2017 Finalists

Ayesha Razzaq — ActewAGL

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Corporate and Private Award Finalist

During her 18-year service with energy supplier ActewAGL, Ayesha Razzaq has climbed the ranks to General Manager Retail. A position which involves leading a dynamic business through a time of significant industry change.

With a background in engineering, Ayesha is committed to a customer-centric focus that runs through every level of the business. This has seen her overhaul ActewAGL Retail’s operations to help customers view the company as a solutions-based energy supplier. 

Since 2015, Ayesha has also been leading ActewAGL Retail’s digital business transformation program. Harnessing disruptive technology, ActewAGL is building capability to accommodate the changing needs of customers. One such project Ayesha has led was the company’s implementation of a new billing and customer management system – the largest technology undertaking ever made by the business.

My work sees me involved with many great communities. It’s given me the chance to make a tangible difference by helping customers to manage their energy and influence perceptions about what the future will bring.
Ayesha Razzaq

Belle Chadwick — Chadwick Designs

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Entrepreneur Award Finalist
Telstra Australian Capital Territory Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Belle Chadwick began Chadwick Designs at just 25 years of age while caring for her nine-month old baby. Having previously worked for McDonalds Asia Pacific Consortium and Wrigleys, Belle decided to follow her passion for business, renovation and design, throwing herself into the interior design and building industry. 

As the Managing Director, Belle ensures that Chadwick Designs helps every client add value and beauty to their home or business. The female-led business has achieved lofty goals since its inception and upon opening its retail showroom, the business increased sales by 200%.

I pride myself on building a brand which has the best advice, product and knowledge. I want every client to be sure that they are making informed choices, with no second thoughts.
Belle Chadwick

Catherine Walsh — Department of Finance

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Catherine Walsh has always been a high flyer, with a career that started in the Air Force and led to becoming a director for the Australian Government Department of Finance. Today, she is directly responsible for influencing the course of government policy and expenditure decisions that will affect every Australian in the country.

Catherine’s altruistic nature and ability to challenge the status quo are driving forces behind her unwavering ambition to realise the best ethical outcomes for individual, team, organisational and societal benefit. Her work has seen her develop a pilot program to help veterans find suitable employment after leaving the military, and deliver impartial financial advice to the most senior government officials in the run up to the annual federal budget announcement.

To become a public service leader was a conscious decision. It enables me to be part of influencing the decision-making process to contribute positively to Australian society now and into the future
Catherine Walsh

Daryl Karp — Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Award collected by Edwina Jans on behalf of Daryl.

With an international education, Daryl Karp has 30 years of experience working within cultural industries, including for ABC TV and Film Australia. Her time in this space has given her an appreciation of the intrinsic value of democracy.

Currently, as Director of The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, Daryl has overseen a period of significant growth, with visitor numbers more than doubling in the past four years. 

Today, the museum provides a space for all Australians to explore and engage with the concepts of active citizenship, by reflecting on, and connecting with, our democratic traditions.

Daryl attributes much of her success to her ability to take new ideas, trends and technology, and find ways to look at problems from different perspectives.

My proudest achievement is re-positioning the Museum of Australian Democracy as a dynamic, vibrant and relevant museum that truly makes a difference. Since I came onboard, visitor numbers have doubled, as have our exhibitions and events. We now deliver a suite of programs for all ages, built around the concept of dynamic and active civic engagement.
Daryl Karp

Elise Apolloni — Capital Chemist Wanniassa

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Business Woman of the Year Finalist
Telstra Australian Capital Territory Entrepreneur Award Finalist
Telstra Australian Capital Territory Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Elise Apolloni has been working in pharmacies since she was 14 years old. After becoming a qualified pharmacist, she managed Capital Chemist Wanniassa for two years before eventually becoming a partner in the business. 

Elise’s vision is for Capital Chemist Wanniassa to make a positive impact on the health of the community. Her wish is to connect customers with the most passionate and educated pharmacy health experts in Canberra. 

After the untimely passing of a co-worker, Elise developed a passion for better informing her community about mental health issues. She continues to raise awareness by volunteering as a telephone crisis supporter at Lifeline Canberra and as a phone counsellor for the National Pharmacists' Support Service, as well as becoming an instructor for 'Mental Health First Aid' training.


I believe pharmacists are massively under-utilised health professionals, and that women make amazing leaders in business. The world needs more people who challenge norms, bring up issues which can be uncomfortable to talk about and raise awareness of health conditions.
Elise Apolloni

Jenifer Lee Apps — Jenifer Lee Fitness

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Entrepreneur Award Finalist

On a day-to-day basis, personal trainer and health coach Jenifer Lee Apps inspires women to overcome their limitations and become who and what they want to be in life.

Having been motivated to join a gym in an attempt to counter her own body image and self-esteem issues, Jenifer was empowered by the confidence that strength training gave her.

Wanting to help other women achieve the same confidence and health she found, Jenifer pursued a series of fitness qualifications. She began to offer sessions focused on nutrition, strength and following a healthy, balanced lifestyle, which she sees as the key to transforming self-doubt into self-confidence, and helping the women of Australia to thrive.

I feel like the world needs more of what I do, as so many women find themselves consumed by poor body-image and self-doubt. They haven't yet experienced the health benefits and emotional strength that come with a holistic lifestyle change.
Jenifer Lee Apps

Julia Heinze — Infinity Legal

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Brought up by a single mother, who had experienced family violence, Julia Heinze learnt early in life what it meant to be a strong independent woman. This spurred her on to complete a Juris Doctor at Newcastle University and pursue a legal career.

Being voted in as President of the ACT Women Lawyers Association in 2010 cemented Julia’s desire to further the careers of women in the law, and to act on behalf of vulnerable people. She became qualified as an Independent Children's Lawyer, and in 2013 founded Infinity Legal with the purpose of making a difference. 

Julia’s law practice advocates to ensure the safety of families; from supporting them in leaving family violence situations, to helping them navigate the complicated, difficult family law system.

My hope is that Infinity Legal will have an impact on the community, empower women and encourage people not to accept family violence as a part of life and relationships.
Julia Heinze

Professor Kylie Ward — Australian College of Nursing

Telstra Australian Capital Territory For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

With a clinical background in intensive care and aged care, Kylie Ward has been nursing for 26 years. Currently, as CEO of the Australian College of Nursing (ACN), Kylie aims to enhance healthcare by advancing nurse leadership; supporting those who are often overlooked in the medical industry and encouraging them to know their worth. 

With a sound knowledge of the significant contribution nurses make to health and aged care, community outcomes and patient experiences, Kylie is passionate about the nursing profession. 

Through the ACN, Kylie provides a platform for nurses around Australia to advocate for themselves, access greater education and connect with the wider nursing community. Her career success has been rewarded with three honorary Professorships at Deakin, Monash and UTS universities.

I love what I do because I know that nurses can, and do, make a tremendous difference to the welfare and well-being of societies.
Professor Kylie Ward

Lisa Dart — National Association for Women in Construction

Telstra Australian Capital Territory For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Passionate about both the built environment and championing women in the construction industry, Lisa Dart is on a mission to bring greater diversity to one of Australia’s most male-dominated industries.

Her role as ACT Chapter President for the National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) sees her unite women across various areas of the industry, empowering them through locally run events and programs delivered by the ACT Chapter. 

In the four years since her tenure began, Lisa has increased the not-for-profit’s membership from 80 solely financial members to 271 active members across the corporate, individual and student demographics. This rapid growth, is testament to the power of Lisa’s advocacy work and the way in which she engages industry and government partners.

The world needs more people who are interested in embracing diversity, not afraid of it. More people who can communicate their experiences to educate others authentically, without judgement, because every drop in the ocean counts.
Lisa Dart

Mary-Anne Apps — The Apps Learning Centre

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Entrepreneur Award Finalist

As a classroom teacher for 14 years, Mary-Anne Apps became keenly aware of the challenges faced by children with special needs. 

In 2011, she opened The Apps Learning Centre – a provider of fun, multi-sensory one-on-one tuition for young people with learning and behavioural difficulties.

Mary-Anne’s business started out as a one-room, one-employee operation tutoring five clients a week. Today, The Apps Learning Centre’s larger premises can now accommodate five teachers and five students simultaneously. The centre accepts children from primary and secondary schools across Canberra and regional areas, with many being referred by psychologists. More recently, it has expanded its offering to provide support for preschool aged children and is looking to assist young apprentice tradespeople, too.

With the rise of learning difficulties and illnesses such as autism, ADHD and depression, there is a real need for integrative treatments.
Mary-Anne Apps

Dr Sue Williamson — University of NSW, Canberra

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Dr Sue Williamson has spent her entire adult life working to progress gender equality.

As a full-time academic, she has spent the past four years teaching human resource management at the University of NSW, Canberra, where she provides tertiary education to military cadets at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

At a college with an ingrained, male-dominated culture, Sue’s work has contributed to a cultural shift in attitudes. Today, the teaching and research of such gender equity issues has been successfully incorporated into teaching activities, drawing support from students and senior management teams alike.

While much progress towards gender equality has been made, there is still a long way to go. Violence against women takes on new forms; the gender pay gap persists; there are still too few women in leadership. This is why what I do matters.
Dr Sue Williamson

LCDR Susan Harris — Royal Australian Navy

Telstra Australian Capital Territory Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Having spent the last 23 years working in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Lieutenant Commander Susan Harris is no stranger to blazing a trail for women. Not only was Susan the first female officer to conduct the Submarine Warfare Officers course in 1994, she was also Dux and a Sword of Honour recipient. 

As a submariner, Susan provides defence of the nation and protects Australian interests, through strategic naval deterrence. She is also the first female in the RAN to take the prestigious position of Submarine 2nd in Command.

Since having her first child, Susan has championed and successfully employed flexible work arrangements. While fulfilling her own personal goals, she also hopes that other women will see that a full personal life and a professional career are possible, and choose to follow in her footsteps.

