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March 31, 2020

The top 10 humans we’d like to see win at the 40 Under 40 Awards

Meet the 10 men and women we're nominating for this awards program that celebrates leadership in all its guises.


Filling out application forms when you’re a busy, successful person is usually not a top priority, but with the new restrictions on movement and the universal work-from-home status besetting us all, we are hoping this year’s 40 Under 40 awards are the most applied to yet.

The 40 Under 40 awards are pitched at celebrating the 40 brightest South Australian business stars and future leaders of SA. Unlike other awards who focus on the spreadsheet of ticked boxes, this awards program looks at innovation in a holistic way and measures the impact of individuals through a myriad of metrics.


Nominate someone or apply to the 40 Under 40 Awards here.

South Australia is going to need leadership at every level coming out of the COVID-19 lockdown and – as Matt Clemow wrote recently – we’re going to have an unprecedented opportunity to reshape our city and state.

CityMag meets so many people each year through our work in the media and our commitment to ‘helping good things grow’ that we could suggest a list of 40 worthy individuals. But that would be greedy. Here are the top 10 people we’re nominating and will be pushing an application form in front of very shortly.


Sali SasiLeigh Street Wine Room

When CityMag first met Sali Sasi in April 2019, she accompanied her husband Nathan for an interview about their upcoming bar and restaurant, Leigh Street Wine Room. She was a partner in the business but didn’t want to be quoted, as, she said, hospitality was Nathan’s thing. She would be more of a background player.

Sali is an Adelaide repatriate. She left the city for the east coast where she became an entrepreneur, founding the incredibly successful fashion ecommerce brand Stylerunner with her sister, Julie Stevanja. She eventually left the business and, after a short stint living in Indonesia where Nathan had been drafted to work as a chef, the duo brought their family home to Adelaide.

Five months after our initial meeting, Leigh Street Wine Room opened, and Sali officially joined Adelaide’s hospitality family as an owner and front-of-house operator. Leigh Street Wine Room is a widely lauded venue – not only by local clientele but by fastidious critics too – and has attracted a highly knowledgeable and engaged staff.

The bar’s commendations are attributable equally to Nathan and Sali’s inputs – Nathan’s unparalleled talent as a chef and Sali’s passion for service and for her hospitality compatriots. As the coronavirus pandemic began to severely impact restaurants, cafés and bars, Sali became one of the local industry’s most powerful advocates.

Through sheer force of will (and a number of Instagram Stories), she brought Premier Steven Marshall into a room with 30 prominent hospo owners to talk about what their industry needed to survive. (All the while dealing with a weird story the UK’s Daily Mail picked up about a local influencer threatening to cough on her staff.) Before she left Adelaide, her strongest link to Adelaide’s hospitality scene was a history working at Heaven in 1999. She is now a leading voice amongst her contemporaries and the Adelaide’s restaurant scene is all the better for it.


Ellie KammerArtist and advocate

The interests of women’s health have – for millennia – been ignored, wilfully misinterpreted and blatantly denied. This is still widely the case, but there are a huge number of current-day artists, activists, politicians, media folk and everyday citizens working to not only bring light to experiences uniquely felt by women, but also to engender better understanding and to help foster a future where the concerns of women are taken seriously.

Few have done this as viscerally as Adelaide artist Ellie Kammer, whose series of paintings on endometriosis have helped to make the pain felt by those with the condition an undeniable reality.

From a studio space adjacent to her sister’s café, Karma & Crow, Ellie has also reached into the lives of powerful people – the likes of Lena Dunham and Caitlin Stasey, with whom she has continued her work in the themes of body autonomy and female power.

Ellie is relentless in her work, with a new series currently in production (check out her Instagram for work-in-progress updates), as well as in her role as a community leader – talking openly with her audience about her work and her experience with endometriosis and encouraging the same open frankness from them.

All of this is without mentioning her incredible technical talent as a painter. Ellie Kammer is a force that is shaping Adelaide and the world.


Dino VryniosArchitect & entrepreneur

Two weeks ago we sat down with Dino Vrynios to catch up on what his world looks like since departing Grieve Gillett Anderson architects. Everything he shared with us was mind-blowing from his own experiences with crippling stress through to his neural renaissance and the establishment of his own firm – Das Studio – with wife Sara Horstman a year ago.

Dino has built a firm that employs 16 and is radically re-shaping the value proposition of architecture as he works across a portfolio of business interests, which all dovetail around the concept of maintaining design integrity. Dino is incredibly generous with his time, he’s happy to share his learnings with fellow architects and is an incredibly passionate advocate for his profession nationally and locally with the Festival of Architecture.

