Celebrating Australia's leading women in business
A massive congratulations to our Telstra Business Women's Award winners, who have been recognised by our expert judging panel for undoing traditional business for the better. We wish them the best of luck as they continue towards their future goals.
“Growing the team and supporting individuals to succeed is why I enjoy my job. Seeing others develop skills and advance in their career is my biggest driver.”
Amanda Steele is dedicated to giving back to the community as she excels as the NSW Executive Managing Director (EMD) of commercial real estate firm, CBRE. Amanda began her career working tirelessly in government, corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Now, as the first female EMD in Australia, Steele champions diversity, leadership and sustainability.
“We listen to our customers and have them at the heart of everything we do.”
Proud to be the first female local leader for NAB in the Northern Territory, Angela Tomazos is dedicated to her customers and representing the voice of her community. As Managing Partner, she is accountable for customer growth, leading through digital transformation , enhancing market presence and elevating outcomes for customers and community.
“I made a choice to cement the name of my business in the car industry, while using my business platform to raise awareness to various charities and communities in need.”
Angie Mansey followed her dreams, selling the family home and assets to build her exhaust specialist business, Kuluin Mufflers. The business is not only known for its high-end workmanship and fantastic customer service, but for its contribution to the local community.
“The faces in our studio change regularly but the impact we leave on our students will remain with them for a lifetime.”
Brie Healy’s vision is to ensure high quality arts education is available to all rural children and adults in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. As Founding Director and Dance Educator at From Dust Creative Arts, Brie helps develop classes that aid development of physical, mental and social skills for children.
“I founded the business on the fundamental principle that all Australians should have access to quality, affordable financial advice that addresses all of their financial needs and goals.”
From the very start of her career, Catherine Smith had a vision of using her knowledge to help people build better lives for themselves. Intent on providing the Australian population with rounded and objective financial advice, tailored to their own individual circumstance, she set up multi-disciplinary firm, Wholistic Financial Solutions, in 2010.
“Housing is an essential human need with benefits that extend beyond just the provision of shelter.”
Cheryl Wall considers herself a social landlord, with obligations far beyond tenancy agreements. Working with the Northern Territory Government, she provides housing pathways for the disadvantaged through short term and crisis accommodation, social housing, affordable rentals and home ownership.
“I do the best I can to foster a supportive successful working environment, for staff, suppliers and customers with a culture of fun and honesty.”
Managing Director of Crowies Paints, Daphne Crowhurst has eight years of experience doing things differently. Leading Crowies Paints from a stagnant, family-owned business to a viable, robust franchise, she continues to facilitate a growing ‘sky-is-the-limit’ culture amongst her team of 50.
“I am passionate not only about solving crime, but also conducting prevention programs, international investigations and research. I work to prevent, disrupt and prosecute criminals in order to protect our communities.”
As the Assistant Commissioner to the Australian Federal Police, Debbie Platz is dedicated to policing and protecting Australian communities. Specialising in Crime Operations, Debbie leads, manages and cares for the resourcing for this area across Australia and offshore.
“I have a diverse range of strategic and adaptive skills, which allow me to support Tasmanian councils to be more effective in their roles of providing safe, sustainable and livable communities.”
CEO of the Local Government Association of Tasmania, Katrena Stephenson represents all 29 of the Tasmanian local councils. Dedicated to building the capability and effectiveness of those councils, she manages a skilled team to keep councils informed on policy, research and other developments, while developing strategic approaches and practical solutions to a range of issues.
“I’m able to make an impact in the communities because I truly care about people and will extend myself to make life easier for another person, wherever possible.”
Dushyanthi Thangiah spends much of her time giving back to the community. As the CEO of Yumba-Meta Housing Association Limited, an organisation that provides access to housing and support services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, she helps the most marginalised people of the Townsville region.
“Through education, I hope that we can improve the birth experience and outcomes for all.”
As the CEO of Birth Beat, Edwina Sharrock has made it her mission to transform the traditional model of childbirth education. She delivers quality antenatal classes on online digital health platforms that are accessible to anyone, anywhere.
"By harnessing the power of digital marketing and building long-term relationships, I am changing and improving the way employers engage with recruiters."
As the Marketing Manager of HorizonOne Recruitment, Fiona Grimmer is helping to successfully disrupt the recruitment industry in Canberra – moving away from the sales approach of transactional recruitment experiences. Fiona creates bespoke marketing campaigns, which attract quality candidates to her agency and its clients.
“I started my business because the healthcare system had an unanswered need: physical rehabilitation in the comfort of one’s own home.”