I am a loyal and proud Navy Officer, and I love providing mentorship to my junior colleagues as well as providing peer support. As success is built on trust, cultivating positive relationships is essential.
LCDR Susan Harris

Alison Hill — Pragmatic Thinking

Telstra Queensland Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Alison Hill kick-started her studies into human behaviour with a degree in psychology. She went on to work as a rehabilitation counsellor and a psychologist, in the fields of depression, anxiety and personality-disorders.

Pragmatic Thinking, a behaviour and motivation strategy company, sprung from her interest in human skills in the workplace. Alison’s company works with corporates to ensure their business strategy is successful, working across the areas of cultural impacts, leadership capability and creating phenomenal workplace cultures.

The purpose of Alison’s business is to make a difference to the difference-makers: the leadership and management layers of organisations. Pragmatic Thinking creates bespoke solutions to improve the work of aspirational leaders and managers, based on the science of psychology, through motivation, behaviour and design.

Our business exists because of the relentless changes that workplaces are going through. Organisations, leaders and individuals no longer have time to hold onto grudges; instead they need to address issues quickly and be at the forefront of change, rather than reacting to it. This is what we help them do.
Alison Hill

Alyce Keegan — Kit and Clowder

Telstra Queensland Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Alyce Keegan took her passion for art and transformed it into a lucrative craft education business with a social impact. Kit and Clowder teaches online art and craft classes for all skill levels. Through its community, the business support crafters who are dealing with disability, loss, illness and depression, providing a fun creative outlet but also a form of therapy and support.

After realising the potential of Kit and Clowder as a nourishing community for people who are struggling, Alyce got a Diploma in Art Therapy. She now runs her business as both a place to create art and as a safe space for people to share their experiences.  

To be able to bring a smile to someone's face, who may be experiencing hardship at the moment, really drives home what Kit and Clowder is all about.
Alyce Keegan

Antonia Mercorella — The Real Estate Institute of Queensland

Telstra Queensland Corporate and Private Award Finalist

Antonia Mercorella is the first female CEO in The Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s 99-year history, and also the youngest.

Antonia has nursed the business back to financial health, and reinvigorated its standing as the peak body for real estate agents in Queensland.

All the while, Antonia has maintained her own style of leadership, placing great value on being genuine in business dealings and communications. She sees her media and public profile as essential in her business’ efforts to represent its 15,000 members both in government negotiations and with the wider public.

Traditional ways of doing things only work in traditional settings. In a fast-paced world of rapid change, the ability to change and adapt is critically important.
Antonia Mercorella

Bernadette Eriksen — Flavour Creations

Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year Finalist
Telstra Queensland Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Bernadette Eriksen took an unorthodox route into the food industry. After considering studies in food technology, she instead chose accountancy, arming herself with the knowledge to run a business. Now, Bernadette is the CEO of Flavour Creations, a company that provides essential nutrition services to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people, primarily those living with dysphagia.

50 percent of aged-care residents suffer from malnutrition and dehydration. Flavour Creations’ pre-thickened drinks and nutritionally advanced product solutions assist clients from infants to the elderly to restore their diet by making their food enticing and accessible.

Bernadette founded Flavour Creations 20 years ago, and her products can now be found in every government-owned hospital in Australia.

I hope my business success shows other aspiring female entrepreneurs that we all have the ability and responsibility to create the kind of world we want to live in.
Bernadette Eriksen

Breeanna Brock — Brisbane Lions

Telstra Queensland For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Breeanna Brock was the first female CEO to be appointed in the AFL. In her five-year tenure in female football, she has cemented Queensland’s reputation as one of the powerhouse states for women’s AFL.

By establishing the Brisbane Lions inaugural women’s team, who went on to play an undefeated debut AFLW season, Breeanna has created a full playing pathway for the women and girls of Queensland. With access to this elite, high performing environment, females are no longer forced to abandon a game they love due to lack of professional opportunity.

Above all, Breeanna’s work is slowly dismantling age-old thinking around female representation in sport, to create a more level, gender-balanced, playing field. 

In my current role, I am able to combine my passion for AFL with helping women to achieve equality and success – both on and off the sports field.
Breeanna Brock

Carla-Louise Wallace — Cootharinga North Queensland CNQ

Telstra Queensland Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Having worked as a disability and mental health support worker, and in various youth focused roles, Carla-Louise Wallace is no stranger to some of society’s most complex issues.

Starting her career in what is considered New Zealand’s largest and toughest youth detention centre, Carla-Louise realised she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others.

Carla-Louise’s wealth of front-line experience has been invaluable in her current role as the Area Manager Far North Queensland (FNQ) for Cootharinga, a not-for-profit supporting people to live the lives they want.

Every day, Carla-Louise continues in her mission to bring down the barriers faced by vulnerable people in FNQ. In less than a year, she has transformed Cootharinga FNQ’s internal culture using her nurturing leadership style to grow a network of passionate carers, team leaders and service managers. 

I love what I do because it’s not just a job. It’s knowing that every day you played a part in making someone's life amazing.
Carla-Louise Wallace

Caroline McCulloch — FRANKiE4

Telstra Queensland Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Caroline McCulloch, a podiatrist and physiotherapist, had a dilemma: when treating patients, she found it difficult to recommend comfortable footwear she would want to wear herself. So, she set out to design her own fashionable footwear with body mechanics in mind. After ten prototypes and lots of testing, in 2011, she launched her first two styles in to the market and hasn’t looked back.

Now with more than 20 styles, FRANKiE4 provides fashion-forward, comfortable footwear to over 90 Australian and New Zealand stockists, as well as via an online store and two concept stores in Brisbane.

As proud family business owners and parents, Caroline and her husband Alan are always looking for ways to make a difference. Recently, they developed a sock range solely to raise funds for Brisbane-based charity Brain Child. 

I’m on a mission to provide women with shoes that make them feel confident and comfortable. The shoes hide support and cushioning, as if they were undercover orthopaedic shoes disguised as fashion.
Caroline McCulloch

Charlotte Durack — Agri Creative

Telstra Queensland Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Innately creative, Charlotte Durack was passionate about finding a role that would let her imagination run riot on meaningful projects. A year ago, she decided to carve out her own dream role by founding full-service creative agency, Agri Creative.

With strong family roots in the Australian bush giving her a competitive edge, Charlotte specialises in connecting the unique stories of Australia’s agricultural and primary production businesses with their target markets.

While Agri Creative might be a small business, it’s already made a big impact. Most recently, Charlotte beat a number of other, more established, agencies to work on a cutting-edge rebrand for one of the world’s largest meat production companies.

These organisations often have a traditional and entrenched approach to marketing, with many embracing digital for the very first time. I feel very proud to be able to go on this journey with them.
Charlotte Durack

Coralie Nichols — Sunshine Coast Council

Telstra Queensland Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

With a career in local government and the not-for-profit sector spanning 26 years, Coralie Nichols has always been passionate about serving local communities. As the Director of Community Services at Sunshine Coast Council, one of the largest local governments in Australia, Coralie leads community campaigns on social issues such as domestic violence, mental health and reconciliation.

Her influence was also seen in the launch of the Horizon Festival, an arts and culture event attended by over 35,000 people, and the rebranding of the Sunshine Coast Stadium, a facility which was awarded Parks & Leisure Australia QLD Event of the Year 2017.

She has previously held roles such as CEO for Anglicare NT and has provided much-needed human services across the Northern Territory. 

My role leads and inspires people to think, plan and act creatively, turning good ideas about urban spaces and living into real outcomes. This stuff shapes the world we live in.
Coralie Nichols

Ellen Powell — Blushing Confetti

Telstra Queensland Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Ellen Powell founded Australian fine paper goods and stationery company, Blushing Confetti, at age 24 – when she noticed a gap in the market for wedding stationery.

Putting her skills as a graphic designer and natural flair to good use, she started with creating her own wedding stationery and was soon asked by others to design for them.

Three years on, her business has evolved to stock a wide range of stationery including signature greeting cards and wrap, art prints, planners, agendas, diaries, notebooks and to-do-lists for the modern woman. She sells her products directly to consumers through her website, while also working closely with stockists both in Australia and internationally.

My vision for the brand is based on my own sense of humour and personal taste. Through a lot of hard work, Blushing Confetti has become an international name and we’re not done growing yet!
Ellen Powell

Fleur Madden — The Red Republic

Telstra Queensland Corporate and Private Award Finalist

At 23, Fleur Madden was a rising star in journalism, having worked with ABC TV, Today Tonight and The Sunday Mail. However, Fleur saw a gap in the public relations market in Brisbane for a dedicated consumer PR agency and founded The Red Republic.

Fast forward 15 years and Fleur has led the expansion of The Red Republic to be an integrated communications agency with offices in Brisbane, Sydney, the Gold Coast and Los Angeles, with an expanded range of services. Last year Fleur negotiated the sale of The Red Republic to global, publicly listed, creative agency McCann Worldgroup. As CEO, Fleur has successfully integrated her business with McCann, while maintaining its’ boutique identity and achieving significant growth. Fleur is an international board member. 

I would hope that the decisions I make in developing female
leaders for tomorrow, will mean that there are more women in the workplace that support and encourage each other.
Fleur Madden

Gail Ker OAM — Access Community Services Ltd

Telstra Queensland For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Gail Ker OAM has dedicated her life to championing the causes of refugees and migrants, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Gail has a 30-year history at Access Community Services, where her professional purpose is centred on addressing disadvantage to cultivate community inclusiveness.

One of Queensland’s largest and leading not-for-profits, Access provides support services designed to help individuals, families and communities to effectively settle and engage in their new environments.

As the organisation’s CEO, Gail heads up the team of over 300 employees and over 200 registered volunteers. Collectively, staff come from over 50 different countries and speak over 90 different languages or dialects, with the organisation’s own cultural make-up reflecting the diversity of the regions in which it operates.

I believe in creating a welcoming, inclusive and productive Australia, which we can all be part of. Our refugees and migrants are some of the greatest contributors to that vision.
Gail Ker OAM

Jacqueline Gallagher — Notch Above Bookkeeping

Telstra Queensland Entrepreneur Award Finalist

A technology-first approach of doing business allows Jacqueline Gallagher to manage Notch Above Bookkeeping and its team of five employees, all from her home office in Brisbane.

