Megan Stiffler - Telstra Business Women's Awards 2020
Telstra Business Women's Awards |

25 years of championing women in business

By Alex Badenoch February 14, 2020

For 25 years, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards have recognised more than 3000 exceptional women in leadership, who are transforming the way we do business from all corners of Australia and across all industries. This year, the finalists are exceptional leaders in the fields of policing, aviation, Indigenous advocacy, wellness, even powerlifting and pet care.

We’re thrilled to announce the state finalists for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

State finalists include Victoria’s Julie Hirsch, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Eloments Natural Vitamin Tea. Julie’s world-first innovation sources Fairtrade ingredients from around the world and then blends them with nutrient-rich fruit and herbal extracts so that every cup contains nine essential nutrients (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, C, and Zinc).

Also nominated is the Northern Territory’s Mache Collins, Co-Founder and Business Manager of Black Diamond Aviation. With her husband, the pair have turned a humble aviation operation into a service that connects the remotest parts of Australia’s Top End with the outside world, bringing services to those who need it most.

South Australia’s Marion Eckert, Professor of Cancer Nursing and Director of the Rosemary Bryant Research Centre within the University of South Australia

South Australia’s Marion Eckert, Professor of Cancer Nursing and Director of the Rosemary Bryant Research Centre within the University of South Australia, where she is responsible for a team of academics and researchers. She is leading an innovative research agenda focused on cancer survivorship and quality of life reporting post-cancer diagnosis.

These are just some of our 186 incredible finalists up for awards in their respective states across our five categories. They are all exceptional examples of the talent on offer from Australian women in business, across all industries. These finalists challenge the status quo every single day, using their collective power to rewrite what it means to be successful.

They champion inclusion, innovation and inspire others to do the same. We’ve been proud to advocate for women in business for the last quarter-century, helping finalists and winners alike to promote workplace gender equality to pave the way for future generations.

There’s more to be done, and we’re excited for the next 25 years of barrier-breaking success that every day brings us closer to inclusion and equality.

The Telstra Business Women’s Awards celebrates Australia’s most successful women from small, medium and large businesses, for-purpose organisations and social enterprises, emerging leaders, academia and the public sector. Boost Juice’s Janine Allis, cooking icon Maggie Beer and Carman’s Kitchen’s Carolyn Creswell are all part of the incredible support network of Alumni helping each other connect, learn and grow.

Winners of the 2020 Telstra State Business Women’s Awards will be announced over the coming months. State and Territory winners will be invited to Sydney for the National Awards experience and Gala dinner celebration on Thursday, 28th May 2020.

For a full list of the 2020 finalists, please visit the Telstra Business Women’s Awards website or see below.

Katherine Innes - Telstra Business Women's Awards 2020

The finalists of the 2020 Telstra State Business Women’s Awards are:

Northern Territory

Small Business Award

  • Beth Taylor, Territory Hands
  • Glenys Tarrant, Micronised Mineral Solutions
  • Laura Hutchinson, Hutch Air
  • Mache Collins, Black Diamond Aviation
  • Sally Morris, Crest Northern Territory

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Bec Hammet, Scott Hammett Building and Carpentry / SH Build
  • Sierra Ferguson, Auto Care Panel Works
  • Tracey Leo, Humpty Doo Barramundi

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Anne Walters, NT Government
  • Jo Smallacombe, Activate Darwin, Dept of the Chief Minister

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Alexie Seller, Pollinate Group Ltd
  • Christina Davidson, Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA)
  • Elizabeth Reid, YouthWorX NT
  • Leeanne Caton, Yilli Rreung Housing Aboriginal Corporation
  • Samantha Bennett, Royal Flying Doctor Service Tourist Facility Darwin

Emerging Leader Award

  • Emma Kelly, The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation
  • Jordy Bowman, Developing East Arnhem Limited
  • Sorrell Ashby, GUUMALI


Small Business Award

  • Carolyn Jensen, Cardio-Jenic
  • Julie Verner-Mackay, aXcelerate
  • Katie Richards, Virtual Legal
  • Sarah-Jane Peterschlingmann, ATech Services

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Angela Vidler, Diversity Offshore Staffing Solutions
  • Jackie Rahilly, Appoint
  • Robyn Valmadre, Villa World Limited
  • Ulrike Lenitschek, Travel
  • Yinzhu Quan, Rio Tinto Aluminium

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Dale Frieberg, Queensland Police Service
  • Jeanette Allom Hill, Sunshine Coast Regional Council
  • Katherine Innes, Queensland Police Service
  • Megan Stiffler, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
  • Michelle Baxter ASM, Queensland Ambulance Service

