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International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter


Posted on March 4, 2019

2 min read

International Women’s Day is being celebrated on 8 March and the theme is #BalanceForBetter.

The 8th of March is International Women’s Day, an annual global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. We celebrate this progress while acknowledging that there is still a lot of work to be done if we are to achieve true gender equality.

The proportion of women in any workforce is only one aspect of gender balance. The true benefits for individuals, businesses and economies are only achieved when all people are able to access fair opportunities, rewards and resources regardless of their gender.

Telstra is proud to be widely acknowledged as a leading employer of women. Last week we were recognised for the fifth time as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency.

It takes commitment to achieve the citation. We’ve been monitoring, and closing, our gender pay gap for a number of years. It is well below the Australian national average. We have clear objectives to ensure that women are proportionately represented in management and executive roles, as well as our overall workforce.

Gender balance doesn’t only benefit women. True balance is achieved by giving everyone access to flexibility and leave to balance their working and caring roles.  Telstra enables flexibility through the use of technology, provides paid parental leave and carer’s leave and gives employees the option to purchase additional annual leave.

Kylie Fuller left receiving Telstra’s citation from Libby Lyons, Director of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

We also care about women in the community – from the Telstra Business Women’s Awards that celebrate and reward high achievers, to the Safe Connections program that supports women who are escaping domestic and family violence- we’re committed to making a positive difference.

Meet the winner of the Business Woman in Asia Award 2017!

Telstra Business Women's Awards

Posted on December 1, 2017

3 min read

Recognised as a forward-thinking business leader, Singapore-based Damco executive Saskia Groen-in’t-woud received the Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2017 Gala Dinner last week.

As the Asia Chief Operating Officer of international logistics provider Damco, Saskia Groen-in’t-woud has championed diversity in a male-dominated industry and driven significant operational improvements within her organisation through the pursuit of technology and process simplification oriented around customer needs.

In her role since 2015, she has played a pivotal role in supporting Damco’s financial turnaround from a $300m loss in 2014 to turning a profit in 2016.

Saskia has always chosen the non-traditional route in her career and she seized every possible opportunity to develop a global career. Having studied business at a small regional university in Queensland, she worked her way up from being a small business owner, to her current role as the Asia COO for Damco. Starting from December this year, she is taking on the role of Global COO role for the company.

Currently managing 3,500, Saskia finds it incredibly satisfying to address business problems and build high performing teams by finding the balance of using smarts, courage and heart. Throughout her career, she has been taking seriously the opportunity to pay it forward by encouraging women to take difficult roles. Now as a leader, she is also committed to make things easier for women to come through.

In her acceptance speech at the Telstra Women’s Business Awards Gala Dinner, Saskia said winning the Award helped her form an important platform to take bigger and bolder actions towards inclusion in the future.

“We are stronger in ourselves when the support and feedback we have around us help us, and the inputs we get from those shape us.”

“It takes courage and conviction for women in business to succeed, but it is also essential for us to leverage our natural strengths – to learn from others, listen and collaborate. That’s why I am ecstatic and delighted to be here at this point in time where so much change is possible. Winning the Award is so exciting – not just for myself, but for women across Asia,” added Saskia.

Winning the Award means Saskia is joining the Telstra Business Women’s Awards Alumni network of more than 2,000 women who have been named finalists over more than two decades. The Alumni network also welcomes other finalists from this year, including Anna Tham from ACE EdVenture Group (Malaysia), Fern Ngai from Community Business (Hong Kong), Gayathri Vasudevan from LabourNet (India), Geeta Dharmarajan from Katha (India), Michele Lai from Kids4Kid (Hong Kong), and Nicole McMillan from Mars Wrigley Confectionary (Singapore).

For more information on the Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award and to nominate outstanding women for the 2018 Awards, click here.

Tags: TBWA,

Business savvy not-for-profit leader takes out Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year

Telstra Business Women's Awards Business and Enterprise

Posted on November 23, 2017

3 min read

The 2017 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year is Violet Roumeliotis, of Settlement Services International Limited (SSI).

As CEO of SSI, Ms Roumeliotis utilises her strong business acumen and experience gained in leadership roles, within major not-for-profits over the past 30 years.

In her role since 2012, Roumeliotis has grown SSI’s revenue from $9 million to $110 million over the past four years. And, in the last 18 months, they have assisted 1185 people to gain employment. A three-year pilot of SSI’s Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative helped 66 refugees successfully establish a business, and the majority of participants to move off Centrelink payments.


Violet didn’t have a typical upbringing. From humble beginnings, the daughter of migrants decided she was going to change her future, and the futures of others in the same circumstances. Her vision is to give a voice to vulnerable Australians and raise awareness of the economic value of migration.

“Violet has demonstrated resilience and ingenuity in finding new revenue streams to keep the mission alive and make an impact, and has pioneered new initiatives including the Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative which facilitates entrepreneurship among refugees and asylum seekers,” said Joe Pollard, Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Group Executive Media and Chief Marketing Officer.

“Ms Roumeliotis is a leader among leaders in her sector, dedicated to lifting people out of their circumstances of vulnerability and disadvantage.

“Not only is her mission to celebrate human potential inspiring, but she also demonstrates business acumen, with strong financial performance, an adoption of technology, and an astute understanding of competitors,” Ms Pollard said.

