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14 November, 2013 – A woman driven by hearing fear in the voices of people whose superannuation savings were slashed by the Global Financial Crisis was named tonight the 2013 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.

Rosemary Vilgan, CEO of QSuper, one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds with $45 billion under management and 530,000 members, also won the Community and Government Award at the Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards presented at Crown Melbourne.

Ms Vilgan said the GFC left the retirement plans of many Australians in disarray. “It made me realise that it is the outcome for individual members that matters, not a comparative rate of return against other funds.”

With board support, Ms Vilgan and her team introduced QSuper Lifetime, a product that she says is designed to give members “dignity in retirement.” It provides a more tailored investment strategy based on the age and savings of a cohort of individual members and the economic cycle, integrated with financial advice.

Ms Vilgan was a technical specialist who helped establish QSuper, a universal superannuation scheme for Queensland public sector employees, in 1990 and became CEO in 1998. Recognising inequities of contributions, particularly for women, she negotiated an equalisation of the contribution rate for all State Government employees.

She also led major structural changes in QSuper that allowed it to be federally regulated in 2009.

QSuper's work in developing innovative superannuation products has received national and international recognition with Ms Vilgan presenting last month at the International Centre for Pension Management’s annual conference in Sacramento, US.

A member of the Council of QUT and the Federal Treasurer’s Financial Sector Advisory Council, Ms Vilgan served on the Board of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia for 15 years and was Chairperson for six. She says she was influenced to use superannuation policy to bring dignity in retirement by respect for her father and his older siblings.

Ms Vilgan described herself as “a doer, not content to sit on the sidelines but seek the right solution. I believe I have shown a strong commitment to social justice and hard work.”

Other winners of the 2013 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards were: Darwin optometrist Helen Summers; Laura McBain, CEO of Launceston-based organic baby and infant formula producer Bellamy’s Organic; Anni Brownjohn, owner of organic food business The Right Food Group in Murwillumbah, New South Wales; and Lieutenant Commander Kelly Haywood, a Royal Australian Navy Officer and Head of Department of HMAS Toowoomba.

Kate McKenzie, Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, said the Awards winners in 2013 were chosen from an amazing group of finalists whose passion, leadership and innovation provide inspiration and incentive for other business women forging their own careers.

“Rosemary Vilgan’s passion is to give Australians dignity in retirement and control of their own destiny. The judges described her as a vibrant, inspirational woman who has flipped an industry on its ear by putting the customer experience in the centre of everything,” Ms McKenzie said.

“Moved by seeing people desolate, after the GFC cut 30 per cent of their wealth overnight, she has led a huge organisational and industry policy change.”

Winners of the 2013 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards are:

Business Owner Award
Helen Summers Helen Summers Optometrist Eyecare Plus Darwin, Northern Territory
Inspired to set up her own practice from her experience as a graduate optometrist in Kenya, Helen Summers launched Helen Summers Optometrist Eyecare Plus Darwin in 1998 with second-hand equipment and her own savings. Soon after she established outreach services to under-serviced regional and remote Indigenous communities throughout the Territory to reduce preventable blindness. Judges described Helen Summers as an innovator and expert in her field who both used and delivered commercially leading-edge technology and services.

Private and Corporate Award
Laura McBain Bellamy’s Organic, Tasmania
Originally starting as a contracted financial controller for Bellamy’s Organics, Laura McBain has driven the Tasmanian-owned food company’s turnover tenfold since taking the reins as CEO in 2007. She has also overseen the company, which lays claim to having Australia’s only 100 per cent locally made and certified organic formula and toddler milk range in the local market, open a branch in Shanghai, China. Judges said Laura McBain took over and built Bellamy’s into something whole and sustainable that is now in the growth markets of Asia. They were impressed with her leadership and communications skills that, supported by her background as an accountant, had delivered tremendous growth.

Community and Government Award
Rosemary Vilgan QSuper, Queensland

Business Innovation Award
Anni Brownjohn The Right Food Group Pty Ltd, New South Wales
Unable to source suitable food products for her children provided Anni Brownjohn with the inspiration to start her own organic noodle business. Her Murwillumbah-based business, The Right Food Group, today supplies pasta, simmer sauces, dressings, marinades and spreads to retail outlets across Australia and exports to 20 countries. Judges described Anni Brownjohn as a focused, committed owner of a business that was fast growing. They were impressed by ability to be at the forefront of major consumer trends and that she was “fun, driven and a dreamer as well as being articulate and proud to be a regional Australian business woman.”

Young Business Women’s Award
Kelly Haywood Royal Australian Navy, Western Australia
When joining the Royal Australian Navy as a sailor at 18, Kelly Haywood never expected that she would become Lieutenant Commander and Head of Department of HMAS Toowoomba. Throughout her career, she has been behind some of the Navy’s largest logistical operations, including the multi-million dollar Anti Ship Missile Defence project. Judges said Kelly Haywood was very proud of her role as a Navy officer and logistics expert, and that the passion she shows is an inspiration to all. The judges said an example of Ms Haywood’s efficiency and organisation skills was her leadership in moving a submarine rescue business from Scotland to Australia at $5 million under cost estimates.

Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year
Rosemary Vilgan QSuper, Queensland

Winners of the Awards will share in a total prize pool of $200,000 and become part of an exclusive national business alumni.

Business Owner Award

Dr Jennifer Wray

Lighthouse Surgery

‘I pride myself on creating leaders from my team members, each with his or her area of expertise.’

It was no surprise to many who knew her when Dr Jennifer Wray was named a Member of the Order of Australia in 2013 for her services to rural medicine. Two years earlier, she was named the General Practitioner of the Year by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, recognising her personal achievements and community service. Jennifer began working in general practice in Narooma on the NSW South Coast in 1977. She’s not only been treating her own patients but taking a lead role in educating and mentoring medical students and registrars. Jennifer founded the Lighthouse Scholarship Fund in 2003 to assist rural students undertaking tertiary studies away from home. Jennifer operates a second practice at Bermagui on the Far South Coast, and is active in her community with sponsorship of events like the Narooma Oyster Festival and the Four Winds Festival. She maintains a special focus on caring for Indigenous patients.

Private and Corporate Sector Award

Tessa Ogle

Parsons Brinckerhoff

‘Under my leadership, Parsons Brinckerhoff 's Oil and Gas business is known in the market for innovative approaches to technical and business challenges of large, complex projects.’