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Alanna Bastin-Byrne, Femeconomy
  • Andrea Jackson, The Maraway
  • Dominique Lamb, National Retail Association Ltd
  • Jo Thomas, Metro Arts
  • Ruth Limkin, The Banyans

Emerging Leader Award

  • Gemma Renton, Vine Street Digital
  • Leanne Baker, Leanne Baker Daily
  • Melissa Spies, Moreton Bay Physical Culture Club
  • Onica Mhaka, Height Dynamics
  • Tamara Shaw, Beaute Industrie

South Australia

Small Business Award

  • Amanda Mckinnon, Lasertat
  • Dena Vassallo, Society Marketing Communications
  • Lucinda Hewitson, Diversity Inclusion
  • Mellissa Larkin, Peripheral Blue
  • Tania Tonkin, DMCA Advisory

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Chantale Millard, Longtable Group Limited
  • Di Mantell, CELSUS
  • Gabrielle Iwanow, OZ Minerals Group
  • Kate Berry, Discovery Parks

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Professor Emily Hilder, University of South Australia
  • Professor Faye McCallum, The University of Adelaide
  • Kerrie Campbell, Flinders University
  • Louise O’Reilly, The University of Adelaide
  • Professor Marion Eckert, Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre, University of South Australia

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Brigid Koenig, Sammy D Foundation Incorporated
  • Kylie Shae OAM, Motivation Australia
  • Liz Cohen, Community Accommodation & Respite Agency Inc
  • Sharyn Broer, Meals on Wheels (SA) Inc

Emerging Leader Award

  • Joyce Ceravolo, Ashton Valley Fresh
  • Melissa Zacharia, Pod Fit Adelaide
  • Rebecca Clare, PhysioWest


Small Business Award

  • Alison Flakemore, Alison’s Garden & Landscape
  • Annette Kaitinis, Scoot Boots
  • Kathrine Fernando, City Dental Tas
  • Naomi Arnold, Dental On Macquarie
  • Rosalind Cardinal, Shaping Change

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Barbara Brown, St. Lukes Health
  • Kate Daley, TAS Gas Retail
  • Lisa McConnon, TAS Gas Networks
  • Melanie Dunn, Accurium
  • Samantha Macleod, Tasmanian Stockfeed Services

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Catherine Murdoch, Tasmanian Office of Coordinator General
  • Lewa Pertl, Australian Seafood Industries
  • Miriam Coleman, Clarence City Council
  • Roslyn Connolly, Work & Training
  • Simone Salter, Glenorchy City Council

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Alison Lai, Alcohol Tobacco and other Drug Council (TAS) Inc
  • Justine Barwick, Family Based Care Tasmania
  • Margaret Williams, Medea Park Association Incorporated
  • Megan McKeown, Sportula Microgrants Inc
  • Shirleyann Varney, Drug Education Network

Emerging Leader Award

  • Imogen Page, University of Tasmania
  • Jessie O’Donoghue, Bob Hair on Tamar
  • Rachel Vasicek, Francesca Collections
  • Rose Lindner, MMG Limited
  • Sarah Mundy, Gastown East


Small Business Award

  • Hannah Spilva, LVLY
  • Helen Killmier, Guidestar Life Pty Ltd
  • Jennifer Lauber-Patterson, Frontier Carbon
  • Louise Hvala, Alifery
  • Shadé Zahrai, Influenceo Group

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Jane Oppenheim, Ego Pharmaceuticals
  • Leah Weckert, Coles Group
  • Leah Williamson, True Foods
  • Leanne Healey, Everyday Independence
  • Victoria Kluth, Araza

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Annabel Astbury, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • Professor Belinda Tynan , Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • Claire Spencer, Arts Centre Melbourne
  • Jacqueline Boyle, Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation
  • Yasmin Jayasinghe, The Royal Women’s Hospital

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Faye Bendrups, National State Emergency Service Volunteers Association
  • Felicity Green, Spark Strategy
  • Kate Fazio, Justice Connect
  • Libby Mears, Leisure Networks Association Inc
  • Nicky Long, Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision

Emerging Leader Award

  • Chelsea Caple, Summersalt Sports
  • Jessica Fishburn, Gen Health Hamilton
  • Julie Hirsch, Eloments Natural Vitamin Tea
  • Madeleine Buchner, Little Dreamers
  • Victoria Devine, She’s on the Money

