Melbourne's Most Influential, Inspiring and Creative 2010

I recently read The Age Melbourne's List of the the Top 100 for 2010.Amazingly, there were close to none on the list that I would have had on mine. So I decided to write my own - not quite 100 though... Now, given that I spend so much time in the online world, its fair to say that I exist in a fairly different space to most mainstream print journalists so its hardly surprising that we don't see eye to eye on this, and those I've selected are certainly indicative of my areas of interest. But I think my choices show - to some extent - just how far removed so many traditional journalists are from the many channels of conversations that are happening online. It is also testament to just how much of an impact the connections I have made online are having on my real life relationships, my ongoing personal development and my decisions.

How lucky am I to have spent time with these amazing people in the past year?!

Kate Kendall - used the internet to bring people together

Kate is a bit of a legend in the Melbourne online space. She is responsible for creating many meaningful connections and relationships within the community and has helped people get jobs, make friends, find love, discover their passions, meet interesting people and has established the SocialMelb meetup as a way for online relationships to move into the real world. Kate may be known for her work in digital strategy but she is also a gifted writer, communicator and a born innovator with an entrepreneurial streak. Kate sees social media as an extra tool for education, development, communication - not a replacement for real life interaction. It is impossible for me to say enough things about Kate's brilliance in 150 odd words but she is an incredibly perceptive, aware and compassionate person. After having known Kate only a short time I am sure she will remain a close friend for a lifetime. And I am really excited to see what she comes up with in 2011.

More about Kate at her website.

Tresna Lee - pursued her passion and simplified her life

12 months ago Tresna's life was vastly different. As far as I can tell, it has been a tumultuous but immensely rewarding year for a young lady who made a choice not to take the easy way out. Tresna has left behind the promise of a lofty career in HR to pursue her interest in food. By embracing a minimalist lifestyle she is living more, with less. She now spends some of her days indulging her passion for high quality food in 2 of Melbourne's newest favourite food spots - The Palace by Luke Mangan, and Earl Canteen. She has also found the time to establish a really interesting new creative project - Foodhands - which documents the stories of people working in the food industry and is a really great insight into the motivation of people who pursue their passion - in any field. She continues to educate and inspire me to pursue my passions and dictate the way I want to live my life.

Read Foodhands or more about Tresna at her blog.

Kealey Nutt - challenged traditional notions of online/publishing

When Kealey made the move over from her native Perth to pursue further study, she knew a handful of people and was living on a student's wage (ie. nothing). In the space of less that 1 year she has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the online publishing world. By launching Thelma - a digital magazine with a conscience - she is challenging businesses with a much larger pool of resources to step up to the plate. By creating her own format, constantly changing and evolving, and providing interesting young people from all fields with an opportunity to contribute or be featured in the magazine she is setting the bar high for others in the industry. Most impressive though, is that she is only at the beginning of learning web coding. Scary to think just how good it can get.

Read Thelma or visit Kealey's website.

Mikala Tai - established a gallery space for asian contemporary art

Mikala is a dynamo. She has established a gallery space for contemporary asian art with her business partner Bryan Collie. She curates the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program. Plus she is completing a PhD. All before the age of 30. What I admire most about her though, is that she is unfailingly generous with her time, eternally optimistic and dedicated to developing emerging talent in her fields of influence. She is one of the nicest people I have had the good fortune to meet in 2010 and certainly someone who has influenced my direction professionally and personally.

Visit the Melbourne International Fine Art website.

Karen Webster - pushed the agenda of local fashion

Most fashion loving Melbourne folk will know of Karen from her work as Director of the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. Taking 5 years off from her role as Director of the RMIT School of Fashion, she was responsible for expanding the festival to unprecedented levels. Finishing her fifth and final festival in March and handing the reigns over to new Creative Director Grant Pearce, she has returned to RMIT and continues to champion the work of emerging local designers, and somehow finds time to work on her own PhD, plus give much needed assistance to many in need of mentoring, myself included.

David Hood - used social media to do something good

David uses his considerable skills and compassionate spirit to work solely with people and organisations who are doing some good in the world. In 2010 he contributed to the success of two of my highlights for the year, the TEDxMelbourne events and the Hub Melbourne Incubator, among many others. He has also set up his social enterprise Doing Something Good to facilitate collaboration, education, knowledge sharing and help for people working on great causes in Melbourne. He has also been extremely patient and generous with his time with me as he is with others.

Check out Doing Something Good or visit David's blog.

And a couple that were on the Age's List that I would have included on mine too...

Grace McQuilten - combined fashion and social enterprise

Grace has a long history as a contributor to the work of some of Melbourne's greatest causes. This year, her own organisation The Social Studio has gathered momentum as one of Australia's most impressive social enterprises. Arming refugees and recent immigrants with the skills to work in the textiles industry, its principles and designs have been talked about for all the right reasons. Grace was even shortlisted to meet Oprah as one of Australia's most innovative social entrepreneurs.

Read more about The Social Studio at the website.

Dan Sultan - brought soul and sex appeal back to Australian music

Dan Sultan is a character. The kind of which I feel has been missing from the Australian music landscape for quite a while. His smoky voice is rough and soft at the same time. His songwriting is nostalgic in many ways. He is a modern day sex symbol and poet rolled into one - a mix of Michael Hutchence and Paul Kelly perhaps? He sings about life in Melbourne and pinpoints the emotion with such skill that it reminds you again and again why you love this city. I'm really glad to see him catch a wider audience this year.

Watch the clip for "Old Fitzroy".

And just when you thought I was done... a few more amazing ladies that continue to inspire, influence and excite me with their creativity, generosity and ability to take risks to pursue their passions. All of whom I met through the internet. Weird? Maybe... Awesome? Yes.

Lou Pardi - took a risk and left her job to pursue a career as a full time freelance writer - her website

Cheryl Lin - managed to juggle a full time job as well as her many other projects - her blog

Lyrian Fleming - dedicated her life to environmental and humanitarian organisations - her blog

Bhakti Talreja - established So Ethic - Melbourne's first not-for-profit ethical clothing store

Here's to a spectacular 2011. May we all strive to achieve great things, and inspire others in the process.