Benalla's Alana Johnson has been recognised with a Distinguished Alumni Award from La Trobe University.
Ms Johnson is known nationally and internationally for her work in rural development, women's advancement, leadership and community activism.
She was instrumental in establishing the Victorian Rural Women's Network and Australian Women in Agriculture.
She is a former president of the Foundation For Australian Agricultural Women, and she has served on numerous ministerial advisory councils and government boards.
Ms Johnson is presently:
● Chair of the Victorian Womens Trust;
● A member of the Victorian Ministerial Council on Women's Equality;
● Director of Goulburn Murray Water;
● Deputy chair of the Victorian Catchment Management Council; and
● Inaugural chair of the Dugdale Trust for Women and Girls
Ms Johnson said she was honoured to have been recognised with the award.
“My work over the past 30 years in gender equality, rural community development and sustainable agriculture began with my arts and then social work degrees at La Trobe University,” Ms Johnson said.
“I would not have been able to do the work I have done if it were not for free university education in the 1970s that made it possible for thousands of young rural women like me to be first-generation graduates.
“My contribution to the Rural Women’s Movement in Australia, to sustainable agriculture, to rural leadership development and recently the democracy project Voices for Indi is a result of that investment made in me.
“I am delighted to have been acknowledged along with journalist, author, radio and television presenter Virginia Trioli, SecondBite founder Simone Carson, Professor John Hopper AM and young achievers Dr Batool Albatat and AFLW star Daisy Pearce.
“I thank La Trobe University for recognising my work.”
Ms Johnson's advocacy also saw her named in the inaugural 100 Women of Influence in Australia and the inaugural 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness.
She is a renowned public speaker and facilitator and a leader in sustainable agriculture and community participation in politics.
On top of all of that she is a founding president of Voices For Indi, initiating the nationally renowned democracy project in the electorate.
In 2010 Ms Johnson was awarded Victorian Rural Woman of the Year and national runner-up.
She was inducted into the prestigious Victorian Women's Honour Roll.
Ms Johnson is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and she is presently completing her PhD.