Tessa Ogle was recruited into global engineering consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2005 as a market analyst for the resources and industry sector. It was the first of a number of newly created roles that she’s filled. These included Business Development and Marketing Manager for the Perth office and National Business Development Manager for the Project and Construction Management Group. One of her career highlights was heading up the company’s effort to provide capacity and infrastructure development for Timor Leste. During the process, Tessa presented to government ministers and Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Jose Ramos-Horta. Currently the company’s General Manager – Oil and Gas, Tessa was the first employee of this unit specialising in the oil and gas sector when it was created in 2010. Now with 107 staff, she’s grown the unit’s revenue more than seven-fold.

Community and Government Award

Jeannine Biviano

NSW Department of Trade and Investment

‘I like to provide my staff with as much autonomy as possible as I thrive in that environment and assume that other senior operators are like minded. I believe this approach fosters innovation, and my team’s success is testimony to that.’

A former registered nurse, who found herself at 21 in charge of a busy hospital’s 25-bed neurological ward, became a chartered accountant and by 37 was then the youngest CEO of a NSW area health service. Jeannine Biviano’s unconventional career now finds her at the top of the NSW Department of Trade and Investment. As Deputy Director General, based in Orange, in rural NSW, she’s responsible for finance, strategy and operations for the ‘super department’ that has a $2.5 billion budget and 8000 staff. Following the department’s creation in April 2011, Jeannine was charged with consolidating 58 separate government entities onto one finance and payroll system, by leading and implementing the first Software as a Service (SaaS) enterprise resource planning system in the Australian public sector. Despite widespread scepticism and resistance, the project was delivered in just eight months - on time and on budget.

Business Innovation

Anni Brownjohn

The Right Food Group Pty Ltd

‘I have demonstrated that, by perseverance, women can succeed against huge odds, and through friendship we can support each other.’

Raising children with allergies and searching for suitable food products provided Anni Brownjohn with the impetus to go into the organic noodle business. Fourteen years later, The Right Food Group supplies pasta, simmer sauces, dressings, marinades and spreads to retail outlets across Australia, and exports to 20 countries from its factory in Murwillumbah in northern NSW. Anni remains driven by the belief that people should not compromise on taste and value just because they have a food intolerance or allergy She says growing consumer demand for Asian-style noodle products, combined with increasing health awareness, led her to develop her Organic Noodle Kitchen range as a healthier alternative to fried noodles. In a market of increasing sales for instant noodles and growing demand for organic products, Anni is now poised to launch an instant variety of certified organic instant noodles. Social media and out-of-the-box recipe development are being used to broaden the appeal of the range.

Young Business Women's Award

Tessa Ogle

Parsons Brinckerhoff

‘I developed and executed Parsons Brinckerhoff’s oil and gas strategy and in two and a half years it is still growing despite substantial uncertainty around government policy for the sector.’

Tessa Ogle developed a strong sense of self-reliance and a hard work ethic early in life. Securing her first job at 13, a year later she moved out of home but always made her education a top priority putting herself through high school and university. In 2005, she joined Parsons Brinckerhoff, a global consulting engineering firm, as a Market Analyst. After being promoted to the roles of National Business Development Manager for the company’s Project and Construction Management Group and Market Leader for the Industrial sector, she was offered the opportunity to head up a new group specialising in oil and gas. In her current role as General Manager – Oil and Gas, she has grown the unit from a one-person operation to now employing 107 and is responsible for business development, the delivery of all oil and gas projects, and ensuring its financial sustainability.

2013 Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year

Jeannine Biviano

NSW Department of Trade and Investment

‘I like to provide my staff with as much autonomy as possible as I thrive in that environment and assume that other senior operators are like minded. I believe this approach fosters innovation, and my team’s success is testimony to that.’

A former registered nurse, who found herself at 21 in charge of a busy hospital’s 25-bed neurological ward, became a chartered accountant and by 37 was then the youngest CEO of a NSW area health service. Jeannine Biviano’s unconventional career now finds her at the top of the NSW Department of Trade and Investment. As Deputy Director General, based in Orange, in rural NSW, she’s responsible for finance, strategy and operations for the ‘super department’ that has a $2.5 billion budget and 8000 staff. Following the department’s creation in April 2011, Jeannine was charged with consolidating 58 separate government entities onto one finance and payroll system, by leading and implementing the first Software as a Service (SaaS) enterprise resource planning system in the Australian public sector. Despite widespread scepticism and resistance, the project was delivered in just eight months - on time and on budget.

2013 VIC Award Winners

Business Owner Award

Jo Fisher

Jo Fisher Executive

‘Learning and appreciating the value of differences in people, how they think and operate, how their world views differ and how important each and every contribution is to the world is important to success.’

After holding senior roles spanning executive search, management consulting, research and technology, in 2002 Jo Fisher decided to establish a 'next generation executive' search firm with just a laptop, a good dose of passion, and a tiny office in Melbourne. Today, she is the Managing Director of Jo Fisher Group which has four companies delivering executive search, professional recruitment support, interim management solutions and career transition services in Australia and New Zealand. She says the success of the group - which has expanded through international partnerships - has come through the group’s businesses not taking the traditional approach of circulating the same people, but by being highly attuned to the need for diversity across all appointments. As one of few women business owners in this sector in Australasia, Jo has a dream of ensuring more women reach senior positions. Already 46 per cent of all senior appointments the group has placed were women.

Private and Corporate Sector Award

Sadhana Smiles

Harcourts Victoria

‘I believe it’s integral to the success of any business that leadership is conducted from the ground up, so I invest as much focus at a local level as at a leadership one.’

Having successfully delivered strong business growth for leading names in real estate during some of the industry’s toughest times, Sadhana Smiles was appointed to lead the Victorian operation of international property group, Harcourts. Since becoming one of the few female CEOs in the industry, she has not only continued delivering impressive business results for Harcourts Victoria, but also driven the brand’s recognition and reputation. In little under two years, Sadhana has helped Harcourts achieve a 26 per cent growth in settled sales while CEO in NSW and revenue growth of 11 per cent as CEO in Victoria. Working with franchisees, agents and customers she has set about developing a plan to help position the company to be “as consistent as McDonalds and as energised as Virgin.” Sadhana has also driven awareness of the company’s social responsibility commitment, through hosting Australia’s first Walk a Mile in their Shoes anti-violence walk that raised more than $30,000 for White Ribbon Australia.

twitter.com/sadhanasmiles

Community and Government Award

Natalie Collard

Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd

‘I pursue roles where I can make a difference and enjoy the journey, which leads to incredible opportunities, growth and fun.’