Notch Above specialises in the accounting software Xero, with all material kept in the cloud. Jacqueline first saw the potential of cloud-based technology when she lived abroad during the infancy of her business. Upon her return to Australia, she looked again to the cloud to help her provide real-time accounting and record-keeping solutions for her clients. This enabled them to make informed financial decisions to push their businesses forward.

Jacqueline’s next goal is to expand Notch Above’s online library of training videos for both clients and staff.

The success of Notch Above is linked to leveraging technologies to create useful and transparent systems to process, record and report on client financials.
Jacqueline Gallagher

Jade Collins — Femeconomy

Telstra Queensland For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

After 19 years of experience in corporate executive HR and management consulting, Jade Collins read a statistic that changed her career focus: 85 per cent of consumer purchase decisions are made by women.

Inspired by this knowledge, Jade founded Femeconomy – a website that lists brands and assesses their support of women in leadership roles. Femeconomy now features more than 2,000 brands. 800 of these brands either have boards consisting of 30 per cent women or more, or are at least 50 per cent female owned. Consumers can use this information to help guide their purchasing decisions.

Jade initially set out to make the world a better place for her 10-year-old daughter, and with Femeconomy’s plans to expand to the UK and US, her influence is only spreading.

I am incredibly inspired by the innate potential, creativity and talent in every person. If we can unlock this by being inclusive and valuing diversity, many world problems can be solved.
Jade Collins

Kyra Bonney — Chandler Macleod

Telstra Queensland Corporate and Private Award Finalist

With a background living and working in remote communities, both in blue and white collar roles, Kyra Bonney is a passionate advocate for closing the gap in employment inequality in Australia.

As General Manager of Indigenous Strategy for Chandler Macleod Groups Staffing Services team, Kyra strives to create opportunities through employment, training and education. Kyra’s role is to establish a team of Indigenous recruitment specialists across Australia, who focus on the long-term employment and development of Indigenous Australians.

In 2014, Kyra was awarded the Most Outstanding Woman in Resources Award (Western Australia) by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and was recognised as a finalist in the Exceptional Women in Australian Resources National Awards. 

By providing employees with a deeper insight into the challenges and opportunities of Indigenous employment, they can better understand why there’s a gap and become emotionally invested in contributing towards solutions.
Kyra Bonney

Melissa Stanford — Add Staff

Telstra Queensland Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Melissa Stanford’s start-up venture, Add Staff, unites her four areas of expertise: STEM industries, education and training, recruitment, and business management.

Establishing Add Staff as a means of connecting blue-collar companies with qualified employees, Melissa looks to foster both organisational growth and individual professional development in corporate environments.

She also recently founded an apprentice recruitment and mentoring arm of the business to address national skills shortages and support young people in kickstarting their career. Melissa is similarly passionate about encouraging women to enter non-traditional careers in trades industries and opening the minds of employers to the benefits of employing female team members. 

I am focused on adding value to all stakeholders, building long-term, trusting relationships and enabling opportunities for individual and employer growth.
Melissa Stanford

Michelle Baxter ASM — Queensland Ambulance Service

Telstra Queensland Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Michelle Baxter has spent close to 25 years working in the ambulance service. Starting out as a paramedic, she now holds the Assistant Commissioner Cairns and Hinterland position for Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), one of the largest ambulance services in the world.

Her role involves managing a $34 million budget and a team of 250, who Michelle believes are the organisation’s greatest asset.

With her natural ability to connect with people, and as one of few females in senior positions within the QAS, Michelle dedicates much of her time to leading cultural change initiatives intended to balance the gender split.

Testament to her achievements, in 2012, Michelle received an Ambulance Service Medal (ASM) for professionalism, leadership and community service.

When you decide to take on a leadership role you have a responsibility to the people you have decided to lead. Time is the greatest commodity you can give to your staff.
Michelle Baxter ASM

Michelle McDowall — Arabon Accountants

Telstra Queensland Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Three decades ago, Michelle McDowall started her accountancy firm as a one-woman business. Today, Arabon Accountants services around 3,000 clients with a team of 24 staff.

Michelle takes a whole-of-business approach to accounting, maintaining a focus on relationships instead of numbers. This allows Arabon’s clients to achieve their lifestyle goals alongside their financial ones.

Arabon’s company culture is essential to its success, and Michelle’s business mentality is reflected in her team – one member of which has been with her since the early days, while several others have served for more than 10 years.

Michelle counts her ongoing mentorship of her son Rob as her proudest achievement. He is now a partner in the firm and Michelle sees him as a future principal.

Success for me is more than stable revenue flows and lower costs. It is time available to develop high-value, rewarding, advisory relationships with clients.
Michelle McDowall

Dr Nicki Murdock — Health Leaders Australia

Telstra Queensland Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Dr Nicki Murdock is a passionate advocate for quality healthcare, both as a practitioner and in terms of management and governance styles.

A UK paediatrician and GP who migrated to Australia in 2001, Nicki was struck by the burden of poorly designed compliance requirements and IT systems imposed on healthcare workers.

Intent on alleviating these industry pressures, Nicki harnessed her entrepreneurial nature and appetite for the high-risk to set up Health Leaders Australia. The company provides IT solutions to assist in accreditation of safe, high quality health services and education.

Today, her tenacity has created a tidal wave of change across the sector, helping to shift resource allocation towards patient care and away from time-consuming compliance requirements.

If we don't change how we deliver healthcare, by 2030 our society will be spending all of its revenue on health – something that will affect us all if we do not act now.
Dr Nicki Murdock

Paulina Skerman — St Patrick's College Townsville

Telstra Queensland Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

St Patrick’s College in Townsville had declining enrolments before Paulina Skerman took on the role of Principal.

Home to 400 female students, the school caters for an extremely diverse group of girls: disadvantaged and privileged, remote and international, academically able and those with significant learning gaps.

Paulina holds a firm belief in the power of education to transform lives, along with an unshakeable drive to defy stereotypes.

In the two years since her appointment, she has led a revitalisation of every facet of the organisation. Student enrolments have increased by 40 per cent, the college’s rich cultural diversity has been strengthened, and the internal cultural change has been remarkable. Students are empowered and future focused, and through Paulina’s hard work and dedication, have been afforded opportunities to travel to the likes of Cambodia and the NASA Space Centre.

I teach girls to expect respect. I break down barriers of cultural insensitivity, and respond to those who have been traumatised, by creating an environment where they are loved, safe and can learn. I shape the lives of young women by building resilience so past hurts do not define their future.
Paulina Skerman

Sandra Gillanders — Hy-Performance Fluid Power

Telstra Queensland Corporate and Private Award Finalist

Sandra Gillanders ran her own business management consultancy firm for eight years. But when she suffered debilitating spinal injuries in a horse-riding accident, the upheaval to her personal life necessitated a change. Upon moving to Queensland in 2012, she was appointed CEO of Hy-Performance Fluid Power, a niche manufacturer and supplier of components for mining drills.

When Sandra joined the business, 80 percent of its revenue came from one customer, with no proactive sales generation and poor company culture. Sandra’s vision allowed the business owner to step back from management duties, giving her the space to implement measures to promote a positive working environment and reposition Hy-Performance Fluid Power as a global brand. 

The world needs people with good competencies but also the confidence to use them. Empowerment leads to confidence, confidence leads to success.
Sandra Gillanders

Sharon Cowden — Australian Federal Police

Telstra Queensland Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Sharon Cowden joined the Australian Federal Police (AFP) 33 years ago at just 19. She now holds the rank of Commander and is the only female State Manager in the AFP.

Aside from dedicating her life to the safety of Australians, Sharon is also passionate about advocating for other women within the AFP and giving them a voice.

Sharon oversees the Cultural Reform Committee for the State and currently sits on the Mental Health Board of the AFP. She has been awarded a Commissioner’s Medal for Excellence, a Commissioner’s Group Citation for Conspicuous Conduct, and has been recognised by the Australian Council of Women and Police for her work with Pacific Island police women. 

My role is important to other women in the AFP because I advocate for them and understand the journey up through the ranks. I need to exemplify the values of the AFP.
Sharon Cowden

Tishara Mina — Michael Hill International

Telstra Queensland Corporate and Private Award Finalist

Tishara Mina is the general manager for jewellery brand Emma and Roe – part of international jewellery conglomerate, the Michael Hill Group.

Built on a heritage of strong women, the Emma and Roe brand speaks to the self-purchasing and empowered female – character traits that resonate profoundly with Tishara.

When told that changing the internal behaviours and sales results with the existing Emma and Roe team was too difficult, Tishara refused to shy away from the challenge. Instead, through her open leadership style and by investing heavily in employees’ professional development, she is leading this new brand with determination and direction which will allow everyone to achieve their goals. 

As General Manager, I am able to use all of my retail experience to build a team, brand and legacy for the company.
Tishara Mina

Vivian Jarrett — Vision Psychology

Telstra Queensland Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Mental health no longer has to hide behind closed doors, according to Vivian Jarrett. Under her direction, Vision Psychology advocates the business benefits of knowledge-sharing, with its range of websites offering free information and advice to 1,000 new visitors every day.

Vision is Queensland’s largest privately owned psychology practice, and Vivian is ambitious about commercialising psychology to help overcome the severe lack of funding in the field. She believes the future of the industry lies with young people – particularly the talents in Vision’s Psych-Ed internship program.

With more than 60 practitioners sharing 16 rooms across two practices, Vivian anticipates continued growth, as the wider population is now open to a dialogue about maintaining mental health, not just treating mental illness.

I’ve come to appreciate how much our community needs counselling to save lives. People struggle to find the right kind of help. My business provides an army of mental health experts available 7 days a week, and explains counselling to the community, making accessing help very easy.
Vivian Jarrett

Zoe Black — Happy Paws Happy Hearts

Telstra Queensland For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Zoe Black’s personal experience, as the survivor of an abusive relationship, taught her the value of mental health care. Having grown up with parents who were wildlife carers, Zoe’s love of animals combined with her passion to help others, led her to start Happy Paws Happy Hearts (HPHH).

HPHH creates positive change by connecting isolated people in the community with rescue animals, allowing individuals to feel empowered to achieve their own goals while training animals for future adoption.