Driven by a passion to see positive change, Fiona White is the director and founder of Own Body - the business that connects clients with experienced physiotherapy clinicians who, in turn, have provided outstanding, personalised service. In the nine years since starting out, Fiona has built Own Body into a remarkable business.
“I’m extremely proud to be the first Australian and the first woman to lead Australia’s largest Defence company, and thrilled to be an important part of delivering a sovereign capability for our nation.”
Gabrielle Costigan has had a distinguished international career in the defence, aviation and logistics industries where she has built a reputation for strong leadership and driving organisational success, including 20 years serving in the Australian Defence Force. She is now the CEO of BAE Systems Australia, the country’s largest defence company.
“I believe that filmmaking is one of the most powerful ways to create social change.”
Genevieve Clay-Smith is seeking to transform the film industry and society at large. As the Co-Founder and CEO of Bus Stop Films, she has created a pathway for people with intellectual disability and other marginalised community members to be involved in professional filmmaking.
“Invest time, effort and money in those around you and this will help you achieve your own goals and dreams.”
Driven by her passion to empower those around her, Jodie Silvester founded her accounting firm, KAS Accounting Solutions, in Kununurra in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. Jodie provides individuals, businesses and non-for-profit organisations with the best possible financial guidance, which would have otherwise been unavailable within a remote area.
“I am passionate about driving results by leading thriving and sustainable organisations that are trusted and valued by the community and key stakeholders.”
Kylah Morrison represents and advocates for the unique needs and aspirations of local businesses. As CEO of the Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry, she provides high quality support and business advocacy for more than 400 members.
“We want to lead technological change within organisations across the globe, and ultimately discover how work environments can be better.”
Lauren Crystal co-founded Your Creative, a full service creative agency that focuses on human-centred design and development. Becoming frustrated by the multiple tools it took to get business done, she co-created Hassl, a project collaboration tool that streamlines every day workflow, and is now recognised internationally.
“We aim to provide our customers with a special and personalised experience unique to our rural location.”
Leah Sloan is joint Director of Berry Springs Tavern, a food and entertainment destination in rural Northern Territory. She aims to create a comfortable, clean, safe and friendly dining experience where customer satisfaction is her highest priority.
“Success is not attributed to one person, but to communities who work together to achieve a goal.”
As the Chief Executive Officer for the North East Support and Action for Youth (NESAY), Leah Waring leads a team of dedicated professionals to support young people who are experiencing homelessness, family breakdown, school disengagement and other vulnerabilities.
“ I want to use my expertise and influence to affect positive change for the community and the environment, and to inspire other procurement professionals to be agents of social change."
Leanne Hill is the Strategic Procurement Manager at the Melbourne Water Corporation. Her role is vital in enhancing community wellbeing, underpinning human health, supporting economic growth and balancing our natural and man-made environment. She sets policies and new directions, embedding diversity and inclusion within the procurement process.
“My mission is to create better outcomes for communities through safer workplaces within the mining sector, and improving the quality of life for the people of the Central Coast.”
Working at the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Lee Shearer is responsible for regulating the mining industry and driving the delivery of the Central Coast Regional Plan. Lee promotes community and industry confidence in the NSW mining and extractive industry by delivering a regulatory approach that is accountable and transparent.
“I want to continue to break down the typical stereotypes of the motoring industry and male-dominated roles, while growing the business, employing locals and building the community.”
A strong advocate for female empowerment, Leonie Knipe is making a difference. In the male-dominated automotive industry, Leonie’s mission is to establish Avon Valley Toyota as the leading car dealerships for female car-buyers. As the first female Dealer Principal for Nissan in Western Australia, Leonie takes an inclusive approach in the way she directs the dealerships.
“I relish in creativity and innovation and believe that is the way businesses break new ground.”
Lidia Conci first began her career as a speech pathologist, with a growing passion for rehabilitation and treating clients with a swallowing disorder. She ventured out on her own with a mobile clinic for 10 years before establishing AvantiCare, an allied health and wellbeing service for the elderly.
“I hope to build a progressive business that is recognised as the go-to brand for those who want to transform the way we live, learn, work and play.”
As the CEO of Lotus, a manufacturer of acoustic, bespoke and custom building materials, Liz Jones is responsible for the sustainability and profitability of the business. Liz has navigated the business through cultural change and business improvement, and is committed to ensuring Lotus is a human-centred, customer-centric and progressive business.
“The idea that you should “buy once, buy less and buy well” is a welcome change from the over-supplied, waste-heavy practices of some of the large global retailers.”