Natalie Collard is no stranger to roles of high impact and national importance. During her role with Defence and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, she managed an emergency post-September 11 arms control meeting in Paris and addressed the UN in Geneva on Biological Weapons. Moved by the plight of farmers during the 2000 drought, Natalie approached the National Farmers' Federation and became the Manager for Rural Affairs. As Director of Agsafe, she improved the agriculture sector’s environmental stewardship. The ex-Army reservist now applies her considerable skills to help secure a sustainable future for dairy farmers. As CEO of the Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd, she introduced a new, innovative structure and vision and diversified and increased income by 50 per cent. Privately she also makes a difference, including having created a half marathon event to raise money for a friend's cancer surgery so he could share the early months of his son’s life.

Business Innovation Award

Leanne Raven

SIDS and Kids Australia

'I've always wanted to make a difference in peoples’ lives and believe that innovation and surrounding myself with talented people who will tell me when I've got it wrong are critical to getting it right.'

Growing up, Leanne Raven was stricken with shyness. In her first public speaking attempt, she used humour to mask her discomfort, talking about why people blush. It showed her how weaknesses can be turned into strengths. Leanne is dedicated to improving the lives of others and has worked and volunteered in the not-for-profit health sector for 25 years as a registered nurse, teacher and in management. Spurred on by a son with special needs, she became the CEO of SIDS and Kids Australia in 2007. While the organisation is well known for Red Nose Day, its future was uncertain. Leanne successfully acquired its first federal government grant to support bereavement services, revised the funding model to keep funds at the source, and diversified income through online partnerships and sales. Leanne currently chairs Eastern Melbourne Medicare Local and the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death.

Young Business Women's Award

Aimee Marks

TOM Organic

‘The foundations of TOM Organic go all the way back to high school, I'm 26 years old now but for the past nine years I've been building a company that uses business as a force for good in the world, that re-defines success, a business that ensures people and planet co-exist at the heart of its core activities.'

At 18, as a high school student, Aimee Marks set about coming up with a new way to package tampons after becoming increasingly frustrated at the way they continually fell out of their packaging and into her handbag. Her plans evolved into a quest for social responsibility, when she learned of the chemicals, pesticides, bleach and synthetics used in conventional female hygiene products and their impact on the planet and women’s health. After undertaking an entrepreneurship degree at RMIT University, Aimee launched Saint Kilda-based TOM Organic in 2009 from her bedroom where she sourced materials, designed packaging and negotiated supply deals. Aimee says the company has set measurable targets to touch millions of women and save millions of farm acres from being exposed to pesticides. Her product range, available at Coles and Woolworths, features organic tampons, pads and liners that are biodegradable and chemical free, being made with certified organic cotton.

twitter.com/tomorganic

2013 Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year

Sadhana Smiles

Harcourts Victoria

‘I believe it’s integral to the success of any business that leadership is conducted from the ground up, so I invest as much focus at a local level as at a leadership one.’

Having successfully delivered strong business growth for leading names in real estate during some of the industry’s toughest times, Sadhana Smiles was appointed to lead the Victorian operation of international property group, Harcourts. Since becoming one of the few female CEOs in the industry, she has not only continued delivering impressive business results for Harcourts Victoria, but also driven the brand’s recognition and reputation. In little under two years, Sadhana has helped Harcourts achieve a 26 per cent growth in settled sales while CEO in NSW and revenue growth of 11 per cent as CEO in Victoria. Working with franchisees, agents and customers she has set about developing a plan to help position the company to be “as consistent as McDonalds and as energised as Virgin.” Sadhana has also driven awareness of the company’s social responsibility commitment, through hosting Australia’s first Walk a Mile in their Shoes anti-violence walk that raised more than $30,000 for White Ribbon Australia.

twitter.com/sadhanasmiles

2013 TAS Award Winners

Business Owner Award

Amanda Coombe

Personal Best Fitness

‘Fifty-two per cent of our membership at Personal Best Fitness have personal training, significantly above the Australian average for fitness centres of 12 per cent.’

Born with only five per cent sight in her left eye, Amanda Coombe never let negative predictions get in the way of achieving her personal best. Told she shouldn't play ball sports, Amanda played basketball in the National League for three years and captained the State as a junior. Told she would probably have trouble learning to read and write, Amanda graduated with Honours in Education majoring in Health and Physical Education and became a teacher. She later founded and developed a health club, Personal Best Fitness, which has been a national finalist four times in the Australian Fitness Business of the Year. Amanda says the North Hobart club’s success – evidenced by membership growing from 32 to 655 members in the past seven years – is based on exceptional customer service in a five star facility with the best quality equipment. She’s continued to develop her teaching skills as an expert in lifestyle coaching and personal training.

twitter.com/AmandaCoombe2

Private and Corporate Sector Award

Laura McBain

Bellamy’s Organic

‘I am conscious that those around me constantly perceive my actions, behaviours and attitude, and use these cues to determine how they should act. I can only expect of others what I do myself.’

Laura McBain had no inkling that a nine-month spell at Bellamy’s Organic as a contract financial controller would lead her to becoming CEO. Laura is still running the proudly Tasmanian-owned food company that provides a pure start to life for babies and young children. Laura proudly lays claim to Bellamy’s having Australia’s only 100 per cent locally made and certified organic formula and toddler milk range in the local market. Laura’s six years at the top, this Launceston-based company has grown its turnover tenfold, opened a branch in Shanghai in China and expanded its domestic market share from one per cent to 11 per cent. The trusted Bellamy’s Organic brand of infant formula, cereals, ready to eat meals, snacks and toddler milk products lines now shelves in 3000 outlets in Australia, through Coles, Woolworths, Chemist Warehouse, Toys R Us, Big W and independent stores and pharmacies. Its Asian operations are rapidly taking hold.

Community and Government Award

Heather Francis

RHH Research Foundation

‘Perhaps the element that drives my success would be communication. I endeavour to both listen and understand. I am outcome oriented, but consultative and flexible whenever this may be required.’