Initially looking for 14 volunteers to get started, HPHH ended up receiving 120 volunteer applications. They hand-picked 40 students who were engaged with their vision, many who still volunteer today. HPHH’s outcomes-based course has made the enterprise eligible for disability funding to secure its future.

Happy Paws Happy Hearts’ core goal is to give our participants a renewed sense of purpose and help them feel needed in our society. It's a dream to see people and animals come together to heal.
Zoe Black

Dr Anushi Rajapaksa — Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Telstra Victorian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Dr Anushi Rajapaksa is an academic biomedical engineer and emerging researcher in the field of bedside technologies for newborn babies. Her work at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has the capacity to transform the face of child health globally.

In her career highlights to date, Anushi led the discovery of new engineering technology designed to create a revolutionary, non-invasive and pain-free way to deliver vaccines. A major breakthrough in the field, Anushi’s research offers an alternative to current cold-chain and needle methodologies, which are associated with safety concerns in developing countries.

Coupled with this, Anushi is responsible for developing a newborn screening tool in resource-limited, rural settings to enable better detection of high risk health conditions, such as jaundice, in premature babies.

My practical and innovative thinking is aimed at solving challenging problems affecting the newborn babies of today. It gives me a great sense of enrichment to be in a capacity to undertake those feats.
Dr Anushi Rajapaksa

Bessi Graham — The Difference Incubator

Telstra Victorian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Bessi Graham lives by the belief that business can be a powerful agent for change – provided you embed the good you want to see in the world into your business model.

Her startup venture, The Difference Incubator (TDi), looks to empower entrepreneurs to create sustainable business models, complete with the measurement frameworks necessary to deliver positive social and environmental outcomes.

However, TDi has an additional purpose: countering the world’s entrenched social and environmental issues. Through her leadership and entrepreneurial drive, Bessi is intent on building Australia’s impact investment market by turning all forms of capital into investment, funding and growth opportunities.

As an active entrepreneur in the industry, I have built a team of people who are relatable and good listeners, allowing entrepreneurs to see themselves in us.
Bessi Graham

Emily McCarthy — lexvoco

Telstra Victorian Corporate and Private Award Finalist
Telstra Victorian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

As a law graduate, Emily McCarthy wasn’t interested in a career in a traditional legal practice. Instead, she set about cutting her teeth in the NewLaw sector, an avenue that blended her passion for law and innovation.

With just 18 months’ experience, Emily stepped into a role as Head of Talent for a NewLaw firm.

From there, she assisted in the establishing lexvoco, a start-up whose mission is to help organisations achieve better outcomes from legal services by providing top legal talent to legal teams, as well as through the use of technology innovation. 

With Emily at its helm as a Principal, lexvoco is successfully disrupting the legal industry, making access to quality legal advice simpler and more effective through the use of technology and agile methodologies.

No one is too young, too inexperienced or too 'bright-eyed' to have an influence on business decisions. By surrounding yourself with the right people, there is much to be learned and achieved.
Emily McCarthy

Gemma Fordham — Southern Cross Austereo

Telstra Victorian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

Gemma Fordham started her career in radio at just 14, answering studio phones. Since then she has been an executive producer for several high-rating shows, and worked as a creative executive for Nicole Kidman as part of her film production company.

Now, in her role as head of content for the Hit Network at Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), Gemma ensures the Hit brand is maintained across 43 stations nationally.

Radio has long been known as a male-dominated industry, and when Gemma was appointed head of the network she was the first woman to fill the role. Gemma is proud of this achievement and hopes she is the first of many to come.

We are about making people laugh, connecting with them through storytelling and music. We strive to create compelling content every day across the country, across all of our assets – from live radio to social, digital and events.
Gemma Fordham

Gemma Lloyd — DCC Jobs

Telstra Victorian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist
Telstra Victorian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

When Gemma Lloyd arrived at university, her goal was to become a dietician, but she soon followed her passions into IT. After ten years in the male-dominated industry, Gemma decided to apply her technical and business skills to helping fellow women achieve equality in the workplace.

DCC Jobs, of which Gemma is a co-founder, is the only Australian job listings site that pre-screens companies based on their policies and initiatives to support women. The company turns down approximately ten percent of business due to advertisers not meeting the criteria.

DCC’s initiatives have had real-world impacts, with the likes of Laing O’Rourke, CSR and Cbus all moving to change their policies on issues like paid parental leave and domestic violence.

I've been lucky to be able to combine my passion for social justice with my work. DCC is not just a ‘job’ but a lifestyle I've embraced.
Gemma Lloyd

Prof Jane Burns — InnoWell

Telstra Victorian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Every day, nine Australians are lost to suicide. With two decades’ experience in mental health reform, Prof Jane Burns has dedicated her career to mental illness and suicide prevention.

From 2011-16, Jane raised $130 million as the founder and CEO of Young and Well, a research centre that helped redefine health care policy for young people. Today, Jane is the CEO of InnoWell, a partnership between PwC and the University of Sydney that promotes digital mental health solutions, providing help within minutes – not months – for at-risk Australians.

Jane authored the National Mental Health Commission report on new and emerging technologies, and manages partnerships with the Department of Health and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

I love what I do because it involves spending time with people I care about, people I believe in and people who want to make this world a better place.
Prof Jane Burns

Justine Flynn — Thankyou

Telstra Victorian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Travelling to Indonesia at 14 changed Justine Flynn’s life irrevocably. Her first exposure to poverty, the trip lit a fierce desire to find a way to help people in need.

The results of this mission manifested in 2008 when Justine co-founded Thankyou, a social enterprise that gives 100% of profits from its quality water, food, body care and baby products to help end poverty.

Now, Thankyou has funded water, sanitation, food aid and child and maternal health programs for over 755,338 people in 20 countries.

This is attributed to Justine’s leadership, innovation and determination to engage Australia’s retailers and consumers to choose a world without poverty. Now stocked in Coles and Woolworths alongside the world’s biggest brands, Thankyou products have attracted a cult following. 

I'm passionate about driving innovation and leadership, and having an empowered and talented team working together to make great products to grow Thankyou, so we can help people in need.
Justine Flynn

Karen Wade — Mount Waverley Secondary College

Telstra Victorian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

As college principal at Mount Waverley Secondary College (MWSC), Karen Wade oversees over 2000 students and staff across two campuses. MWSC is one of the largest schools in Victoria, yet its identity is shaped by Karen’s vision of diversity in culture and opportunity for students and teachers alike.

One of Karen’s key career achievements has been her involvement in the development of a program with Letsibogo Girls’ High School in the South African township of Soweto. Each year, two girls are sponsored for one year’s education in Australia. Karen introduced the program to MWSC after developing it in her previous schools, and she is currently hosting one of the international students at her family home.

My vision is to develop students who will be engaged in their learning and become lifelong learners, developing resilience and optimism.
Karen Wade

Associate Professor Kate Hoy — Monash University

Telstra Victorian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

There are currently more than 46.8 million people living with dementia worldwide. Without any significant breakthroughs in treatment, that figure is predicted to rise to 131.5 million by 2050.

In her role as head of the cognitive therapeutics research program at the Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre, Associate Professor Kate Hoy is leading the charge in tackling such cognitive disorders.

In addition to her current exploration of effective treatments for dementia, Kate’s role also sees her mentor the future research workforce. She is especially focused on helping female scientists to break into senior positions within male-dominated research fields, in a bid to reverse the low proportion of female senior level academics nationally. 

With no significant treatment breakthroughs, there is expected to be more than 1 million people with dementia in Australia by 2056. New approaches to treatment are needed and the research my team is conducting has the potential to deliver these.
Associate Professor Kate Hoy

Katy Barfield — Yume

Telstra Victorian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Katy Barfield is passionate about the sustainable food industry. Yume, launched in 2014, is an online marketplace that connects food suppliers, such as manufacturers and distributors, with commercial buyers (including restaurants and hotels) to prevent surplus food from going to landfill, by offering significant discounts on food that would otherwise be wasted.

Katy’s position as founder and CEO of Yume follows roles at SecondBite and Spade & Barrow. Her lifelong commitment to food rescue has seen millions of kilograms of surplus food saved from wastage under her watch.

As a leader in business and food rescue alike, Katy has worked to secure likeminded investors who are focused not only on financial returns but also environmental and social benefits. 

I come into work every day knowing that myself and my dedicated team are creating a positive impact on the environment.
Katy Barfield

Kellee Ireland — Spookfish

Telstra Victorian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

Kellee Ireland is no stranger to hard work. She was already employed full-time in the spatial industries and raising three children when she added part-time study to her load. She was then promoted to the role of Executive Director of the Spatial Industries Business Association (SIBA) and after 9 years has recently taken up the challenge at Spookfish, a cutting edge spatial industries tech start-up.

Kellee works with some of Australia’s finest thinkers in geospatial information systems – the technology that uses data to show where, why and how things happen. This technology is now available to consumers via their smartphones.

Having state and federal governments regularly engage with SIBA events to shape policy around digital transformation and data, Kellee has been a crucial bridge between the various stakeholders in this growing industry.

As an advocate for women in business and leadership, Kellee was appointed to the Board of Victorian Women for ICT.

The world needs to understand the incredible value that spatial technology brings to business and day to day life.
Kellee Ireland

Kristen Raby — Nova Systems

Telstra Victorian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

After 13 years as an aerospace engineer in the Canadian Air Force, Kristen Raby joined professional services firm Nova Systems in 2006. Delivering complex technologies to solve real-world problems in challenging environments, Kristen leads teams to build resilient systems in the fields of aerospace, surveillance, communications, information, integrated solutions and future systems. 

Since taking on the role of Victorian Operations Manager in 2012, Kristen has successfully grown the business from four to more than 40 consultants, representing over 10% of the Nova Group’s Australian presence.

Passionate about the enduring impact of technology, Kristen uses her own technical proficiency and leadership position to develop exciting career prospects for STEM professionals.

I enjoy leading a workforce of highly skilled and extremely capable consultants to deliver value to our clients and overcome the challenges of operating across a number of different technical domains.
Kristen Raby

Linda Monique — Almo Milk

Telstra Victorian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Linda Monique is the founder and CEO of Almo Milk and one of 75,000 Australians suffering from Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.

