CEO and Founding Director, Brave Foundation
2019 Tasmanian Award Winner
As a once 16-year-old mother, Bernie is the founder and CEO of Australia's only national organisation, BRAVE Foundation which supports and represents 8,300 expecting and parenting teens in Australia each year. In 2018, BRAVE Foundation was awarded $4.4 M funding to run a nationwide trial connecting 350 expecting and parenting teens to education and support opportunities. As founder Bernie won this funding by developing such a compelling vision, that she attracted a group of champions who opened doors for her. Over 12 years of lobbying Federal ministers and National Human Rights Commissioners BRAVE now has funding. Bernie have a strong sense of destiny, so being a teen, single mother she overcame shame and stigma and became a champion for marginalised groups, completing her high school education and becoming a qualified registered nurse; upskilling her corporate governance capacity that enabled her to be appointed to Boards, and strengthening her influence internationally to highlight women who society deems are invisible. Bernie has also been awarded Barnardos Australian Mother of the Year, Telstra Tasmanian Woman of the Year, and Tasmanian Australian of the Year.