Dino sees the world for what it is and what it can be and he’s that brilliant sort of designer who can connect the two, while reducing waste and improving outcomes. Dino is a once-in-a-generation architect in our opinion.

Tamrah Petruzzelli – Drink Easy Awards

Tamrah Petruzzelli left Opinion Media and the Adelaide Review where she helped guide and, really, establish the Hot 100 Wines event as South Australia’s most exciting and coveted wine prize.

Leaving her job at the local media company, Tamrah has since established the multi faceted communications agency Super Assembly and the national Drink Easy Awards – a gargantuan awards program that covered beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages across Australia.

South Australia needs more leaders who are working to forge better relationships between our world class food and beverage industry and the rest of Australia as we can only see this leading to greater exposure, new markets and growth for our state.


Picture by Lauren Bezzina

Dylan FairweatherAlpha Box & Dice

Dylan Fairweather was on the first list we ever put together for the 40-under-40 awards program, but he didn’t fill out his application. Well now’s the time to fill it out Dylan!

CityMag was in awe of the operation we discovered earlier this year when we spent the day with Alpha Box & dice learning about their growing international business based out of Adelaide. Dylan is a leader in the industry not only because his company makes great wine that people love to drink, but because he’s one of the first in the industry to be bringing the millennial or “lean” startup mentality to the wine business.

There’s even more reason to recognise Dylan right now as he’s working tirelessly to keep his full time employees on throughout the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and last week launched a new partnerships program that sees Alpha Box & Dice sharing their marketing savvy and digital distribution systems with other – ostensibly competing – wineries in South Australia. What people do in a crisis reveals their true character and we can see a heart of gold at the centre of Alpha Box & Dice.



Tkay Maidza – Singer-rapper

The Zimbabwean-born Australian Tkay Maidza describes herself as “asap peanut” on her Instagram. But the 23-year-old is anything but small. The singer-rapper just returned to her hometown after supporting underground rap star Princess Nokia on tour in Europe – and somehow had time to release the bass-heavy track ‘Awake’ featuring JPEGMAFIA too – and is gearing up for another international Asia in September.

Tkay has been referenced by other South Australian musicians as paving a way for them into the industry. You can’t be what you can’t see and Tkay is a hyper visible face and talent that is inspiring young women and musicians everywhere.



Isobel Marshall – TABOO

Isobel Marshal co-founded social enterprise TABOO with Eloise Hall in 2016. The undergraduates aimed to provide a product that could improve the lives of individual people, and they eventually landed on fixing the menstrual hygiene market by providing organic cotton pads and tampons. Last year they debuted their first batch of products with profits from sales dedicated to sanitary health projects in developing countries.






Emily-Lee Sheahan The Commons Studio & Exchange

Emily-Lee Sheahan has championed slow and sustainable fashion for years, firstly with her co-owned initiative SWOP and now with her current independent shopfront the Commons Studio and Exchange. Emily works seven days a week. She commands the Commons and pulls extra FOH shifts at Low and Slow and in her spare time runs the uber-successful SLOW fashion festival. Her commitment to her shop not only provides people who are fashion-focussed with a place to buy affordable and ethical items from brands such as Issey Miyake and Comme des Garçons, but her store on Field Street is a linchpin to one of the city’s most interesting and ambitious creative community.

Emily’s impact on the cultural diversity and vibrancy of our city has been significant and encouraging.



Sally WilsonArchea Architects

In such a short amount of time Sally Wilson has made a big contribution to the calibre of our design industry here in South Australia. From her decision to go it alone as a small practice to embracing growth through partnership to launch Archaea late last year, Sally is building a business focused on improving Adelaide one design at a time.

In a traditionally (and still) male-dominated industry, Sally is always going to avoid gendered discussions and instead prove her influence from her steadfast concentration on the details of her work. Sally is involved with the Country Women’s Association’s latest restoration project and is a champion of accessible architecture more broadly.



Josh BakerEntrepreneur

We’re sure Josh has been nominated many times before, but this time we’re going to stand over him (from a healthy distance of at least 1.5m) and watch him fill out his application.

Josh has created some of our city’s most memorable hospitality experiences and this year – before COVID-19 – he was on a new trajectory towards even greater achievements with a new pipeline of projects.

Josh is that person who makes Adelaide feel good about itself and he’s changed the face of our city and what we can expect from our hospitality industry.


Know someone extraordinary? ARE someone extraordinary?

Nominate for Solstice Media’s 40-Under-40 Awards program and kick off a new level in your career.

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