Development of innovative ways to improve health and education for Tasmanians is core to Heather Francis’ career. With a background in marketing academia she has led development of business and brand excellence across many organisations. Drawing passion from personal connections to MS, she spearheaded MS Tasmania in driving strategies to become more competitive in fundraising and more effective in implementing standards-based service delivery. A love of research led her to the RHH Research Foundation, where, as CEO, she’s introduced new revenue streams, including an Easter Egg Hunt featuring 100,000 Cadbury eggs and an iconic abseil event which achieved fundraising outcomes that exceeded targets by 100 per cent. Heather is well regarded for her role on the Australian Marketing Institute’s National Board, her work on the Crime Stoppers Tasmania Board and also as part of the Tasmanian Women's Council, but says her most important role is being a ‘hands-on’ mum for two young children.

Business Innovation Award

Laura McBain

Bellamy’s Organic

‘If I am enthusiastic, inspired and motivated, then this is the first step toward building motivation in others to achieve goals and outcomes.’

Promoting products such as a 100 per cent locally made and certified organic formula and toddler milk range has helped Laura McBain turn once-struggling Launceston business Bellamy’s Organic into a domestic and export success story. Laura ascended from Key Account Manager to CEO in 2006, just after the formula and milk had hit the market. The product’s growth last year alone drove revenue growth of 77 per cent. Bellamy’s Organic formulas are made from certified organic cow's milk blended with other essential ingredients, including a unique blend of vitamins and minerals. As well as being available in thousands of outlets in Australia, Bellamy’s Organic exports to Singapore, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Laura’s interests outside of work and family extend to running, fishing and mentoring local food businesses. She says key factors in her success are a consistent focus on learning, tenacity to maintain the course and remaining curious.

Young Business Women’s Award

Melita Griffin

National Heart Foundation (Tasmanian Division)

“As a fundraiser I am selling a product like a 'for-profit' business - I like to think of myself as an investment broker who helps people invest in better heart health outcomes.”

While raising funds to help develop a skate park in Victoria as a 19-year-old university student, Melita Griffin not only secured major gifts from multi-nationals and prominent individuals but found her calling in life. Today, the 33-year-old is charged with the role of Fundraising Director for the Tasmanian Division of the National Heart Foundation of Australia. She’s delivered an income increase of 113 per cent in Tasmania in the past four years for the organisation that works to improve Australia’s cardiovascular health. Earlier, after two years working in public relations, Melita’s yearning to support not-for-profits in health, human services and medical research saw her take up her first official role in fundraising with Bethany Community Support in Victoria. In this position, Melita faced sceptics about her understanding of their work. She overcame this challenge, and not only fulfilled her fundraising role but was also active in workshops and events for the people who accessed the services.

twitter.com/GrifMel

2013 Telstra Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year

Laura McBain

Bellamy’s Organic

‘I am conscious that those around me constantly perceive my actions, behaviours and attitude, and use these cues to determine how they should act. I can only expect of others what I do myself.’

Laura McBain had no inkling that a nine-month spell at Bellamy’s Organic as a contract financial controller would lead her to becoming CEO. Laura is still running the proudly Tasmanian-owned food company that provides a pure start to life for babies and young children. Laura proudly lays claim to Bellamy’s having Australia’s only 100 per cent locally made and certified organic formula and toddler milk range in the local market. Laura’s six years at the top, this Launceston-based company has grown its turnover tenfold, opened a branch in Shanghai in China and expanded its domestic market share from one per cent to 11 per cent. The trusted Bellamy’s Organic brand of infant formula, cereals, ready to eat meals, snacks and toddler milk products lines now shelves in 3000 outlets in Australia, through Coles, Woolworths, Chemist Warehouse, Toys R Us, Big W and independent stores and pharmacies. Its Asian operations are rapidly taking hold.

2013 ACT Award Winners

Business Owner Award

Louise Curtis

Lollypotz

‘In 2010, Lollypotz was touted as one of the fastest growing franchise ever in Australia - in effect a new business was starting every two weeks and the excitement and passion that surrounded the business was electric.’

After winning a number of business awards in 2008 for her hamper company, Hamperesque, the following year Louise Curtis invested her prize money in a new enterprise – Lollypotz. Louise describes the Canberra-based company, which now has 27 franchises across Australia and New Zealand as well as company-owned outlets, home-based operations and pop-up stores - as a ‘Chocolate Florist’. Attracting customers from three revenue streams, including internet sales, retail sales and corporate business, last year the company provided 250,000 gifts across Australia and 3,500 in New Zealand. As the founder, franchisor and sole director, Louise, manages the franchise system, administration, finance and overall business and growth strategy while being supported by 15 staff. Louise says Hamperesque, also based in Canberra, continues to be the largest gift hamper company in the region. It supports a large array of local businesses with their corporate gift needs, providing about 15,000 hampers each year.

twitter.com/lollypotz

Private and Corporate Award

Anita Borella

GHD Pty Ltd

‘I spend energy developing others for future success. Like a share with good potential on the stock market, early investment in a person with potential and motivation to learn will be a win for all.’

Anita Borella has a simple formula for leadership: don't ask others to do what you aren't willing to do yourself and never have a view that something is beneath you. It’s an ethos that has held her in good stead throughout her career with GHD Pty Ltd, one of the world’s leading engineering, architecture and environmental consulting companies with 6000 staff across five continents. Anita is a Senior Project Manager and Defence Infrastructure Panel Manager with a double degree in Engineering (Honours) and Commerce. Working for clients to realise projects with capital expenditure of about $700 million requires a focus on both a vision and the bottom line. Anita’s Defence Infrastructure Panel role is national and the focus of high-level attention. Accordingly, she’s been recognised and trained by GHD as one of its emerging leaders. Drawing on her Australian-Italian heritage, Anita says most of her spare time focuses around her passion for food, family and friends.

Community and Government Award

Dr Julia Newton-Howes

CARE Australia

‘Passion, hard work and putting my hand up for new challenges have played a major role in my success - I feel lucky to work on issues I am deeply committed to.’

Making a difference to the lives of millions is what international aid organisation CARE Australia does best. CEO Julia Newton-Howes joined after growing up in war-torn Zimbabwe where she witnessed poverty and discrimination. Since joining, Julia has helped drive reform and change, more than doubling government funding in seven years and growing targeted and unrestricted donations by 30 and 54 per cent respectively in three years. She prioritised upgrading CARE Australia’s website and Annual Report and has consequently placed CARE Australia as a finalist in PwC’s transparency awards for the past two years. One of Julia’s key initiatives has been introducing a landmark report on CARE Australia’s impact in Asia over a five year period which provides invaluable benchmarking to drive improvement. Julia is a member of the CARE International Board and Vice President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for non-profits working in international development.

twitter.com/jnewtonhowes

Business Innovation Award

Lisa Roberts

Provincial Plants and Landscapes

‘I am committed to minimising Provincial's environmental footprint - an independent audit by the Canberra Environmental Centre rated us carbon positive - the only such nursery-landscaper in Australia.’