Of her Award win, Violet has said, “The Awards give us an opportunity to elevate the narrative around refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. I think I have an obligation through the work that I do, to talk about the lived experience of people and to bring out the humanity, because I know Australians are very generous and good people, they are very supportive.”

The National winners of the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Award are:

Business Woman in Asia Award: Saskia Groen-in’t-Woud, Damco

Entrepreneur Award: Hana-Lia Krawchuk, Love to Dream

For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award: Violet Roumeliotis, Settlement Services International Limited

Public Sector and Academia Award: Prof Leah Bromfield, Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia

Corporate and Private Award: Jennifer Franceschi, Fresh Produce Alliance

Young Business Woman of the Year Award: Elise Apolloni, Capital Chemist Wanniassa

Australian Business Woman of the Year: Violet Roumeliotis, Settlement Services International Limited

If you, or a brilliant business woman you know, deserve recognition nominate today for the 2018 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Tags: TBWA,

A source of inspiration to help young women to aspire and achieve

Business and Enterprise

Posted on November 9, 2017

2 min read

Managing a team of 90 is definitely no easy task, but Nicole McMillan, Vice President of Marketing for Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, and finalist of the Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award 2017, not only manages a team of this size but has become a source of inspiration for the women around her.

What sets Nicole apart from many others is her nurturing and supportive leadership style through which she has paved the way to create a stronger, more diverse workplace at Mars Wrigley Confectionery.

Since starting her career at Mars, Nicole has worked with some of the global leading food and beverage brands under the Mars umbrella, including Snickers, M&M’s, Twix and Skittles. Nicole was rewarded for her hard work and dedication and was eventually promoted to the position of Vice President of Marketing AMEA for Mars Wrigley Confectionery. Managing 750 different products across 75 countries and territories, Nicole has demonstrated her skill as a valued leader and advisor in the industry.

Confectionery, is a finalist for the Telstra Business Women in Asia Award 2017.
Nicole McMillan, VP of Marketing for AMEA at Mars Wrigley Confectionery, is a finalist for the Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award 2017.

Since commencing in her role, Nicole has streamlined the operating structure in her department to provide employees a sense of ownership over their work and give them an opportunity to showcase their talent.

She is now reaping the benefits of her compassionate approach with her team’s employee engagement levels increasing by 20 percent and attracting some of the best talents in Mars globally.

Her approach does not benefit employees alone. By nurturing employees, she is able to create a mutuality of benefit for the employee, the company but also the community at large.

Nicole is always looking for ways to improve the functionality of her organisation through the application of leading-edge technology. As biometric testing rapidly develops, she is optimistic about the insights these technologies will provide on how Asian consumers respond to advertising, compared to their Western counterparts. Such valuable insight will help inform the future of marketing on both a local and global scale.

Managing a team of 90, Nicole is a source of inspiration for the women around her.
Managing a team of 90, Nicole is a source of inspiration for the women around her.

Nicole is one of seven finalists for this year’s Telstra Business Woman in Asia Award category. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 21 November in Melbourne.

Click here to learn more about the Telstra Business Awards or to nominate brilliant business women for the 2018 Awards.

Tags: TBWA,

Avocado Pioneer, Jennifer Franceschi, announced 2017 Telstra Western Australian Business Woman of the Year

Telstra Business Women's Awards

Posted on October 26, 2017

2 min read

I’m pleased to announce Jennifer Franceschi, from Fresh Produce Alliance, was last night named the 2017 Telstra Western Australian Business Woman of the Year, after also taking home the Corporate and Private Award.

Jennifer has been immersed in the avocado industry ever since she took on her first summer job, working in her family’s commercial orchard.

More recently in 2016, Jennifer founded a processing facility, Fresh Produce Alliance, alongside her husband and two other growers.

The business champions a sustainable agriculture ecosystem and uses innovative technology such as high-pressure processing and individual quick-freeze to produce “naturally healthy, delicious, real food that people love.”

Jennifer’s career in the avocado industry spans four decades, and has seen her open her own orchard, become involved with the state association and industry board for avocado growers, and launch an avocado packing facility.

“As a pioneer of our industry in WA, I believe the contribution I have made over many years has made a real difference to the people I represent,” she said.

Jennifer stands out as a genuine, authentic, country business woman with a world class vision. She lives to create a sustainable future through intergenerational farming, sustainable working, long-term job opportunities and reduced agricultural wastage.

Julie Adams, Jennifer Franceschi, Simone McGurk and Janet Barnes.
Julie Adams, Jennifer Franceschi, Simone McGurk and Janet Barnes.

Also recognised at the 2017 Telstra Western Australian Business Women’s Award were:

  • Entrepreneur Award winner: Dr Anh Nguyen, Director/Owner, Dr Anh Plastic Surgeon Medispa & Wellness Clinic
  • For Purpose and Social Enterprise winner: Jahna Cedar, Executive Officer, Gumala Aboriginal Corporation
  • Public Sector and Academia Award winner: Michelle Fyfe, Assistant Commissioner, State Crime Portfolio, Western Australia Police Force
  • Young Business Women’s Award winner: Maitri Patel, Founder and Creative Director, Bolly Active

State and Territory winners will be flown to Melbourne for the National Awards judging, culminating in a Gala Dinner on the night of Tuesday 21 November.

If you, or a brilliant business woman you know, deserve recognition, nominate today:


Tags: TBWA,