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Founder of ethical beauty products brand wins at Telstra Business Women’s Awards

Victorian business woman, Anna Ross, is the 2016 Telstra Australian Young Business Woman of the Year, announced at a gala dinner tonight.

Anna is the founder of Kester Black, a leading manicure and skincare brand built on beautiful design and uncompromising ethical values. Kester Black offers consumers sustainable, Australian-made, vegan, and beauty products that a free from animal cruelty.

An important aspect of her business is bringing the products to consumers who might otherwise be marginalised by the beauty industry, such as vegans and Muslim women. Kester Black offers a water permeable nail polish, or ‘breathable polish’, which allows water vapours to pass through to the nail, providing an option for devout Muslim women, unable to wear regular nail polish because of the washing involved in daily prayers. 

“In business, my beliefs manifest in a drive for innovation and establishing sustainable, ethical options for the consumer,” says Anna.

Anna was also the 2016 Telstra Victorian Young Business Woman of the Year.  

Other business women recognised at the 2016 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards are: Jenny Paradiso from Suntrix in South Australia (Entrepreneur Award) Andrea Mason from the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council in the Northern Territory (For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award), Jackie McArthur from Martin Browerin New South Wales (Corporate and Private Award), Inspector Virginia Nelson from the Queensland Police Service (Public Sector and Academia Award), and Rituparna Chakraborty from TeamLease Services in India (Business Woman in Asia Award).

Ms Joe Pollard, Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Group Executive Media, and Chief Marketing Officer, said that Ms Ross is innovative, savvy and an inspiration to young business women in Australia and beyond. 

“Ethics and value-based decision making are in the DNA of Anna’s business, from design through to packaging and her unique view and commitment to her customers,” Ms Pollard said. 

“Anna has built a culture that aligns with her values through balance, sustainability, social welfare and innovation.”

Now in their 22nd year, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards are Australia’s longest running and most esteemed women’s awards program. They recognise and reward the courage, leadership and creativity of brilliant business women. 

Nominations for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards are open year-round. If you, or a brilliant business woman you know, deserve recognition, nominate today:

The winners of the 2016 Telstra Business Women’s Awards are:

Andrea Mason
2016 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year
2016 Telstra Australian Business Women’s For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award winner 

Andrea Mason has had a variety of roles in both the public and private sectors in the Northern Territory, all focused on opening just and fair access to Aboriginal people, through employment, workforce planning, tenancy management and negotiating reconciliation action plans.

In 2009, she was made CEO of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women's Council. For more than 20 years the NPY Women’s Council has been supporting its members through service delivery, advocacy, education and employment. All services are provided for women and their families to increase their capacity to lead safe and healthy lives with improved life choices.

Due to the nature of the organisation, the range of services on offer and the geographical remoteness of the communities, Andrea has to be very adaptable in her role. On a day-to-day basis she can move from being a policy maker, to a social reformer, a negotiator, an advocate or an inspirational leader. She is also responsible for the 413 members of the Council, who are all women over the age of 16. As an Aboriginal woman herself, she says it is a career highlight to work in an Aboriginal women’s member-led organisation. 

Jenny Paradiso
2016 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Entrepreneur Award winner

Jenny Paradiso is the co-founder and the managing director of Suntrix, a successful South Australian solar energy business that operates nationally. Suntrix helps individuals and businesses save money on their electricity costs, while at the same time reducing their carbon footprint. Operating as a predominantly cloud-based business means that Jenny’s 25 employees have the flexibility to work from anywhere, at any time and can access the data they need from any mobile device.

The biggest challenge for Jenny was in 2014 when an unexpected disruption to their industry resulted in an 18-month period of uncertainty. Fortunately for Suntrix, it was through Jenny’s determination that the business was able to survive and even flourish into the multi-million dollar national company that it is today.

Jackie McArthur
2016 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Corporate and Private Award winner

In 1994, Jackie McArthur began her supply chain career at FJ Walker Foods, and over the next seven years she continued in the logistics, food manufacturing and supply chain industry before she joined McDonald's Australia in 2001. By 2012, she was appointed Corporate Vice President of Supply Chain for McDonald's Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, which included overseeing the entire supply function across 38 countries. 

Last year she returned to Martin Brower (previously FJ Walker Foods) as Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, where she supervises the end-to-end logistics and supply chain for more than 1,100 McDonald's restaurants. Her cross-functional experience, from supply chain to real estate and construction to menu development and marketing, has provided her with the diverse skill-set required to excel in leadership.  

Driving a more diverse workforce, particularly in the male-dominated industry of transport and logistics, is a key passion of Jackie’s. Together with her colleagues, she is forging a new path of diversity in the organisation.

Inspector Virginia Nelson
2016 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Public Sector and Academia Award winner

Inspector Virginia Nelson has been a police officer for more than 26 years, having joined the Queensland Police Service (QPS) at 18. She has served in regional and metropolitan locations and has worked in front-line policing, prosecutions, the bureau of criminal intelligence and the office of the state coroner. Now, as an inspector, she is in charge of a patrol group of more than 150 officers in the Capricornia Police District.

As a commissioned officer and senior leader, Virginia shapes strategic thinking in the organisation by inspiring a shared sense of purpose and direction for her patrol group. She builds organisational capability and ensures crime trends are identified and operational responses are delivered to the community. She is the single point of contact for operational, tactical and strategic activities within her patrol group.

Virginia is the only female commissioned officer in her area and she contributes significantly to developing the capability of women in policing and growing women in leadership within the organisation. 

Rituparna Chakraborty
2016 Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award winner

Rituparna Chakraborty is a co-founder of TeamLease Services Ltd. Established in 2002, TeamLease is one of India's leading providers of human resource services, with a vision of ‘Putting India to Work’ by enabling young workers to have a formal job, providing them with secure wages, social security and healthcare. 

As Executive Vice-President, Rituparna is responsible for managing the temporary staffing division, as well as India's first Public Private Partnership (PPP) apprenticeship program, National Employability Through Apprenticeship Program (NETAP). With an MBA in sales and marketing, she has been instrumental in growing the business through innovative sales and marketing, as well as the implementation of sophisticated web and mobile-based technology workflow, enabling scale and significant productivity gains for customers and staff. Rituparna says her proudest achievement has been to sustain a minimum of 25 per cent year-on-year growth in the business for the past five years. 

Today, the company employs more than 1,000 full time staff across its eight regional offices, and currently has 115,000 temporary staff and 15,000 apprentices on its books. To date, TeamLease has provided employment to approximately 1.6 million people.

Media contact:
James Kelly (0455079295)

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