With more than 16 years’ experience as an environmental designer, horticulturalist, native plant and revegetation specialist, Lisa Roberts co-founded Provincial Plants and Landscapes in 2001. She helped grow the company from two people operating out of a caravan to a team of 35 working across four offices in Canberra and South-East NSW, two nurseries, a landscaping company and polyculture farm. The company focuses on an integrated range of contemporary, water conscious, eco-friendly landscape products and services. At its core are nurseries that specialise in plants grown in chemical-free outdoor spaces, operating on renewable energy and harvested rainwater. The business also attracts residential, commercial and government clients for its services that include landscape design, landscaping and revegetation. Holding a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Design as well as certificates in horticulture, workplace training and assessment and small business management, Lisa has been appointed to the Reserve Bank’s Small Business Finance Advisory Panel.

Young Business Women's Award

Anita Borella

GHD Pty Ltd

‘As my career progressed, I increasingly learned the importance of taking pride and enjoying what you do and working in an environment surrounded by those who share your motivation in order to achieve the best outcomes.’

Despite being in the male dominated engineering profession, Anita Borella has achieved a great deal in a short time. After graduating in 2006 with Honours in Engineering and a Bachelor of Commerce, Anita gained a graduate role at Bovis Lend Lease. In four years she progressed from Site Engineer to a Design Manager. During that time she was named the Property Council of Australia's ACT Future Leader of the Year in 2007, an Award that opened her eyes to opportunities and the confidence to go after them. In 2010, she joined GHD Pty Ltd as a Project Manager and at the same time was named the ACT Professional Woman of the Year by the National Association of Women in Construction. After completing GHD’s Emerging Leaders Program, Anita was appointed Senior Project Manager, a role that has since expanded to her being GHD's Defence Infrastructure Panel Manager.

2013 Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year

Dr Julia Newton-Howes

CARE Australia

‘Passion, hard work and putting my hand up for new challenges have played a major role in my success - I feel lucky to work on issues I am deeply committed to.’

Making a difference to the lives of millions is what international aid organisation CARE Australia does best. CEO Julia Newton-Howes joined after growing up in war-torn Zimbabwe where she witnessed poverty and discrimination. Since joining, Julia has helped drive reform and change, more than doubling government funding in seven years and growing targeted and unrestricted donations by 30 and 54 per cent respectively in three years. She prioritised upgrading CARE Australia’s website and Annual Report and has consequently placed CARE Australia as a finalist in PwC’s transparency awards for the past two years. One of Julia’s key initiatives has been introducing a landmark report on CARE Australia’s impact in Asia over a five year period which provides invaluable benchmarking to drive improvement. Julia is a member of the CARE International Board and Vice President of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for non-profits working in international development.

twitter.com/jnewtonhowes

2013 WA Award Winners

Business Owner Award

Donna McColl

Happy Feet Fitness

‘As a small business owner, while my role is wide and varied, my first responsibility is to lead and grow the business through tangible goals and strategies.’

Working as a horse riding instructor at 19, Donna McColl realised her calling in life was inspiring and motivating young children. This led her into a role as area manager and dance instructor for a national dance company before building her own business aimed at addressing childhood obesity. In 2008 Donna launched Happy Feet Fitness which delivers an educational and fitness program for two to five year olds. The program combines more than 100 original songs with choreography, costumes and magic tricks to provide important messages about fitness. Initially, Donna and one other instructor delivered the program in just three WA childcare centres. Through goal setting and strategic planning, Donna now leads a Secret Harbour-based business that involves 40 instructors delivering a program to more than 6000 children each week across 400 centres in WA, Victoria and Queensland. Donna’s commitment to helping people extends to free community fitness sessions in the local park.

Private and Corporate Sector Award

Tracey Barnes

BOQ

‘I thrive on a challenge and seized the opportunity to turnaround a diverse retail and commercial banking business which had historically underperformed against its full market potential.’

After being appointed State Manager for the Retail and Online Banking division of BOQ (Bank of Queensland) in Western Australia, Tracey Barnes found a business ripe for transformation. Staff turnover was above industry benchmarks, corporately-owned branches had suffered challenging sales growth over a number of years, and the business had seen five different state leaders in as many years. Drawing on her 25 years’ experience in retail, corporate and institutional banking, Tracey extensively consulted key stakeholders, including branch owner-managers to develop a WA Strategic Plan. The strategy resulted in approval for increased investment in WA for marketing, human resources, creation of a flagship branch in Perth’s CBD, and a new mobile banker and pilot for a broker distribution channel. Her efforts have helped result in the successful transformation of the bank’s corporately-owned Retail Division in WA, achieving increased sales while significantly improving customer satisfaction and reducing staff attrition by more than half.

Community and Government Award

Sonja Cox

Department of Corrective Services

‘I hold regular staff meetings that are not only an opportunity for staff to report how they are achieving but an opportunity to celebrate and reflect. Celebrating success is important for staff morale.’

After graduating with high distinction in criminal justice administration and working for the Department of Justice Victoria, Sonja Cox relocated to WA’s Department of Corrective Services in 1996. Following roles in community corrections, adult custodial and victim services, today Sonja is Director Operational Performance, Policy and Planning and responsible for doctrines underpinning management of the State’s 10,000 community based offenders and prisoners. In 2009, Sonja was charged with delivering a business plan evaluating the use of GPS tracking for dangerous sex offenders supervised in the community. After she assessed similar programs in other States and helped steer legislation through Parliament, the program won $6 million in funding over four years. Launched in May 2013, it is delivering on its goals of increasing community safety, forging better partnerships with the WA Police and increasing accountability of some of the State’s most high risk offenders.

Business Innovation Award

Hayley Warren

HALO Medical Devices

‘The ‘WHY’ of what I do drives me. It gets me up to start work at 5am and it allows me to stay late. I love that I am doing what I want and that it’s making a difference.’