Linda’s own struggle with severe digestive issues inspired her to develop Almo Milk – an Australian-sourced almond milk which, unlike others on the market, is entirely free from questionable additives, sugars and starches.

Testament to Linda’s continual hustling and the product’s national relevance, in less than a year since its launch, Almo Milk has secured distribution contracts across three countries. The brand continues to grow nationally and overseas in over 400 outlets.  

The food we eat impacts our overall gut health. By reducing the presence of questionable additives and creating transparency around sourcing, we can reduce the burden of disease and improve the quality of life for many.
Linda Monique

Lisa Du — ReadyTechGo

Telstra Victorian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Lisa Du has built a successful business around educating older people about technology, but the seed of her idea came from within her own family. Lisa grew up translating English for her Chinese/Vietnamese father, and when she introduced him to Google Translate, his life changed for the better.

After rising quickly through the ranks of a leading technology company, Lisa launched her own project, ReadyTechGo. Along with a team of 20 trainers across Melbourne, she offers face-to-face education for people whose everyday lives can be improved by learning the value of technology and accessing essential digital services.

As technology continues to evolve, Lisa has advanced her business by establishing relationships with referrers, and she will soon introduce an online learning platform.

I love what I do because we enrich lives. Many clients are socially isolated or confined to their homes. We help them create new social networks and enhance their mental wellbeing.
Lisa Du

Marianne Hubbard — Pinarc Disability Support

Telstra Victorian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Passionate about social justice, Marianne Hubbard has spent more than two decades working with homeless youth, victims of crime, the elderly and the long-term unemployed, across the palliative care, mental health and disability sectors.

She is currently CEO of Pinarc Disability Support, a not-for-profit committed to making a positive difference in the lives of people with disability by providing opportunities to maximise their potential.

During her nine-year tenure, Marianne’s impact has been profound. From turning around the culture of an organisation that was burdened by internal conflict, to purchasing the company’s first permanent properties, she has built a values-driven, profitable business, which delivers quality services and exemplary customer service. 

We live in a world filled with conflict and lacking in social connectedness. Our vision is that people with disability are equal and valued members of the community.
Marianne Hubbard

Dr Melanie Thomson — MTPConnect

Telstra Victorian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

With a PhD in biochemistry and trained in molecular medicine, Dr Melanie Thomson was well placed to answer the government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda call. She joined MTPConnect in 2016 to help develop skills across the medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries (MTP).

As the leader of MTPConnect’s education, skills and events portfolio, Melanie vigorously tackles the industry’s barriers to success by addressing education and skills gaps, which restrict the growth of Australia’s health sectors within the global market.

Inspiring others to consider different perspectives and positions, she acts as a voice for change and advocates for bold ideas capable of driving sector-wide collaboration.

Health is a major growth sector globally. With changing demographics and increasing disease burdens, Australia must develop its medical technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical economy to secure a healthier, wealthier future for its citizens.
Dr Melanie Thomson

Michelle Gallaher — The Social Science

Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year Finalist
Telstra Victorian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

After 25 years in leadership roles within the biopharmaceutical and medical research sector, Michelle Gallaher decided to leave her comfort zone for a more uncertain path in start-ups.

Her first venture, The Social Science, focuses on digital content creation for clients within the STEMM innovation industries. Her second is Women in STEMM Australia. This organisation looks to reduce the industries’ barriers to entry for women and close the gender pay gap. The third business is a dermatology-focussed biotech start up with near-term clinical skincare products launching this year.

Michelle’s businesses are powered by her belief that Australia cannot reach its full innovation potential if a significant proportion of the STEMM-qualified workforce opts out mid-career or, even worse, fails to enter into it at all.

Social and professional networks are enormously powerful in accelerating careers and building innovation ecosystems. Women know this, yet many of us hold back from investing and leveraging networks in the same way that men do.”
Michelle Gallaher

Natasha Norton — Accuteque

Telstra Victorian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

When Natasha Norton arrived at Accuteque in 2010, she discovered a business model that was destined to be redundant within a few years. Accuteque started as a software testing business, but Natasha laid out the road map to where it is today: a professional services company that has exceeded its growth targets for the past three years running, coinciding with her tenure as CEO.

Instigating significant change is not always easy, but Natasha maintains a confident and honest management style to ensure success. She values Accuteque’s ability to service its client base of mid-tier businesses rather than just the top end, but she remains focused on the future, having partnered with a leading augmented and virtual reality firm to improve her company’s offering.

People have different areas of knowledge, and I love providing a space for everyone to show what they can do, whether they are juniors or seniors.
Natasha Norton

Penelope O’Sullivan — Exponential Events

Telstra Victorian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

After reading shocking statistics on violence against women in Australia, Penelope O’Sullivan decided to apply her skills in event consultancy to bring about social change. Her business, Exponential Events, runs the Ultimate Weekend Women’s Expo, a showcase of up to 115 small and medium businesses, offering seminars and classes to the general public.

The expo travels around Australia, with 100 percent of profits donated to local domestic violence charities and shelters. Penelope now manages seven volunteers and employees, but she also takes a hands-on approach to the events.

Life is short, and true individual happiness comes from supporting others and bringing a bit of happiness and joy into as many lives as you can touch.
Penelope O’Sullivan

Ruth Mackay — OURTEL Fundraising Solutions

Telstra Victorian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Melbourne business woman Ruth Mackay has been a pioneer of effectively employing technology in the workplace for more than 30 years. She recently published her first book, ‘The 21st Century Workforce’, to help businesses plan and manage their employees virtually.

In a country as vast as Australia, a virtual workforce is an asset to any business, especially to a small to medium sized business. Ruth has proven as much in her role as founder and managing director of OURTEL Solutions, which provides fundraising services to a number of Australia’s major charities.

Ruth finds the virtual work model makes her hands-on management style more effective, as she speaks one-on-one with agents and clients on a daily basis, and is able to employ staff from diverse ages, locations and cultures.

I believe that the company that stands still will fall behind. I am constantly looking to overseas markets to ensure OURTEL maintains our status as a leading service provider to the Australian not-for-profit industry.”
Ruth Mackay

Sarah Holloway — Matcha Maiden

Telstra Victorian Entrepreneur Award Finalist
Telstra Victorian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

Sarah Holloway’s career in law was advancing rapidly when she reached a fork in the road: her superfood business, Matcha Maiden, needed her full-time attention to achieve its next goals.

That was the moment Sarah became a ‘funtrepreneur’, successfully turning her hobby into a career of its own. Having given up coffee for health reasons, Sarah had discovered matcha, an ancient type of powdered green tea leaves, and recognised its potential in the booming health food market.

While Sarah and her partner Nic leveraged social media to create global demand for their product range, they recognised the need to diversify in the face of growing competition. Today, they also manage Matcha Mylkbar, a physical venue for superfood and vegan eating.

The only thing between you and the life you dream of is whether you have the courage to choose it.
Sarah Holloway

Shan Morrison — Women's & Men's Health Physiotherapy

Telstra Victorian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

When Shan Morrison was 16, her mother returned to work as a physiotherapist, and Shan noticed how it improved her sense of self. This inspired Shan to enter physiotherapy herself, and twelve years later, she became a partner in Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy.

Now the sole owner and director of WMHP, Shan oversees its delivery of specialised pelvic health and pelvic floor physiotherapy across seven locations. WMHP helps patients regain control of their bladder, bowel and sexual function after pregnancy, prostate surgery and other pelvic problems.

Few people know of the role physiotherapy can play in treating pelvic health conditions, so a large part of Shan’s role is building and maintaining relationships with her network of 600 referrers. 

I am motivated by making a positive difference in people’s lives. My passion for the mission of WMHP is infectious, inspiring my team to ensure my vision has become our reality.
Shan Morrison

Amanda Castray — University of Tasmania

Telstra Tasmanian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

As the executive director of strategic projects at the University of Tasmania, Amanda Castray plays an essential role in shaping the commercial strategy of the institution to support the delivery of education to over 35,000 students each year.  

Amanda’s career has spanned the public and private sectors; developing policy, delivering programs, and leading projects across the energy, services, and higher-education sectors.

Amanda leads a team of 10 working on projects and initiatives valued at more than $100 million for the university. Earlier this year, Amanda’s work in preparing the business case for the University’s $400 million STEM precinct in Hobart was approved by Infrastructure Australia, making it the first endorsement of an educational project nationally.

The solutions I develop determine how the university operates, and the strategic projects I lead - such as funding for new infrastructure - will benefit future generations.
Amanda Castray

Alison Flakemore — Alison's Garden & Landscape

Telstra Tasmanian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Twenty years ago, Alison Flakemore entered the garden and landscape industry with an old van, a lawnmower and basic hand tools. Today, the services offered by Alison’s Garden & Landscape include gutter cleaning, testing and tagging, and contracts with both corporate clients and the Tasmanian Government.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. In 2013, Alison faced life-threatening health issues including breast cancer, and her business suffered in her absence. Upon returning to work, Alison oversaw a company restructure and implemented a system for real-time data reporting, rescuing her business from disaster.

Alison’s business has come a long way since being run from the back of a van, and she has recently engaged a marketing team to redesign its social and search engine strategy.

Alison's Garden & Landscape is building opportunity for individual development so that its people may in turn assist my vision of community improvement through sustainable horticulture.
Alison Flakemore

Amy Reiner — Hill Street Grocers

Telstra Tasmanian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

As a director of the Browns supermarket and shopping centre, Amy Reiner works at the forefront of her local community. But after 128 years serving the district, Browns needed to become more than an old-fashioned country store.

That’s why Amy established a new goal for Browns: to be the greenest supermarket in Australia. Following its move to a new $10 million sustainable shopping complex, Amy negotiated a joint venture with Hill Street Grocers, a Tasmania-wide chain. She then oversaw the transition to a new ownership structure.

Amy’s strength is in her ability to assess situations and trends, internally and externally. She is able to identify and secure growth and development opportunities, and conceive solutions leading to cooperation between disparate groups and individuals.


