Anderson, 34, is one of 82 finalists from almost 400 applications in the Women of Influence awards. Of those final nominees, 11 are from Canterbury.
Anderson has worked across the community sector and the rainbow sector, and also within the business sector and with young people for a long time. Her background is in strategy and development for social enterprise and also educational design and delivery. So what that really means is helping people make money doing the things they love, and getting really good at explaining the things that she knows to other people.
Two years ago, a friend of Anderson's saw the role of facilitator for Qtopia advertised and said to her: 'Do you want to throw parties for rainbow young people?' Anderson's response was: "This is the role I was born to play."
About a year later the organisation went through a restructure and she was offered the position of executive director.
Qtopia has two main focuses. One is creating safe, inclusive environments for the rainbow community and the other is working with organisations, institutions or even individuals to develop their understanding of rainbow identity so that they can create lasting social change towards better acceptance and inclusion.
Anderson is queer, and has queer family history. She knows the challenges of not being able to be who you are and she is really passionate about how we create opportunity for our young people, regardless of their identity or orientation.
She says becoming part of the Qtopia team was kind of a natural fit. "How do I use the skills and the background that I have to really kind of empower our young people and to make sure that they're feeling valued and valid and seen?"