QSuper CEO Rosemary Vilgan Is Australian Business Woman Of The Year

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

Business Owner Award
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.

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.

Winners of the Awards will share in a total prize pool of $200,000 thanks to Telstra and CommBank’s Women in Focus. All finalists will also become part of an exclusive national business alumni.

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

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Robelen Bajar

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