With a passion for design and quality, Lucy Given, Owner of LUC Homewares and Design, transitions high-end environments from feeling inaccessible and intimidating to a warm and friendly atmosphere. Endorsing her “buy one, buy less, buy well” mantra, Lucy doesn’t just sell products, but experiences and conversations.
“As a hands-on learner, the secret to my success is keeping it real, never getting caught up in self-importance and always remembering my values.”
UK-born Lucy O’Flaherty is CEO of Glenview Community Services Inc, a Tasmanian aged care provider of residential, community, independent living, day centre and respite services. With aged care undergoing historic and complex reforms, she is active in helping to create the vision for the sector now and into the future.
“By providing our podiatry services as a mobile business, we’re helping solve the issue of elderly or disabled clients being unable to access healthcare due to transport and mobility limitations.”
Mary-Ellen Redmayne founded The Foot Stop Podiatry Services, while she was a stay-at-home-mum to provide extra income to her family. What started as a weekend job is now a successful mobile practice that brings its services to around 200 patients’ homes in Southern Brisbane, Gold Coast, Tweed Coast and Northern Rivers areas weekly.
“Isolation of sick children from their school community and peers can have profoundly harmful and lifelong consequences for their academic, social and emotional wellbeing. This is what we’re solving.”
MissingSchool was born in 2012 when Megan Gilmour and two other mothers came together after their children survived critical and life-threatening illnesses. They knew that maintaining connection with school during this difficult time would offer the children a sense of normality and allow them to keep up-to-date with their education.
“I want to see task-focused traditional aged-care models replaced by inclusive dementia-friendly communities that concentrate on relationship-based care and services, where residents can feel at home.”
As Founder and CEO of NewDirection Care Bellmere, Natasha Chadwick has been pioneering a new direction in aged care for the past seven years. She has created the world's first micro-town residential community for the elderly and those living with younger onset dementia and complex care needs.
“We provide a place not only for children to thrive but also for our wider community to learn acceptance, tolerance, understanding and the beauty in those who are different.”
Noni Vassos has devoted her life to performance and creativity. Working the majority of her adult life in theatre management, Noni cultivated teaching abilities that could be used for the greater good. Now as the Founder of Rockit Performing Arts, she teaches dance and drama to improve health in the community.
“The conservation of the World Heritage-listed Fremantle Prison is key to its ongoing success as a national visitor attraction and community asset.”
Paula Nelson is the first woman in nearly 170 years to manage Fremantle Prison, the only World Heritage attraction in Perth. As Director, Paula is responsible for delivering conservation strategies for the former prison and its artefacts, as well as tourism opportunities and educational experiences.
“My commitment to evidence-based multi-disciplinary clinical trials research aims to make a difference to the lives of First Nations people, particularly the children.”
As the Principal Senior Research Fellow of Menzies School of Health Research, Professor Amanda Leach has a passion for Aboriginal health research. Menzies is Australia’s leading medical research institute dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“Knowledge drives progress in healthcare, improves clinical decision making and ultimately leads to improved health outcomes.”
With more than two million academic and scientific research papers published every year, it takes decades for the results of research to make it into policy and practice. Zoe Jordan leads The Joanna Briggs Institute to help synthesise research and make it easy to implement into health systems internationally.
“As technology continues to transform our world, algorithms and other forms of data analytics will continue to grow in importance.”
As a passionate advocate for opening government doors to the public, River Paul works to empower decision makers, both in households and businesses. Through her role as Chief Economist and Statistician at the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA), she provides insight about the economy of the future. Award collected by Joanna Stone on behalf of River Paul.
“We have been there, we understand, and we are making huge headway in supporting couples through miscarriage across Australia.”
Inspired by her own experience of heartbreak and isolation through miscarriage, Samantha Payne created The Pink Elephants Support Network. She aims to support, nurture and empower couples through early pregnancy loss. Samantha recently launched a personalised peer support service, providing a vital connection with another woman who has experienced an early miscarriage.
“Seeing months of hard work coming to fruition, as well as the excitement of clients made me truly realise that when passion, purpose, resilience and community combine, we can achieve great things.”
As Program Manager at The Van Diemen Project, Talitha Devadass creates spaces for deep conversation, connection and diversity. Her purpose is to help new and existing businesses in Tasmania thrive. Weighing idealism with cheques and balances, she brings her clients’ ideas to life.
“I am passionate about social change. I want to make a difference in the world in which my daughters grow. I want it to be ordinary that women hold leadership roles not extraordinary like it is today.”
As the Chief Executive Officer of AFL Tasmania, Trisha was the first woman to be appointed at this level in the AFL. She plays an integral role in the direction of the sport in Tasmania, in particular, game development, state and community leagues, talent pathways, partnerships and the AFLW.