Working in the fast-evolving world of medical devices has thrown up many challenges for Hayley Warren, who started her Subiaco-based company, HALO Medical Devices, while still a physiotherapy student. Hayley developed a new goniometer, a tool used by therapists, doctors and veterinarians to measure joint movement and help recovery from injury. Hayley’s device uses laser beams, an advance that should overcome many of the shortcomings manual devices present. Hayley gained national attention when she won the People’s Choice Award with her device on the New Inventors program on ABC-TV in 2010. She’s since been named WA Innovator of the Year in the Start Up category, and attracted private capital and a Federal Government grant to take her product to the world. While her device is still undergoing evaluation in up to 15 clinical studies, it’s already being used by many professionals, and Hayley sees an initial global market of two million customers.

twitter.com/halomeddevices

Young Business Women’s Award

Kelly Haywood

Royal Australian Navy

‘If I don't do my job - our men and women won't have a warship that can fight and win at sea.’

Joining the Royal Australian Navy at 18, Lieutenant Kelly Haywood spent eight years as a Combat Systems Operator before changing over to a Maritime Logistics Officer in 2005. Her naval career has taken her twice to the Middle East, the Solomon Islands and four deployments to Christmas Island as part of border patrol operations. She received two Commanding Officer Commendations and a Silver Command Joint Task Force Commendation for her efforts while on deployment in 2011. Now 34 and based at the Defence Materiel Organisation in Rockingham, her role includes the overall logistics for the Anti Ship Missile Defence project. Kelly will graduate in November with a Bachelor of Business in Maritime Logistics and Management. Due to the loss of numerous family members and friends to suicide, Kelly actively supports and fundraises for Beyondblue to raise awareness about depression throughout the Navy and in the community.

2013 Telstra Western Australian Business Woman of the Year

Sonja Cox

Department of Corrective Services

‘I hold regular staff meetings that are not only an opportunity for staff to report how they are achieving but an opportunity to celebrate and reflect. Celebrating success is important for staff morale.’

After graduating with high distinction in criminal justice administration and working for the Department of Justice Victoria, Sonja Cox relocated to WA’s Department of Corrective Services in 1996. Following roles in community corrections, adult custodial and victim services, today Sonja is Director Operational Performance, Policy and Planning and responsible for doctrines underpinning management of the State’s 10,000 community based offenders and prisoners. In 2009, Sonja was charged with delivering a business plan evaluating the use of GPS tracking for dangerous sex offenders supervised in the community. After she assessed similar programs in other States and helped steer legislation through Parliament, the program won $6 million in funding over four years. Launched in May 2013, it is delivering on its goals of increasing community safety, forging better partnerships with the WA Police and increasing accountability of some of the State’s most high risk offenders.

2013 SA Award Winners

Business Owner Award

Cheryl Shigrov

Precious Cargo Education Pty Ltd

‘My leadership philosophy is grounded on the fundamental principles of trust and transparency. There are no secrets and I am always upfront and honest.’

Caring for children is Cheryl Shigrov’s calling. Volunteering in a Montessori pre-school led to firstly an assistant position and then a teaching degree. Cheryl opened her own Precious Cargo Montessori Early Education Centre in 2006. She now runs four centres in metropolitan Adelaide. Precious Cargo Education Pty Ltd follows the Montessori method of caring for children – founded by Italy’s first female doctor Maria Montessori - but differs from competitors in many ways. Resources are centralised and shared. By partnering with a registered training organisation, Cheryl says she has better control over staff skilling and the quality of education. Staff have teaching and child care qualifications and Cheryl strives to provide a workplace rich in mentoring where the focus is on outcome and not profit. Currently food scraps from the children’s meals are fed to pigs at Cheryl and her husband Ben’s farm. Cheryl aims to grow enough organic produce to provide meals for the children.

Private and Corporate Sector Award

Alison Pearson

Westfield

‘I have learnt that to effectively lead organisational change and influence others, it is important to be open to feedback, manage emotions and have a development plan in place to track progress.’

A holiday job in the UK altered Alison Pearson’s career course from working in public relations to becoming a leader responsible for a $470 million retail business. Having graduated from her studies in communications, Alison decided to travel before pursuing her career. While travelling she took a role with British Home Stores, before returning home with a view to begin her ‘real career.’ But she was soon lured back to retail and commenced what she describes as a leadership journey with some of Australia’s leading retailers. Her success resulted in continual promotions and while at David Jones she became the youngest Sales Manager in Australia and was awarded 'Young Retail Executive SA'. She was soon approached by Westfield where she pursued a role in property management. Within four years, Alison was promoted to Centre Manager of Westfield West Lakes and most recently took the helm of Adelaide’s second largest centre, Westfield Tea Tree Plaza.

twitter.com/alijpearson

Community and Government Award

Nicole Graham

Spastic Centres of South Australia (scosa)

‘It is important for me to find things I am passionate about as I believe this is what shines through as to who I am and what I do; it becomes infectious and provides me with motivation and purpose.’

At 28, after filling senior roles with the Spastic Centres of South Australia as the Human Resources Manager and General Manager Client Services, Nicole Graham was appointed Chief Executive – the youngest ever to ascend to the post. Since 2010, she has been leading campaigns and programs to improve the lives and raise awareness of people living with disabilities. Overseeing 200 staff, 350 clients and a $10 million budget, Nicole implemented a strategic marketing strategy that increased the not-for-profit organisation’s brand awareness by 26 per cent and revenue by 25 per cent over three years. Due to her efforts she has been awarded eight Australian Marketing Institute Awards for excellence in marketing strategy and innovation and named one of CPA Australia’s Top 40 Young Business Leaders for 2013. She mentors five other business leaders and is an executive partner with the University of Adelaide where she undertakes mentoring and tutorials in marketing.

twitter.com/nicole_graham1

Young Business Women’s Award

Nicole Graham

Spastic Centres of South Australia (scosa)

‘It is important for me to find things I am passionate about as I believe this is what shines through as to who I am and what I do; it becomes infectious and provides me with motivation and purpose.’

At 28, after filling senior roles with the Spastic Centres of South Australia as the Human Resources Manager and General Manager Client Services, Nicole Graham was appointed Chief Executive – the youngest ever to ascend to the post. Since 2010, she has been leading campaigns and programs to improve the lives and raise awareness of people living with disabilities. Overseeing 200 staff, 350 clients and a $10 million budget, Nicole implemented a strategic marketing strategy that increased the not-for-profit organisation’s brand awareness by 26 per cent and revenue by 25 per cent over three years. Due to her efforts she has been awarded eight Australian Marketing Institute Awards for excellence in marketing strategy and innovation and named one of CPA Australia’s Top 40 Young Business Leaders for 2013. She mentors five other business leaders and is an executive partner with the University of Adelaide where she undertakes mentoring and tutorials in marketing.

twitter.com/nicole_graham1

2013 Telstra South Australian Business Woman of the Year

Cheryl Shigrov

Precious Cargo Education Pty Ltd

‘My leadership philosophy is grounded on the fundamental principles of trust and transparency. There are no secrets and I am always upfront and honest.’

