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Queensland business leaders recognised in women’s awards

Brilliant business women who help keep us safe, nurture our children and come from all over this great state are among 28 finalists in the 21st Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Awards.

Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Kate McKenzie, said Queensland business women were excelling in a broad range of sectors.

“Now in their 21st year, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards not only celebrate women who have the courage to start their own business and lead their industries, but also offer them a platform to encourage others to challenge the status quo and think differently,” Ms McKenzie said.

“The 2015 Queensland finalists join a long list of successful business women, whose unique and innovative approaches to leadership at state and local community levels, and in some cases, globally, continue to impress and inspire the Awards judges.” 

Among the finalists is public safety trailblazer Katarina Carroll, Queensland’s first woman to be appointed Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and the former Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner who coordinated the massive Brisbane G20 security operation. Fellow pioneer Amanda Johnston, the first female Commanding Officer of a full-time Engineer Regiment in the Australian Defence Force, has served in some of the world’s most dangerous zones and leads 450 personnel delivering construction and bomb disposal support for Army operations.

Other finalists protect and foster the development of Queensland kids. Rebecca Glover’s Ruby and Ollie’s All Abilities Childcare cares for children with special needs while 2015 Australia’s Local Hero Juliette Wright developed GIVIT, an online portal tosource urgently-needed items from the public for Australian charities, after she had difficulty donating baby clothes.

Brilliant business women can be found across the state with many of this year’s finalists operating in regional Queensland in a range of industries, from energy (Roslyn Baker – Ergon Energy) to farming (Marie Piccone - Manbulloo) and real estate (Kyia Maidens – Colliers International).

Vanessa Nolan-Woods, General Manager Business & Private Banking and Women in Focus, CommBank, a long-term partner of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, said: “The Qld Telstra Business Women’s Awards finalists are achieving extraordinary things.

“This is exactly the mandate of Women in Focus – to support women to succeed across diverse industries and become positive role models for other women through connection and collaboration. Women in Focus is proud to support these awards and play a proactive part in encouraging future trailblazers.

The 28 finalists join an Alumni that includes winners Anne Cross, CEO of UnitingCare Queensland, Rosemary Vilgan, retiring Chief Executive of QSuper, Cathie Reid, Managing Partner of Epic Pharmacy Group, Ingeus Managing Director Therese Rein, and Becker Helicopters CEO, Captain Jan Becker.

Finalists for the 2015 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Awards are:

Start-up Award

Belinda Brosnan HR Junction Newstead
Hollie Hewett Arete Academy of Arts Murarrie
Valeria Ramirez The Well Nest Kitchen Woolloongabba
Katie Richards  Virtual Legal Albion
Catherine Roberts The Spring Collective Brisbane
Karen Young Property Zest Brisbane

Entrepreneur Award

Shelley Boyd  Boyd Blue Pty Ltd Ashmore
Lucy Cook  Amaze Education Group Mudgeeraba
Karen Hanna Miller TPD Media Brisbane
Marie Piccone Manbulloo Horseshoe Lagoon

For Purpose and Social Enterprise

Rebecca Glover  Ruby & Ollie’s All Abilities Childcare Brisbane
Fiona Jose  Cape York Partnership Cairns
Samantha Power Jan Powers Farmers Markets Brisbane
Juliette Wright GIVIT Brisbane

Government and Academia

Roslyn Baker  Ergon Energy Townsville City
Katarina Carroll  Queensland Fire & Emergency Services Brisbane
Amanda Johnston Australian Army RAAF Amberley
Jodi Schmidt TAFE Queensland Brisbane

Corporate and Private

Dr Catherine Ball  AECOM Brisbane
Cherie Curtis Revelian Stafford
Felicity Dascombe Pursers Coaches Pty Ltd Murgon
Kyia Maidens Colliers International Gold Coast
Kelli Ponting More Marketing Jindalee
Kylie Sprott Cardno Fortitude Valley

Young Business Women’s Award

Elyse Goyen  The FS Group Fortitude Valley
Hollie Hewett Arete Academy of Arts Murarrie
Kaylene Langford StartUp Creative Burleigh Heads
Sarah Timmerman Beginning Boutique South Brisbane
Susie Upton Child Aware Carina

Winners of the 2015 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Awards will be announced on Tuesday 29 September in Brisbane. The Queensland winners proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on Wednesday 18 November.

For more information on the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and to nominate brilliant business women for the 2016 Awards, visit


Media contact: 

Ashley McDermaid - 0412 731 355
Reference: 142/2015

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