To sell a dream, to lead the curve and blaze a new trail I have had to overcome the fear of failure and rejection and believe in myself.
Amy Reiner

Barbara Walters — Whitelion

Telstra Tasmanian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

For 11 years, Barbara Walters has been committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth through her work with Whitelion. Whitelion is a not-for-profit organisation that assists disadvantaged young people in building better futures, through mentoring and leadership programs. 

Barbara is the second longest-serving staff member in the organisation and for the last two years has been working as the state manager for Tasmania. She’s responsible for 12 staff across three locations within the state. 

For a decade, Barbara has led Bail Out, one of Whitelion’s flagship events. The interactive experience is aimed at educating participants about the issues and barriers faced by disadvantaged young people. It creates an atmosphere of complete vulnerability and fear, similar to what a young person would feel when incarcerated.


Our work is important because young people engaged with Whitelion often lack meaningful relationships in their lives and slip through the cracks of mainstream society.
Barbara Walters

Camille O'Meara — Stornoway Maintenance

Telstra Tasmanian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

After a decade-long hiatus from the world of asset management, which saw her take on a role with confectionary giant Cadbury, Camille O’Meara rejoined Stornoway, where she now heads up the Business Services team.

Over the subsequent years, Camille took Stornoway’s safety management system to Australian Standard 4801 – making it the first private Tasmanian company to achieve such a status.

Wanting to retain the company’s strong, values-based culture and give back to the local community, Camille also launched a School to Work program. The scheme provides young Tasmanians living in socio-economically challenged areas with meaningful pathways to employment, through both educational and vocational opportunities.

I believe that barriers are meant to be broken and you can achieve anything through hard work, being solution-focused and developing effective partnerships.
Camille O'Meara

Dr Catherine Wheatley — Water for a Village

Telstra Tasmanian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Dr Catherine Wheatley looks to put humanity into action, by opening people’s consciousness and encouraging people to think more altruistically about others. 

As President of charity Water for a Village, she is committed to providing water for people living in the most profound poverty. With the charity’s current focus on the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia, Catherine leads fundraising initiatives to provide self-contained water sources for villages without access to clean and safe drinking water.

In less than three years, Catherine has helped to secure $100,000 in donations, which has provided water sources for 8,000 people. These are lifelines for residents, making invaluable contributions to supporting health and education outcomes and delivering the beginnings of a journey out of poverty.

I feel strongly that we all share the same world and we all deserve the same rights, dignity and respect. It’s up to people who live in countries like ours to make it happen in less fortunate countries.
Dr Catherine Wheatley

Gill Berriman — Bayview Secondary College

Telstra Tasmanian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Bayview Secondary College was a school blighted by cultural stigmatisation, stereotyping and negative community perception. Since Gill Berriman stepped into the principal role five years ago, Bayview has undergone a dramatic transformation.

Gill’s belief in the power of an aspirational culture has enabled her to successfully rally against the college’s isolated position within the local community. Since her appointment, she has successfully sparked a complete shift in how Bayview approached school improvement, human resource management, new and innovative strategic development and team motivation.

Through these efforts, Gill is enabling the college to fulfil its vision of delivering high quality, innovative educational programs, which support lifelong learning for all. 

Our work in education matters more than most as our students face significant challenges with regard to cultural stigma and barriers to educational opportunity, access, aspiration, participation and equality.
Gill Berriman

Hanna Graham — Revolution Paintball

Telstra Tasmanian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Homeless at 13, Hanna Graham spent her teenage years working to support herself through high school. Eventually, unable to sustain this lifestyle, she moved to Launceston to assist her father, where she worked in a small café which she later purchased.

She then went on to open Tasmania’s first ever paintball business, Revolution Paintball, which was no easy feat. Hanna helped bring about a change in Tasmanian firearms legislation in order to make paintball legal. The Police Minister supported her efforts and, in 2016, Hanna became the only woman in Tasmania to own a paintball business.

Revolution Paintball is all about friends, fun and fitness. It is now Hanna’s aim to make paintball an official sport and she currently runs a fortnightly program to train enthusiasts.

I am passionate about living life with a purpose. I want to make a difference in the lives of others by becoming a leader and an inspirational speaker, to influence other young women, through my success and achievements.
Hanna Graham

Jan Bingley — MerseyLink

Telstra Tasmanian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Aged 30, Jan Bingley suffered a back injury which paralysed her leg. This time taught her the importance of looking after your own health and balancing work life with personal life. 

As a qualified massage therapist and personal trainer, Jan brought her health and fitness knowledge to her current role as general manager and HR manager for Merseylink, a bus and coach business. 

Committed to doing everything she can to improve her staff’s wellbeing and work-life balance, Jan passionately advocates for workplace health programs. She runs nightly staff marathon training sessions, invites guest speakers to deliver wellness advice, has installed a workplace gym and refers staff to the business’s dedicated counsellor for mental health support. 

I am passionate about helping my staff make decisions that will positively influence their mental and physical health and wellbeing. I am committed to demonstrating that through support in the workplace, we can reverse the statistics.
Jan Bingley

Dr Jessica Manuela — Dental South

Telstra Tasmanian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

As both a company director and principle dentist, Jessica Manuela looks to counter the epidemic of dental disease currently plaguing Australia, along with the country’s culture of “dental fear”. Her philosophy is centred on improving her patients’ oral health through holistic education and quality care.

Having opened her own dental clinic in 2014, Jessica swiftly followed her debut practice’s success with the launch of a sister clinic just three years later.

Jessica’s entrepreneurial drive has also seen her push the clinic’s capabilities into the realm of progressive dento-facial procedures, offering the likes of botox, thread lifts, dermal fillers and micro-needling.

There is a lack of education as to how poor oral health detrimentally affects overall health and so I am determined to use my professional knowledge and skills to make a difference.
Dr Jessica Manuela

Judy Martin — SAGE International Study Program

Telstra Tasmanian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

In a career spanning 35 years, Judy Martin has worked on remote, rural, state, national and international aged care projects.

Currently, she is the industry liaison manager - seniors living for Thomson Adsett, an international architecture practice specialising in aged care and seniors living. 

Alongside this, Judy is director of the SAGE International Study Program, which sees her take senior executives from the Australian aged-care industry overseas to look at other countries’ best practice. 

Judy is also the founding board director of CommonAge which aims to improve the life of older citizens in Commonwealth countries by closing the links between members of the aged-care sector and fostering high standards of education within it.

As a country, we want to provide the best care possible for our seniors. I believe I am contributing to a bigger picture, by influencing change within the aged-care sector both at the forefront and globally.
Judy Martin

Kate Sice — Botanical Kate Sice

Telstra Tasmanian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Intent on showing customers there is more to floristry than the mass-produced arrangements that currently dominate the market, Kate Sice set up Hobart’s creatively quirky flower shop, Botanical, in 2014.

As the business’s premier stylist, Kate’s forte lies in constructing beautiful arrangements that convey the full spectrum of emotions – from love to grief to gratitude. She also runs regular practical workshops that allow budding florists to encourage their own creativity.

Kate’s relentless drive and energy have helped her to establish a successful start-up in an industry that is inherently challenging for any new business venture and, after just 32 months, Botanical now holds a pre-eminent position in the Hobart market.

My mission is to remind people that bigger is not always better and that a product with integrity, skilfully arranged by someone who truly cares, is a far more valuable proposition for both buyer and seller.
Kate Sice

Nicole McCullagh — Your Local Motor Group

Telstra Tasmanian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

During her time with Your Local Motor Group (formerly Launceston Toyota and Audi Centre), Nicole McCullagh has overhauled both the guest experience and business operations.

As the company’s group business coordinator, her key successes include taking customer satisfaction surveys from three stars to five and leading the company to be recognised as a top rural dealership Australia-wide.

Eager to bring customers more brand choice and grow Your Local Motor Group’s market share, Nicole has played a significant role in two successful new business acquisitions over the past 12 months, which have doubled the company’s business portfolio.

My key aim was to develop a solid approach to guest management, through the implementation of a range of policies and procedures to assist staff in consistently delivering best practice customer service.
Nicole McCullagh

Rachel Roberts — Beauty of Arcadia

Telstra Tasmanian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

As a new mum, Rachel Roberts craved the flexibility that running your own business can bring. She decided to open her beauty salon, Beauty of Arcadia, just a few months after the birth of her daughter. 

Rachel wanted her salon to be as ethically conscious as she is, and so treatments are only carried out using natural, vegan and sustainably sourced products. With more people looking for ways to minimise the mark they leave on the environment, Rachel says Beauty of Arcadia is a way for clients to show both themselves and the planet some TLC. 

Having started her salon in 2016, Rachel is proud to have achieved a successful first year. 

The purpose of my business is to provide a natural, vegan beauty destination, a place that acknowledges and educates on the importance of self-care, while bringing positive change towards sustainable, environmental-friendly practices.
Rachel Roberts

Toni Moate — CSIRO

Telstra Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year Finalist
Telstra Tasmanian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Toni Moate joined the CSIRO in 1991 as a project officer, but her continued part-time studies in commerce saw her develop the skills to become a business leader. 

Having ascended through the ranks, Toni is now the director of National Collections and Marine Infrastructure at the CSIRO, overseeing research activities for one of Australia’s largest natural assets: the ocean, which makes up 60 percent of the nation’s territory, though only 12 percent of that has been mapped.

From 2009-2014, Toni led the design, build and commissioning process for Australia’s only blue water research ship, the Investigator. At the time, it was the single biggest contract the CSIRO had signed excluding property, and the vessel is now available for the international marine research community.

Research infrastructure is critical to inspiring people to solve world problems for years to come. This is not a short-term legacy – we are supporting scientists to explore ecosystems that will deliver solutions for the next hundreds of years.
Toni Moate

Alyson Garrett — CMS Private Advisory

Telstra South Australian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

For many years, Alyson Garrett juggled being a single mum with her career as an accountant. It was through her journey to find balance between family and a demanding career that Alyson became passionate about mentoring and promoting gender diversity, as both elements had played a role in her own success.

Alyson’s career satisfaction has come about by combining her love of her work with her passion for family. Now working as a director at CMS Private Advisory, Alyson is able to share her experience with others.

