Not-for-profit leader and 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year Violet Roumeliotis has today been honoured for outstanding service to the community.
Ms Roumeliotis, the CEO of Settlement Services International (SSI), received the title of Community Fellow from Western Sydney University in recognition of her contribution to the betterment of society and the eminence she has achieved in her field.
For the past 34 years, Ms Roumeliotis has pursued a career in community services, championing the needs of migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum. As the CEO of SSI, she has overseen a period of tremendous growth in which the organisation has gone from 60 staff to more than 600, with revenue of $113 million.
Ms Roumeliotis said she was honoured to be recognised alongside Billie Sankovic — the CEO of Western Sydney Community Forum — and Professor David Rowe — an internationally recognised researcher, author and media commentator.
“My work in the not-for-profit sector has always been driven by a deep commitment to social justice and a desire to advance our society as a whole. My aim is to support people who the system has left behind or for whom the system adds barriers that can at times feel insurmountable,” she said.
“During my time in the not-for-profit sector, I’ve come to recognise the importance of learning from our peers in the business sector and applying those lessons within our own organisations.
“At SSI, for example, that means ensuring innovation and efficiency are at the core of our day-to-day work. We operate like a social business — achieving surpluses that we then re-invest in new initiatives to assist people who are at a point in their lives where they’re experiencing a vulnerability.”
Last month, Ms Roumeliotis beat nominees from across all industries and areas of Australia to be named the 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year.
“That was a win not just for me but for the broader not-for-profit sector. It recognised that we have the business know-how and entrepreneurial mindsets to create solutions that not only address key social issues but also overcome the challenges facing our peers in the corporate sector,” she said.
SSI Communications Coordinator Hannah Gartrell, 0488 680 287