Western Australia

Small Business Award

  • Caroline Shaw, Live Well Physio
  • Claire McGregor, Appbot
  • Rachael Ferguson, Synx Sole
  • Tala Sarizadeh, Upstairs Restaurant
  • Tracy Westerman, Indigenous Psychological Services

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Jessica Ellison, Life Ready Health Group
  • Kristen Walsh, ALS Industrial
  • Rochelle Macdonald, Mid West Ports Authority
  • Selina Torrance-Duncalf, HBF
  • Tresslyn Walmsley, InterGrain

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Charlotte Mills, Racing & Wagering Western Australia
  • Jemma Greene, City of Canning
  • Jodi Cant, Department of Finance WA State Government
  • Stella Jinman, Cecil Andrews College

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Anjie Brook, Western Australian Aboriginal Leadership Institute Ltd
  • Asha Bhat, Southern Aboriginal Corp
  • Dominique Mecoy, Leadership WA
  • Kim Henwood, Standing Strong
  • Sandra Bellekom, Ear Science Institute Australia Incorporated

Emerging Leader Award

  • Jordan Foster, ySafe4
  • Kim Padmore, People2People
  • Melissa Holland, Rocky Ridge Brewing Co
  • Stacey Murray, The Resume Creative

New South Wales

Small Business Award

  • Annalisa Contos, Atom Consulting
  • Eleni Mikatos, Galmatic
  • Joanne Cooper, ID Exchange
  • Majeda Awawdeh, Global Education Academy
  • Stacey Morgan, Port Macquarie Performing Arts

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Deborah Coakley, Dexus
  • Emma Brown, MedicalDirector
  • Katherine McConnell, Brighte Capital
  • Kelly Van Nelson, Adecco Australia
  • Kristen Molloy, Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator Ltd

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Danielle Mullholland, Kyogle Council
  • Jody Grima, Service NSW
  • Sarah Pearce, CSIRO
  • Sarah Roche, Essential Energy
  • Sherrie Killiby, Transport for NSW

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Belinda Dimovski, Australian Red Cross Society
  • Holly Masters, McGrath Foundation Ltd
  • Katherine Gill, FND Australia Support Services Inc
  • Sarah Hosking, National Breast Cancer Foundation
  • Vicki Gordon, CICADA International Limited – Australian Women in Music Awards

Emerging Leader Award

  • Courtney Bowie, Her Lawyer
  • Elyse Powell, Bells Line Legal
  • Eunica Shaw, Alcmena
  • Peta Shulman, Goodness Me Box
  • Soraya Calavassy, Neon Black

Australian Capital Territory

Small Business Award

  • Cassandra Keller, Clarke Keller
  • Gillian Horton, Colleens Post Mastectomy Connection
  • Kylie Burnett, Parbery Consulting
  • Rhiannon Beach, Pups4Fun Pty Ltd
  • Suzanne Moulis, Moulis Legal

Medium & Large Business Award

  • Fiona Wright, Evoenergy
  • Hannah Gill, Independent Property Management (ACT)
  • Michele Robinson, Capitol Chilled Foods Aust Joint Venture
  • Peita de Boer, Manteena Security (Aust)
  • Rachel Dobing, CareSuper

Public Sector & Academia Award

  • Bree Hills, Canberra Christian School
  • Jodie Griffiths-Cook, ACT Human Rights Commission
  • Loretta Wholley, Merici Catholic College Braddon
  • Shannon Carnovale, Melrose High School
  • Zoe Piper, CSIRO

For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award

  • Bianca Russell, St John Ambulance (ACT) Inc.
  • Heidi Prowse, Mental Illness Education ACT
  • Liesel Wett, Australian Pathology
  • Samantha Nolan-Smith, The School of Visibility
  • Suzanne Tunks, Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation

Emerging Leader Award

  • Amanda Morton, Broadspectrum Property
  • Casey Taueki, Magic for Mums
  • Jirana Boontanjai, Pint of Science Australia
  • Samantha Truscott, Allegro Education
  • Schae Zarew, The Strength Syndicate
International Women's Day #BalanceForBetter
Sustainability | Telstra News |

International Women’s Day #BalanceForBetter

By Kylie Fuller March 4, 2019

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.

Telstra Business Women's Awards |

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

By Charlene Leung December 1, 2017

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.

Telstra Business Women of the Year | Violet Roumeilotis
Business and Enterprise | Telstra Business Women's Awards |

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

By Joe Pollard November 23, 2017

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.

Business and Enterprise | Telstra Business Women's Awards |

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

By Charlene Leung November 9, 2017

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.