CMS is a bespoke accounting, financial and business advisory service whose purpose is to align the culture and values of families with their business and personal goals to build wealth for themselves and future generations.

Australia's economy is built on the backbone of small business, so it matters that the businesses and family groups that own them are educated and empowered to greater success.
Alyson Garrett

Andrea Michaels — NDA Law

Telstra South Australian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

As a lawyer challenging established boundaries, and a woman extending her horizons, being resilient and determined are two of Andrea Michaels’ key traits. 

Her ferocious drive to change law firm culture saw Andrea found legal practice NDA Law, a business born from her years spent dealing with ‘misaligned values’.

Striving to create a better client service experience, NDA Law makes legal services more accessible, affordable and transparent.

Social justice is a passion Andrea pursues in both a personal and professional capacity. Whether it's volunteering to help charities navigate their legal obligations or mentoring other women to greater aspirations, she believes these are positive steps toward a better future for women in particular and society as a whole.

Today's best entrepreneurs are those who are nimble, determined risk-takers and who show an understanding of the people around them.
Andrea Michaels

Carmen Garcia — Community Corporate

Telstra South Australian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

A first-generation migrant from the Philippines, Carmen Garcia’s experience with racism in the professional world inspired her to establish Community Corporate – a specialist diversity and inclusion business that creates work opportunities for the thousands of refugees settling in Australia. 

As managing director, Carmen helps not-for-profits grow their operations, and corporates to fulfil their social responsibilities, by creating viable enterprise models with strong social impact solutions.

To date, she has successfully influenced government policy to recognise culturally tailored pre-employment programs, including the rollout of a Woolworths national refugee employment pilot. She delivered Spotless30, an initiative resulting in 30 refugees securing work at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Corporate social responsibility can provide businesses with a competitive edge, but more than that, diversity and inclusion recognises the pivotal role migration plays in building our nation.
Carmen Garcia

Corrine Fiebiger — South Terrace Urology

Telstra South Australian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

Corrine Fiebiger is on a mission to deliver excellence in the provision of urological health at South Terrace Urology. 

Joining the practice as a medical typist in 1997, Corrine quickly moved up to become a key figure in the business as a board member. Her role requires her to manage and direct all departments to ensure the smooth running of the business.

Corrine’s passion and belief in quality healthcare extends throughout the business with her management skills positively affecting staff and patients. The culture of good governance and top-down, bottom-up consultation that Corrine encourages has provided substantial business growth and the implementation of patient care programs and research activities.

My role enables the South Terrace Urology doctors to focus on what they do best, which is surgery. Meanwhile, I drive the purpose, strategy and development of the business itself.
Corrine Fiebiger

Elaine Bensted — Zoos South Australia

Telstra South Australian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Elaine Bensted grew up with dreams of becoming a veterinarian. As CEO of Zoos South Australia, she plays an important role in animal conservation not just across Australia but the globe, during a time when species are being wiped out at an alarming rate. 

When Elaine commenced her duties with Adelaide and Monarto Zoos in 2012, Zoos SA was in a precarious financial position. Elaine’s implementation of a five-year business plan, and a 20-year master plan, has seen the organisation hit new membership records and increase its visitor numbers past half a million annually.

Zoos SA is a conservation charity, so Elaine’s skills in negotiation and relationship management are essential for its efforts in preserving the animal world.

Our mission to connect people with nature and save species from extinction has never been more important. The animals we've returned to the wild wouldn't be there without us.
Elaine Bensted

Elly Griffin — SILK Laser Clinics

Telstra South Australian Corporate and Private Award Finalist

With a passion for people and performance management, Elly Griffin held several roles in the HR and recruitment sector when she started working for skin clinic SILK Laser Clinics. As the business was just starting out, she initially provided HR consulting services, before being hired as manager of operations and human resources. 

Working across all functions of the business, Elly is involved in recommending and implementing solutions for policy development, process improvement, effective leadership and staff retention. 

Alongside this, Elly has a particular interest in the internal purpose of the business, which is to make a positive difference to the local community. It provides employment opportunities for locals, uses local suppliers and runs a community program for local charities.

Throughout my career, I’ve learnt that challenges are vital to the growth of an organisation, because they promote learning and idea creation, but it also fosters effective teamwork within a business.
Elly Griffin

Joanna Buttfield — Kid Sense Child Development

Telstra South Australian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Having undertaken specialist paediatric training in the USA, Joanna Buttfield recognised the desperate need for similar services here in Australia. 

Upon her return, she established Kid Sense – a private provider of centre-based paediatric occupational therapy and speech pathology services. The organisation works closely with children who have disabilities, or face developmental challenges, in their movement, speech or learning. 

Joanna also uses her own professional expertise to ‘educate the educators’ – the teachers, kindergarten and childcare staff who play such an important role in young children’s most formative years. 

With Kid Sense now nearly 20 years old, Joanna has positively impacted the lives and learnings of thousands of children, their families and professionals within the education system.

My vision for Kid Sense is simple yet compelling – create the most trusted brand in child development in Australia.
Joanna Buttfield

Professor Leah Bromfield — University of South Australia

Telstra South Australian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

As Co-Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection, Leah Bromfield deals with the worst things that can happen to children. This helps her stay focused on the overall goal of her teams’ research: not just to provide research, but to inform real change in policy and practice around child safety. 

Leah’s career-long dedication to the field saw her appointed Professorial Fellow to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. This significant role developed a new evidence base to improve knowledge and greater understandings around child sexual abuse across a range of institutions.   

Leah’s adoption of adaptive technology enabled her to continue to undertake her important work after suffering sudden vision loss in her only sighted eye in 2015. 

My teams are producing world-class research that is leading change in policy and practice in child protection. It is my role to continually reinforce and communicate the importance of our work.
Professor Leah Bromfield

Lee Martinez — University of South Australia Department of Rural Health

Telstra South Australian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Lee Martinez’s lifelong professional journey in rural healthcare commenced with a nursing role at Whyalla Hospital four decades ago. Since then, she has remained dedicated to improving the health of rural populations and advocating for mental health services.

Nursing provided the foundation for a number of Lee’s opportunities, eventually leading to her current role as mental health academic at the University of South Australia’s Department of Rural Health. The department provides remote health workers with learning opportunities, supports health science students on rural placement, and entices more locals to join a health career. 

In her role, Lee leads the mental health program, aiming to increase awareness and access to mental health services for rural and remote Australians.  

We need a community that has an understanding, acceptance and is free of the stigma that exists towards mental illness. My work has built extensive partnerships within the community to raise awareness and increase knowledge of mental illness.
Lee Martinez

Liz Cohen — Cara

Telstra South Australian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Liz Cohen’s sliding door moment took place in 1987, in the Northern Territory township of Nhulunbuy, when she was teaching a young blind student. On track for a principal’s position, Liz suddenly changed her perspective, realising her passion was in educating and assisting people with disabilities to succeed and achieve.

Realising the full extent of that ambition has seen Liz accept the role of chief executive of Cara, one of South Australia’s largest disability services providers. 

Together with more than 940 staff members and 100 volunteers, Liz champions a compelling, values-based vision that looks to empower people with disability by supporting their choice and control over how they live their everyday lives.

Cara as a profit-for-purpose will change the way individuals view people with disability. With our support, our customers can become ambitious, resilient and autonomous and ‘find possible’ in their lives.
Liz Cohen

Loretta Cavallaro — VARO Property

Telstra South Australian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Loretta Cavallaro has built a solid reputation during her nine years working in real estate. In 2016, after four years immersed in Melbourne’s off-the-plan market, Loretta returned to her hometown of Adelaide to take the leap into the start-up life.

Loretta’s business venture, VARO Property, focuses on selling off-the-plan properties before they go to market as well as a residential sales and property management arm. Loretta says the purpose of VARO is to assist people on their journey through life, and to help them achieve their goals.

VARO’s motto is “always display honesty and integrity in everything we do”. This is what Loretta stands for and what VARO and each team member, affectionately known as #varocrew, stands for too. 

My proudest achievement has been my ability to establish and grow Varo so quickly and build a loyal and passionate team, despite my four-year absence from the SA market.
Loretta Cavallaro

Dr Perrine Neretti — Glen Osmond Veterinary Clinic

Telstra South Australian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

A passionate animal lover and natural-born entrepreneur, Perrine set her sights on running her own Vet practice from a young age. In 2008, she finally realised her long-held ambition, opening Glen Osmond Veterinary Clinic.

Perrine is unconventional in her approach to veterinary science, working closely with clients to develop holistic diagnostic plans. She aims to incorporate traditional treatments with complementary naturopathic medicines. Through this combination of therapies, Perrine is able to successfully manage rare and severe diseases.

Perrine is committed to improving animal health within the local community and at scale. She hopes her professional work, combined with her voluntary conservation efforts, will enable future generations to continue enjoying Australia’s unique wildlife for many years to come.

I like to think the world needs passionate, pioneering veterinary surgeons to raise standards, expectations and outcomes within the profession.
Dr Perrine Neretti

Dr Rachel Kennedy — Ehrenberg-Bass Institute University of South Australia

Telstra South Australian Public Sector and Academia Award Finalist

Rachel Kennedy has always had an eye for business. By the age of nine, she had recruited children from her neighbourhood to deliver newspapers. Years later, after living and working abroad, Rachel helped establish the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science in Adelaide – now the world’s largest centre for research into marketing.

Rachel’s work with the not-for-profit has positioned her as a global leader in evidence-based marketing. Her role as associate director (special projects) means developing tools to implement the institute’s findings in everyday business practice.  

However, her clients are anything but ‘everyday’ – the institute’s work is funded by the likes of Unilever, Airbnb and Facebook, and Rachel has received invitations to present at the prestigious Cannes Lions festival.

I’m great at taking on a challenge and getting the job done. In my work, this means identifying priority research directions and delivering knowledge that helps industry be more effective and efficient.
Dr Rachel Kennedy

Tammy Barton — MyBudget

Telstra South Australian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Tammy Barton started MyBudget in 1999 after witnessing the devastating impact debt can have on people’s lives. 

