As CEO of Settlement Services International (SSI), Violet Roumeliotis was named Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year for 2017 – selected from 4000 entrants for her work building her not-for-profit organisation that helps settle refugees in Australia.

Growing up as a daughter of Greek immigrants in Western Sydney:

“My mum and my aunties were all active in the community and invisible in the mainstream because they didn’t speak English well. I grew up thinking everyone has the right to meet their potential and just because they don’t speak the language, or they have come from elsewhere, they should not be stopped and that is what fired my interest.”

At SSI (website), they help the most vulnerable in our society (refugees, asylum seekers, disabled, culturally and linguistically diverse people) equip themselves with the resources to live and succeed here in Australia. They offer a range of self-funded social enterprises that give job seekers work experience opportunities in a real workplace environment.

Violet is also part of the NSW Government’s Justice Multicultural Advisory Committee, the Federal Government’s Settlement Services Advisory Council, and Co-Chairs the NSW Joint Partnership Working Group coordinating the NSW component of the additional intake of 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq.

“Now begins the time when corporate Australia needs us in the not-for-profit sector to access the entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking needed to advance our country — the exact things we’ve built our sector on for so many years.”