Caring for children is Cheryl Shigrov’s calling. Volunteering in a Montessori pre-school led to firstly an assistant position and then a teaching degree. Cheryl opened her own Precious Cargo Montessori Early Education Centre in 2006. She now runs four centres in metropolitan Adelaide. Precious Cargo Education Pty Ltd follows the Montessori method of caring for children – founded by Italy’s first female doctor Maria Montessori - but differs from competitors in many ways. Resources are centralised and shared. By partnering with a registered training organisation, Cheryl says she has better control over staff skilling and the quality of education. Staff have teaching and child care qualifications and Cheryl strives to provide a workplace rich in mentoring where the focus is on outcome and not profit. Currently food scraps from the children’s meals are fed to pigs at Cheryl and her husband Ben’s farm. Cheryl aims to grow enough organic produce to provide meals for the children.

2013 NT Award Winners

2013 Telstra Northern Territory Business Woman of the Year

Helen Summers

Helen Summers Optometrist, Fannie Bay

'I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of others and striving towards the Vision 2020 goal of reducing preventable blindness by providing vision care in remote Indigenous communities.'

Working as a graduate optometrist in Kenya, and witnessing the impact preventable blindness and the lack of vision care had on education and employment, inspired Helen Summers to start her own practice. She launched Helen Summers Optometrist Eyecare Plus Darwin in 1998 with second-hand equipment and without the assistance of a bank loan. Helen soon established outreach services to under-serviced regional and remote Indigenous communities in Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Kakadu and Arhhem Land. Her extensive range of products and services includes high standard clinical care and comprehensive examinations to manage diabetic vision care and glaucoma as well as visual perceptual and neuro-optometry services for children and adults with reading difficulties and autism. Helen is a member of the Indigenous Working Group for the Optometrists Association of Australia and Chairman of the Australian Optometric Panel which represents independent optometry. She’s also a director of Guide Dogs SA/NT and a director of Eyecare Plus Ltd, a group of about 180 independent optometry practices.

Business Owner Award

Helen Summers

Helen Summers Optometrist, Fannie Bay

'I am passionate about making a difference in the lives of others and striving towards the Vision 2020 goal of reducing preventable blindness by providing vision care in remote Indigenous communities.'

Working as a graduate optometrist in Kenya, and witnessing the impact preventable blindness and the lack of vision care had on education and employment, inspired Helen Summers to start her own practice. She launched Helen Summers Optometrist Eyecare Plus Darwin in 1998 with second-hand equipment and without the assistance of a bank loan. Helen soon established outreach services to under-serviced regional and remote Indigenous communities in Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Kakadu and Arhhem Land. Her extensive range of products and services includes high standard clinical care and comprehensive examinations to manage diabetic vision care and glaucoma as well as visual perceptual and neuro-optometry services for children and adults with reading difficulties and autism. Helen is a member of the Indigenous Working Group for the Optometrists Association of Australia and Chairman of the Australian Optometric Panel which represents independent optometry. She’s also a director of Guide Dogs SA/NT and a director of Eyecare Plus Ltd, a group of about 180 independent optometry practices.

Community and Government Award

Kathryn James

GTNT, Darwin

'I possess tenacity and an absolute belief in our vision, I love the work I do and I demonstrate absolute conviction in our people, our services and the training and apprenticeship industry.'

Kathryn James began a hairdressing apprenticeship at 15 and soon developed a passion for training as a manager of apprentices herself. After commencing a Human Resources Management degree in Queensland, she won management roles in the Top End and interstate. In 2011, she was appointed General Manager of GTNT (Group Training Northern Territory) before rising to Chief Executive. Kathryn says GTNT is the largest employer of apprentices and trainees in the Territory with offices in Darwin, Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. Kathryn leads a senior management team of eight, 65 employees and about 380 apprentices and trainees. One of Kathryn’s biggest achievements has been implementing an organisational restructure to increase productivity and reduce costs. Her reforms have taken the not-for-profit company to a position of financial sustainability and empowered senior managers to lead cultural change. She says GTNT’s mentoring programs for trainees and apprentices now have a completion rate of 81 per cent.

twitter.com/kathrynjamesgtnt

Business Innovation Award

Helen Summers

Helen Summers Optometrist, Fannie Bay

'I’m proud of establishing an Australian-first concept store, using the latest in technology and new ideas in research to deliver the best eyecare possible.'

Helen Summers launched her optometry practice in Darwin 25 years ago focusing on personalised service and new technologies. The business offers an extensive range of products and services to urban, regional and remote Indigenous communities, utilising the newest technology lenses and dispensing tools. Her clinical staff help diagnose and manage diabetic vision, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Helen met the challenge of a significant contract ending by becoming a preferred provider for a health fund, introducing a new therapy, colourimetry, and managing two Fred Hollows Clinics at Adelaide River and Batchelor. Helen is currently developing a new practice location that she says will be Australia’s first flagship concept store with Nikon branding. Scheduled to open in December, it will use the latest technology and innovations in vision care for consulting, dispensing, retailing and health education. Information management will also be a focus, so that specialists in Darwin and interstate can share their expertise and help patients more effectively.

Young Business Women’s Award

Katherine Van Gurp

Northern Territory Police, Fire & Emergency Services, Darwin

'I promote a continual learning and mentoring approach with my team - I have an open door policy and I do not think any task is beneath any one of us.'

Katherine Van Gurp started with the Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services (NTPFES) as Director for the Business Improvement and Planning branch two years ago. Since that time, she has made a real difference to the way the service tackles strategic and business planning, and risk and performance management. She has embedded standardised reporting and planning mechanisms and a process of continual learning across the organisation. Establishing strategic planning and risk management frameworks have strengthened the overall governance and accountability of the NTPFES and ensured decisions are robust and aligned to its strategic vision. Katherine’s achievements at the NTPFES follow her experience in policy and professional standards areas in other areas of law enforcement and justice – for the Australian Federal Police, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, NSW Department of Juvenile Justice and the WA Anti-Corruption Commission. Katherine says she strives at all times to promote equality and diversity of views and experience in the workplace.