MyBudget has since become one of Australia’s leading financial services companies, designing customised money strategies that support clients’ financial goals, from debt management to savings planning.

Tammy’s unwavering commitment to reducing her clients’ money worries and improving financial literacy in the wider community are the bedrock of the business’ success. In the last five years alone, she has grown MyBudget by more than 400 percent into a company that now has more than 20,000 active clients and turns over $34 million a year. 

By building the business around the values of caring, making a difference and promoting financial responsibility, I’ve grown an organisation of like-minded people united by MyBudget’s cause.
Tammy Barton

Tracy Marsh — Tracy Marsh Publications

Telstra South Australian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Tracy Marsh’s first foray into entrepreneurship was at age 18, when she wrote and self-published her first book. The book, Touch of Nostalgia, went on to sell over 200,000 copies and become an Australian best-seller.

This was followed by the launch of Craft & Decorating – Australia’s first and longest running craft magazine – as well as some three million publications since.

With Australia’s youth unemployment rate at 14 percent, Tracy recognised the need for career education subjects in the final years of schooling. So, in 2016 Tracy launched the Work-Ready Program. Tracy believes the Work-Ready Program responds to the demand for a comprehensive program dedicated to preparing students for their future. 

Our programs are about creating a positive problem-solving mindset in young people that lasts a lifetime. It’s about encouraging young Australians to think big and follow their dream.
Tracy Marsh

Janine Arnold — Carers Tasmania

Telstra Tasmanian For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award Finalist

Janine Arnold strongly believes that society can be best measured by the way it treats its most vulnerable people. She is a dedicated volunteer in her community and the CEO of Carers Tasmania.

Janine’s personal principle of showing kindness runs through every facet of her life, including her volunteer work. At Carers Tasmania, she is able to help deliver valuable services to the family and friends who act as unpaid carers for loved ones living with disability, mental illness, chronic conditions, alcohol or drug addiction or severe frailty due to age.

In three years as CEO, Janine has encouraged working “smart with heart.” Her focus for the business has included reducing corporate overhead costs, launching Carers Tasmania’s first television commercial, developing corporate partnerships and innovative programs for young carers. 

I believe volunteering is the right thing to do. It inherently connects people to each other and is a small way that I am able to give back and show gratitude for the life I have.
Janine Arnold

Amy Haulman — Aim Remedial Massage

Telstra Tasmanian Young Business Women's Award Finalist

A remedial massage therapist, Amy launched her start-up venture, Aim Remedial Massage in 2015.

Amy Haulman’s clients suffer from diverse and complex ailments, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, mental health issues, arthritis, joint replacements, and many others.

Through the business, Amy endeavours to support her clients’ health objectives, working closely with other care providers to maximise the benefits of her services. 

With many of her clients dealing with life-limiting illness, Amy undertakes research into every individual’s specific condition. This allows her to provide personalised treatment options that deliver precise relief – both physically and emotionally – that the client requires.

My clients have myriad conditions and this rich, diverse circumstance has provided me with endless opportunities to learn about and care for them.
Amy Haulman

Sheree Rubinstein — One Roof Coworking

Telstra Victorian Entrepreneur Award Finalist

Like many fellow female entrepreneurs, Sheree Rubinstein found the decision to leave a stable and financially secure job, with a top tier law firm, extremely difficult. However, Sheree had a clear goal in mind, co-founding One Roof to provide the professional support and inspiration that women in business need to thrive.

One Roof runs co-working spaces for women, serving as a one-stop hub for coaching, mentoring, financial advice and more. Sheree curates and facilitates One Roof’s programs, driven by her ambition to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship. Last year, she travelled to Johannesburg as a volunteer facilitator for YHER, an accelerator program for female founders who run social enterprises supporting women in their communities.

Every decision I make is towards how I can best support women to thrive and succeed in business to reach their greatest potential in life.
Sheree Rubinstein

Anne Tham — ACE Ed-Venture Group

Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award Finalist

As the Head of English in the Canadian pre-university programme at Taylor’s College, Anne Tham was baffled by the fact that, despite 11 years of learning English, her students arrived at the college lacking vital communication and critical thinking skills. 

Anne’s solution was to launch English classes in her own home – classes that, in the 22 years since their original inception, have flourished into ACE Ed-Venture Group’s multiple learning centres and two international schools, both listed under Cambridge Strategies’ Innovation 800 as “Best Practice Pioneers”, and one holding the title of Malaysia’s first entrepreneurial school.

Using her profound understanding of the learning tactics and environments in which young people thrive, Anne has created an education system that develops confident, creative, innovative, entrepreneurial and future-ready students to carve out their niche in the world.

The majority of students are smart. It's just that the pedagogy doesn't suit them. Get this right and the students will soar.
Anne Tham

Fern Ngai — Community Business

Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award Finalist

Fern Ngai is CEO of Community Business, a not-for profit organisation dedicated to advancing responsible and inclusive business practices in Asia. Fern leads the organisation’s efforts including conducting pioneering research, facilitating corporate networks and driving impactful campaigns, in a co-ordinated effort to mobilise the business sector to have a positive impact on people and communities. 

Under Fern’s leadership, Community Business has expanded its offerings, established a subsidiary in India, and launched the LGBT+ Workplace Inclusion Index; the first benchmark for LGBT+ workplace inclusion in Asia. 

Fern joined the not-for-profit sector after 34 years in corporate roles, including eight in executive positions. She spent most of her career in IT-related roles, starting out as a software engineer.

In addition to running Community Business, Fern is a board director of KELY Support Group and a Steering Committee member of the 30% Club Hong Kong. 

I am a change-maker with a wealth of experience, full of energy and passion. I want to truly make a difference, especially in harnessing the power of business to drive social change.
Fern Ngai

Gayathri Vasudevan — LabourNet

Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award Finalist

Gayathri Vasudevan, with a doctorate in Development Studies and more than 23 years of consistent work, has been a consultant for organisations such as UNICEF, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Work Bank on development initiatives for the underprivileged. 

She was an associate with International Labour Organisation (ILO) before co-founding LabourNet in 2006 with a vision to enable livelihoods and enhance quality of life. 

Gayathri has held several advisory posts in the Government and currently, is member of Recognition of Prior Learning Projects, Directorate General Training, Ministry of Labour & Employment; Confederation of Indian Industries, National Skills Committee & National Sports Committee. 

She has more than 30 publications in the areas of labour & employment and gender issues to her credit. Gayathri was honoured with Social Entrepreneur of the Year award conferred at the India International CSR Conclave (IICSR) 2017.

I have always been keen to do something that would bring about positive incremental changes in the socioeconomic status of the less fortunate, in a holistic way.
Gayathri Vasudevan

Geeta Dharmarajan — Katha

Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award Finalist

Geeta Dharmarajan comes from a family of bold women – her social activist grandmother and compassionate parents were the ones who kindled Geeta’s interest in grassroots education.

Over the past three decades, Geeta has channelled her own love of learning by bringing India’s 2,000-year-old storytelling, theatre, dance and music traditions, into her non-profit organisation Katha, an education model which helps get children living in poverty into reading and quality education. 

A champion of relevant and creative learning, Geeta has fundamentally changed India’s education landscape. In establishing schools, reading initiatives and academic research projects, she has empowered teachers, students and communities throughout the country to see learning as an escape route to a better life. She believes that schooling must bring children to understand and appreciate India’s pluralism and diversity; care for earth, gender issues and equality for all, hence creating a kinder world.

What keeps me sleepless at night are children on the street, not achieving their potential. Powering Katha’s vision is the singular idea that children can bring themselves out of poverty when provided with imaginative books, and schooling.
Geeta Dharmarajan

Michele Lai — Kids4Kids

Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award Finalist

Michele Lai believes that kids are our future and every child should be given an opportunity. After having two of her own, Michele Lai decided to move away from her successful career in marketing and focus on helping the children of Hong Kong make an impact on their community.

In 2008, she set up Kids4Kids, a not-for-profit organisation that helps young people develop a sense of social responsibility by enabling them to volunteer for a range of causes. 

Over the years, Michele has taken on a number of roles within the business. But her biggest achievement lies in shifting its reliance from individual donors, to a number of multi-year grants and corporate sponsorships. 

If we want the world to be a better place, we need to equip our kids to be better custodians of the planet. At Kids4Kids, we believe that you’re never too young to help, and being socially conscious can start from a young age.
Michele Lai

Nicole McMillan — Mars Wrigley Confectionary

Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award Finalist

Mars was the company that launched Nicole McMillan’s career – one that has seen her work for some of the world’s biggest food and drinks brands, including Pepsico, Arnotts and Fosters. 

And now she’s come full circle – back under the Mars umbrella as the Vice President of Marketing AMEA (Asia, Middle East and Africa) at Mars Wrigley Confectionary.  Nicole heads up a 90-strong team across the company’s key brands including Snickers, M&M’s, Twix, Extra and Skittles.

Since her appointment, Nicole has used her nurturing and supportive leadership style to overhaul the team’s siloed operating structure and instil a sense of ownership in employees to arm them with the talent and confidence to grow. The result has been a 20% boost to employee engagement levels and a reputation that sees Nicole attract the best talent in Mars globally.

I believe in developing and nurturing the people around me – to not just be competent but excellent in their field. Mutuality is of benefit to the person, the company and the community at large.
Nicole McMillan

Saskia Groen-int-woud — Damco

Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award Finalist

Having studied business at a small regional university in Queensland, Saskia Groen-int-woud seized every possible opportunity to develop a global career. Having worked her way up from being a small business owner, she is now Asia COO for international logistics provider Damco. 

Saskia brings disciplined attention to driving bottom line performance, from the way the business interprets customer requirements, to how it procures and manages the efficient execution of its services. Her appointment has supported the company’s financial turnaround, from a $300m loss in 2014 to turning a profit from 2016 onwards.

Finding the balance of using smarts, courage and heart to address business problems and build high performing teams has been incredibly satisfying.
Saskia Groen-int-woud

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

Finalists are announced progressively around the country. Finalists for this State/Territory will be published shortly. Please check again soon.

National Finalists will be announced once all State Finalists have been selected. Please check again soon.