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NFP boss named EY Social Entrepreneur of the year

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Melissa Abu-Gazeleh is this year’s EY Social Entrepreneur of the year. Abu-Gazeleh founded Top Blokes when she was 19 and on a mission to improve young men’s mental health and reduce anti-social and risk taking behaviours.

Fast-forward a few years and Abu-Gazeleh’s organisation is now at the forefront of ensuring young Australian men are getting the mentorship and help they need.

On being recognised by EY, Gazeleh said, “It is a really lovely feeling. This type of work is really hard work and it was just lovely to be recognised by the judges.”

EY Oceania CEO and Managing Partner Tony Johnson said, “These exceptional [winners] have demonstrated that through hard work, sheer determination and self-belief you can achieve your dreams.”

Abu-Gazeleh said she is not sure what lead her to winning the prestigious award but she assumes it’s because of her organisation’s “really strong focus on health and well being of young men”.

“We have tripled our operations in 2017. The work we are doing is about longevity,” she said.

The leader said she has not received much negative feedback from being a female leader of a male’s health organisation but said she tries to stay out of any politics.

“We take a very holistic approach and it would be very hard for someone to criticise why we shouldn’t be supporting young men to develop some critical skills.”

The organisation aims to keep helping young men to be “top blokes”.


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