2013 QLD Award Winners

2013 Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year

Rosemary Vilgan

QSuper, Brisbane

‘Over the past six years or so, I have led a major transformation of QSuper, taking it into the federally regulated space, and this year QSuper was named Pension Fund of the Year.’ Rosemary Vilgan

Rosemary Vilgan helped establish QSuper, a universal superannuation scheme for Queensland public sector employees in 1990 and became its CEO in 1998. QSuper is one of Australia's largest superannuation funds with $45 billion under management and 530,000 members. QSuper operates as a ‘Profit for Members’ mutual organisation, serving teachers, nurses, police officers, public servants and their spouses. As head of the fund, Rosemary recognised inequities of contributions, particularly for women and negotiated an equalisation of the contribution rate for all employees with the State Government. With 900 staff in Brisbane and regional offices, Rosemary has recently expanded offerings including a goal based superannuation product, financial planning advice and a mortgage broking service. Rosemary is a member of the Council of QUT and the Federal Treasurer’s Financial Sector Advisory Council. She served on the Board of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia for 15 years and was Chairperson for six, including as the first female and youngest appointee.

Business Owner Award

Vicki Warne

AIB Insurance Brokers, Maroochydore

“Today AIB Pty Ltd is debt free and profitable. Self-doubt crept in many times but fortunately I was able to rise above it. I realised I was a survivor. I was stronger than I anticipated I could be.’ Vicki Warne

The tragic death of her life partner Glenn Skipworth in a plane crash in 2006 pushed Vicki Warne into the driving seat of AIB Insurance Brokers. Vicki reluctantly took on the leadership role at a time of business turmoil and deep personal grief. As Managing Director, Vicki not only completed funding of a buyback of an equity partner’s share in AIB, she also managed millions of dollars of debt. Vicki almost sold the business after opening her Maroochydore premises but changed her mind to stay true to Glenn’s vision. Today, AIB is a thriving business and now one of the largest privately owned insurance brokers in the country, not only working in retail insurance but also offering packages for tourism operators, childcare providers, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, dentists, hairdressers and beauty therapists. Vicki acknowledges the extraordinary support she’s gained from the peer mentoring organisation TEC.

Private and Corporate Sector Award

Amanda Lear

Gilimbaa, Brisbane

‘Our vision at Gilimbaa is to inform and change the way people communicate about Indigenous Australia and our focus is to inform and strengthen a positive dialogue.’

As co-founder and Managing Director of Indigenous creative agency Gilimbaa, Amanda Lear straddles the dual roles of managing growth and development of the business while driving client campaign and communications strategies. Gilimbaa, a Wakka Wakka word meaning 'today', helps organisations use communications tools to achieve dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. With six staff, its key activities include consulting with organisations and community, developing brands, designing and producing marketing and communication materials, creating documentaries and animations and creating bespoke artworks. Amanda enjoys working with organisations in the public and private sector to educate and promote reconciliation across Australia. When the Brisbane-based business faced serious cashflow issues in 2009, Amanda was integral in nursing it back to health by initiating rigorous book keeping, sales pipeline management and downsizing to a sustainable core team. A former senior HR adviser at Downer EDI Mining, Amanda has been a member of the UN Women’s Committee of Australia since 2010.

Community and Government Award

Rosemary Vilgan

QSuper, Brisbane

‘Over the past six years or so, I have led a major transformation of QSuper, taking it into the federally regulated space, and this year QSuper was named Pension Fund of the Year.’ Rosemary Vilgan

Rosemary Vilgan helped establish QSuper, a universal superannuation scheme for Queensland public sector employees in 1990 and became its CEO in 1998. QSuper is one of Australia's largest superannuation funds with $45 billion under management and 530,000 members. QSuper operates as a ‘Profit for Members’ mutual organisation, serving teachers, nurses, police officers, public servants and their spouses. As head of the fund, Rosemary recognised inequities of contributions, particularly for women and negotiated an equalisation of the contribution rate for all employees with the State Government. With 900 staff in Brisbane and regional offices, Rosemary has recently expanded offerings including a goal based superannuation product, financial planning advice and a mortgage broking service. Rosemary is a member of the Council of QUT and the Federal Treasurer’s Financial Sector Advisory Council. She served on the Board of the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia for 15 years and was Chairperson for six, including as the first female and youngest appointee.

Business Innovation Award

Rosemary Vilgan

QSuper, Brisbane

‘QSuper's work is receiving national and international recognition as the global pensions industry has realised it needs to solve the problem of retirement income targeting.’

With many superannuation clients finding their retirement plans in disarray post-GFC, QSuper Chief Executive Rosemary Vilgan realised the traditional model was broken. Most accounts take no consideration of the age of clients nor their level of savings. Rosemary and her Brisbane-based team brought together thinking on a multitude of factors including investment markets, longevity, behavioural finance and financial planning and set about introducing a new product to the market. She led research and national debate about the purpose of superannuation, speaking at conferences and with industry associations, media, bureaucrats and the regulator. She headed the launch of QSuper Lifetime - a superannuation product that takes into account the age of the member, the level of their savings, and the economic cycle to provide a better retirement outcome. The product integrates financial advice and education and is changing the measure of success for the industry.

Young Business Women’s Award

Jellaine Ross

Cherry Blooms, Stafford

‘I am obsessed with my business, constantly thinking about it and applying new sales and marketing techniques online and offline and multiplying things that work, learning from what doesn't.’

As a young advertising and PR executive in Brisbane, Jellaine Ross had a dream of building a successful global online business. She created a website and designed a multi-compartment bag organiser that she trialed at local weekend markets. Today as director and designer of Cherry Blooms, 30-year-old Jellaine runs a business selling almost 30 fashion and beauty products both online and through almost 1000 retail stores in Australasia, Japan and North America. After expanding her range into beauty products she achieved a big milestone when her brush on eyelash extensions were featured in the 2013 Oscars Gift Bags - putting her brand in the hands of Hollywood celebrities. Jellaine continues to expand the retail presence globally and her recent entry in the US market through a beauty tradeshow in Las Vegas caused a frenzy, generating media coverage on daily talk shows in the first week launching in the US.


More information on the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and the 2013 winners can be found at telstrabusinesswomensawards.com

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