The winners of the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s Awards have been announced! Now in its 25th year, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards recognises the most outstanding women who are helping reshape industries and transform the way we do business.
This year, we celebrate another set of inspirational female leaders across Australia for their hard work and dedication to their businesses and communities, and for helping pave the way for the next generation.
Here are the overall winners from each state and territory:
2020 Telstra New South Wales Business Woman of the Year
Sarah Pearce, Deputy Director, Astronomy and Space Science at CSIRO
Also the winner of the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s New South Wales Public Sector & Academia Award and a board member of Astronomy Australia Ltd., Sarah is a pioneering and internationally renowned physicist. She is not only an inspiration to Australians, but the world as well. Her role as Deputy Director of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science aims to deliver world-leading facilities for the international astronomy community and she is currently leading a team of more than 250 astronomers, engineers, technicians, administrative, and outreach staff.
She is an advocate for the “brilliant science” being led in Australia and is also a significant figure on CSIRO’s work on the Square Kilometre Array, which is a $2 billion international collaboration of 13 member nations to build the world’s largest and most advanced radio telescopes in Australia and South Africa. One of her driving forces is her vision of having more successful women in science that girls and young women could look up to. Sarah has also been recognised as one of the country’s leading women in STEM.
2020 Telstra Northern Territory Business Woman of the Year
Bec Hammet, General Manager, SH Build
SH Build was co-founded by Bec with her husband in 2008. As General Manager, she oversees all day-to-day operations, manages budgets, develops strategic plans, meets potential clients, and creates opportunities to improve the business. She is also hands-on in performing audits at remote building sites and completing safety meetings. Her passion and commitment have led her to become a great mentor to her team and ensures that their projects not only benefit their clients but also incorporate improvements that benefit the communities in which they work. Bec is also the winner of the 2020 Telstra Women’s Northern Territory Medium and Large Business Award.
2020 Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year
Jo Thomas, Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director, Metro Arts
Jo started her performance career by leaving Toowoomba for Melbourne and eventually landing an internship with the esteemed Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts, USA, and now the CEO and Creative Director at Metro Arts. She has a colourful career in producing, acting, mentoring, and advocating under her belt, which is her driving force to support and mentor artists to realise their creative potential and help build their careers.
Her passion for culture and the contemporary arts is focused on promoting diversity and supporting all artistic work, especially displaced and underrepresented communities and artist-groups, as well as emergent artforms and artists. In the last three years, Metro Arts have supported more than 800 artists to create 24 new Australian performance works and 58 new exhibitions. Jo is also the winner of the 2020 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s For Purpose & Social Enterprise.
2020 Telstra South Australian Business Woman of the Year
Kerrie Campbell, Chief Information Officer, Flinders University
As CIO at Flinders University, Kerrie manages the institution’s IT systems, including HR, finance, websites and CRM, cybersecurity, and network infrastructure. Also winning the 2020 Telstra South Australian Business Women’s Public Sector & Academia Award, Kerrie is passionate about staff culture and development, and it is her advocacy to connect all departments within the university to IT systems that streamline processes and procedures.
IT is commonly viewed as a complicated and confusing concept and Kerrie’s vision is to make it more relatable by creating an environment where staff can work confidently in partnership with the IT team, rather than as separate entities. With this goal in mind, her effective and authentic leadership style has driven increased accessibility of IT.
2020 Telstra Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year
Margaret Williams, CEO, Medea Park Association
It takes passion, compassion, and empathy to successfully run a residential aged care facility like Medea Park. Starting her nursing career as early as age 18, Margaret, along with her team, has poured her heart and soul in caring for and helping preserve the dignity of their residents. Medea Park is one of St. Helens’s largest employers, and Margaret has continued to ensure that the business’s financial future is secure without compromise on the level of care delivered.
Aside from being CEO at Medea Park, she also gives back to the community through her volunteer work, and for that, she is also the winner for the 2020 Telstra Tasmanian Business Women’s For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award.
2020 Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year
Julie Hirsch, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Eloments Natural Vitamin Tea
It has always been Julie’s advocacy to promote and support ethical and progressive causes, sustainability, and innovation. Before co-founding Eloments, one of the world’s first natural vitamin teas, she was a Deputy Director for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Australia’s largest youth-led NGO, and has also been involved in field campaigns and grassroots fundraising initiatives in the USA.
Julie and her co-founder Nicole Lamond started Eloments Natural Vitamin Tea for people who care about their health and want to have a positive impact on the world. With Fairtrade ingredients sourced from around the world, these teas and spices are blended 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), a world-first innovation.
In only a year, Eloments is being sold in more than 2,000 stores across seven countries. Julie is also the winner of the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s Victorian Emerging Leader Award.
2020 Telstra Western Australian Business Woman of the Year
Jodi Cant, Director General, Department of Finance
As the Director General at the Department of Finance, Jodi’s dedicated work influences Western Australia’s entire public sector and has made her the deserving winner of the 2020 Telstra Business Women’s Western Australian Public Sector & Academia Award.
Her career journey has taken her from economics to marketing and to leading the formation of a joint venture company while working within Landgate. These experiences have inspired her to have a leadership approach that promotes a progressive workplace and to lead a champion team, rather than a team of champions. Jodi currently leads more than 1,000 staff and has spearheaded several innovation initiatives.
Congratulations to these trailblazers and thank you for being an inspiration to all female entrepreneurs and aspiring leaders!