THE winners of the 2015 Canberra Women in Business Awards were announced last night at a dinner hosted by Canberra Women in Business (CWB) at the QT Canberra.
Claudia Vannithone, President of CWB, said the night was the culmination of a very successful year for the organisation.
“We’ve seen incredible growth in our membership numbers and attendance to our events throughout the year,” Claudia said.
“A few years ago, we changed our focus and style of our events. The core objective of our events is to help local businesswomen make meaningful connections with one another to foster the growth of their businesses.
“Our Awards are to celebrate the achievements of the businesswomen in Canberra, as well as an opportunity to encourage and reward our members, by giving them a chance to showcase their businesses to the Canberra community.”
This year’s winners are:
Business Woman of the Year
Karen Porter, Solace Creations
Karen is the epitome of thinking big. She started her business at the tail end of a failed marriage. She went from start up to a $3 million business and 2 staff to 7 in just three years. Her turnover has doubled in the last 12 months. She is forecasting $7 million in turnover for this financial year, and $10 million for the following year. She holds strongly to her vision of there being energy-efficient double-glazing in every home in Canberra, and doing her bit to help the environment. There are additional challenges of being a female business owner in the construction industry – it takes time and tenacity to gain trust and a strong reputation. She is smashing gender stereotypes and encouraging other women in construction to do the same by being a role model and mentor.
Business Woman of the Year – Highly Commended
Maryanne Gore, Project Lighting
Maryanne is a stalwart in the business community, leading a team of 35 staff across 6 outlets. She models longevity in business, while still being responsive to changing customer and business needs. A quiet achiever, she shows that continuous commitment to service can bring long-standing results.
Young Business Woman of the Year
Rita Joyan, Unbox Your Gift
Rita models courage and authenticity. Rita’s family escaped Afghanistan as refugees. When she arrived in Australia, she spoke no English and suffered from a speech impediment due to the traumatic challenges. 8 years later she represented her school in the NSW Plain English Speaking Awards. She then bucked family and cultural pressure to establish her own business, helping progressional women identify and pursue their own authentic career and business path.
Best New Business
Mary-Jane Liddicoat, Polit Bar
Mary-Jane demonstrates guts and gumption. In a whirlwind, with no previous experience, she started a bar that has become an intimate entertainment destination. She has also leapt into a leadership role by becoming President of the Manuka Business Association with the intention of reinvigorating the Manuka precinct.
Outstanding Community Spirit
Jenni Tarrant, Bond Hair Religion
Jenni exemplifies spirit and contribution. She overcame her own experience of child abuse and has transformed her life and others as a result. Her business is a regular sponsor for many charities that focus on supporting abuse victims. She walked the Kokoda track in 2013 for Bravehearts, raising $15,000, and Kilimanjaro is her next target.
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Ian Meikle, editor