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Meet Talitha Devadass, 2019 Telstra Tasmanian Business Women’s Emerging Leader Award winner

Talitha Devadass

The Telstra Business Women’s Awards have kicked off all around the country. The Carousel took this opportunity to throw light on some of the winners. Here is Talitha Devadass: the Telstra Tasmanian Business Women’s Emerging Leader Award Winner. Deeply involved in the Tasmanian economy development, she helps existing and new business to thrive.

There are three things I want you to know about my home: 

  1. Tasmania will take your breath away
  2. We are an undeniable tourism hotspot with natural beauty, award-winning food and unforgettable adventures at our doorstep. 
  3. We experience high levels of unemployment, underemployment and detrimental social health markers. 

My region is complex and striking on so many levels.


 I was born in Launceston; my parents came here as Malaysian skilled migrants. My mum says that from the moment she landed, she knew this would always be her home. When I was growing up, we lived overseas for 12 years. When it came time for university, I had the privilege of coming home and was ecstatic to find out that The University of Tasmania offered a major in Entrepreneurship.

During university, my love of people, social justice and taking action led me to volunteer with an organisation that shaped my future: Oaktree. Oaktree is Australia’s largest youth-run international development organisation. I was captivated as I watched business principles and innovative marketing activities used to do things differently and create lasting social change. This was only the beginning. 

Throughout my six years at Oaktree, I had the opportunity to train, facilitate and mentor many younger volunteers. It made me realise the impact of learning and finding your own path through meaningful work. 

After finishing university, I ran my own facilitation business and worked with multiple impact-driven organisations to run future-readiness, entrepreneurship, social change and community leadership sessions for over 8,000 young people across Australia. 

In 2017, I joined The Van Diemen Project team as the Entrepreneurship Facilitator. The Van Diemen Project is an innovative program funded by the Australian Government that empowers Tasmanians to create a sustainable, smart and successful future. We do this by providing locals with the tools, confidence, advice and support to grow. We have worked with over 1,000 individuals and businesses in the past two years. 

Talitha Devadass
Talitha Devadass: the Telstra Tasmanian Business Women’s Emerging Leader Award Winner

As Entrepreneurship Facilitator, I am a free resource that supports people to transform ideas, skills, experience and passions into businesses or side hustles. We are constantly challenging norms so that we can embrace the opportunities presented by new ideas and their adaptability in creating futures for people. We have seen snake catchers, food vans, mobile app makers, social enterprise warriors and everything in between. 

Through this journey, there have been core concepts that I continue to raise as people consider their ability to create their own jobs:

  • Start with what you have: what do you already have that you could turn into a business?
  • Look for opportunities: do you have an idea or skill that will bring joy or fill a gap? 
  • Establish value: will people see value in your idea or skill?

Using these concepts and providing ongoing regional support led to me being recognised as the Tasmanian Emerging Leader Award winner by the Telstra Business Women’s Awards this year, an honour that I do not take lightly. To me, difference is exciting: giving unique ideas the time and attention to be refined and activated can lead to new jobs and vibrant regions. Come and visit Northern Tasmania and you will see what I mean.  

The Carousel would like to thank Talitha Devadass for her article.

Talitha Devadass, Program Manager at The Van Diemen Project, creates spaces for deep conversation, connection and diversity. Her purpose is to help new and existing businesses in Tasmania thrive. Weighing idealism with cheques and balances, Talitha brings her clients’ ideas to life. Talitha believes all individuals have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and for the planet. She is passionate about her role in leaving the world a better place for the next generation. Weaving this philosophy into her advice for her clients, she actively promotes equality, diversity and activism. As she is also involved in the Young Social Pioneers Program, Talitha has had the opportunity to develop initiatives with measurable impact in her region such has facilitating youth workshops about work-readiness, confidence, and leadership.

Written by TheCarousel

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