so much for their communities, getting so involved in industries.”


Evie Butler, who won the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Accounting Top100 Future Leader Award Award, added that being an active listener is really important, and that she learned that you really can connect with anyone. 

“You can really learn so much from others. Even though, say, all of us are studying accounting, we all have the same technical skillset, everyone really brought different ideas to the table.”

Muskain Jain, who won the Clifford Chance Social Impact Top100 Future Leader Award, also mentioned how supportive the other candidates were throughout the whole process and also agreed that the people were the best part about the experience.


Similarly, Oscar Mason, the Suncorp Resilient Communities Top100 Future Leader Award winner, said that the Top100 was a great place to make supportive connections that could have the potential to be beneficial in the future.

The importance of teamwork was one of the other big takeaways from the winners, namely Caleb Fitzgerald and Laura Suine, who both won the Lendlease Placemaking Top100 Future Leader Award for Property, Development and Construction.

“Absolutely, team work is so essential and really understanding everyone else’s skillsets, because everyone was very diverse, coming from lots of different places and lots of different backgrounds, so that was really awesome to experience,” Laura said.


Rayanne Haidar, the Unilever Sales and Marketing Top100 Future Leader Award winner, said that simply putting yourself out there and trying new things can reap great outcomes too,

“The things that can happen when you just try new things, take the opportunities, immerse yourself in new things that you never would’ve thought that would be possible, and I think the things that can come out of it are amazing."

Emerson Nugent, the Goodman Fielder FMCG Top100 Future Leader Award winner, also resonated with this,

“My number one takeaway is that, like, taking risks and putting yourself out there is absolutely the best thing that a young person can do and we are so grateful that we are in a time where there are so many opportunities for us to take those risks,” he said.



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Some final words of wisdom from the 2023 winners

Jordan Moss, the winner of the Ashurst Law Top100 Future Leader Award, said that his key takeaway from the experience is to be open-minded, which is great advice for anyone considering applying for the 2024 Top100 Future Leader Awards.

“Make sure you’re open and to network, say hello to everyone and make sure - don’t just be ‘Oh, I’m a law student’, or ‘I’m a part of this award’: talk to everyone, that person could be your next employer,” he said.

Feeling very humbled after his win, he also hopes to inspire others from the Indigenous community and around Australia to achieve and strive for awards such as the Top100 Awards.


Felix Tang, who won the Westpac Banking, Insurance & Financial Services Top100 Future Leader Award, said that everyone has their own unique skills, so try not to be nervous when trying things out.

“You should always give it your all, but also you shouldn’t feel too nervous when you’re going for something, because I guess everyone has their own thing that they can bring, and it doesn’t matter what your past track record is, it only matters when you do it,” he said.

Coles IT Top100 Future Leader Award winner, Natalie Leroy, added that her takeaway from the whole experience was confidence, another thing that would serve future candidates well.

“[I learned to] be confident and to feel reassured in my own knowledge and what I know as well as talk to others because we share a lot in common as well as can learn a lot from each other.”


Lastly, Lauren Richardson, the winner of the EY Innovation Top100 Future Leader Award described the wonderful experience she had participating in the Top100 Future Leader Awards. Like most of her fellow candidates, she agreed that the people were one of the best parts.

“This whole experience…Everyone worries about the future of the world, but it’s in very good hands,”

“I met so many amazing people and everyone has just supported one another, it’s been really collaborative, I’ve made so many friends, it’s a wonderful experience.”

Applications for the 2024 Top100 Future Leader Awards are now open! Find out more and submit yours here.


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