I have a long and beautiful relationship with these Awards having played many roles, from event committee member, event manager, MC, Judging Chair and even a finalist. This year the role of President was different for me as the usual busyness of keeping the night running gave way to being able to sit and really take in each moment, each story and each speech that culminated in such an extraordinarily special night. To think that for 22 years this network has shown so many women how their contribution to the world matters, and has provided them with the confidence, inspiration and motivation to continue to reach for new heights (or at least celebrate the ones they have already reached) is truly humbling. I literally beamed with pride as each finalist took to stage and felt the enormity of what this network contributes in continuing to deliver over and above in celebrating and empowering women to achieve in business.
So many people go into making this whole Awards process possible and I thanked them all on the evening, however I would like to take this opportunity again to acknowledge and thank the 2021 Judging Chair, Michelle Hamer. Michelle has been a critical part of the long standing awards history and is the one of the key reasons these awards still hold such integrity and esteem in the community. Michelle resumed the role of Judging Chair this year and committed over and beyond to the role in a year that was anything but normal. She carried our nominees, finalists and judges through the extraordinary COVID impacted events with finesse and care (and held the secret of who was taking home the trophy for six weeks longer than planned due to COVID lockdown). Thank you Michelle for all that you have brought to these awards and to the lives you have changed by facilitating these awards over the years.
Each year we add six names to the Winners Alumni and this year we were treated with the most eloquent speech from our outgoing Outstanding Business Woman, Frances Cayley. She so beautifully described the impact of the 320 members of this network as the ‘putty’ who fixes the leaks in each of our buckets that are created from stress, competing priorities, self-doubt, imposter syndrome … and the list goes on. She captured in two minutes just how being involved with SCBWN and the awards process can have a powerful and long lasting impact on your life and your friendship circle, all of which I can personally attest to. She was joined by Feda Adra (2019 Professional BWoY), Jade Law (2019 Young BWoY), Natalie Tink (2019 Micro Small BWoY), Heidi Walker (2019 Corporate BWoY) and Kelly Lavery (2019 Sustainable BWoY) in handing over their trophies to the 2021 Award Recipients. Thank you to these beautiful ambassadors of our awards process who got to hold their title for two years. We will not be letting you go anywhere as we continue to celebrate your successes, and support you through your struggles.
Whilst the glitz and glamour of the occasion is fun in itself, my favourite outcome from the process is hearing how many new friendships are formed, new business contacts are made and how each of the finalists support each other each step of the way. There are many many examples over the years where these awards were the impetus for life changing events and true and long lasting friendships formed. I wish that too for our 2021 finalists, who all should be so proud of their achievements.
I'm feeling like the proudest person on the Sunshine Coast that I get to steer this ship, alongside the most extraordinary committee a President could ever wish for. I am excited to share the stories of our 2021 Award Recipients over and over and shine a spotlight they so greatly deserve, and mostly I can’t wait to see how these awards have powered life changes that may not have been dreamt of before this year’s finalists put themselves through the self-analysis that the SCBWN Awards process requires.
Stay calm, stay strong, stay supported.
Professional Business Woman of the Year – Ayllie White, Whitelight Communications - sponsored by Pacific Motor Group
Micro Small Business Woman of the Year – Roxanne McCarty-O’Kane, Roxanne McCarty-O'Kane - Writer - sponsored by University of the Sunshine Coast
Corporate Business Woman of the Year – Sally Doran, Infectious Clothing Company - sponsored by The Events Centre, Caloundra
Sustainable Business Woman of the Year – Ami Bateman, Pleasant State - sponsored by Sunshine Coast Council
Young Business Woman of the Year – Elise Jione, Thompson Institute - sponsored by Home Care Assistance Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay
Outstanding Business Woman of the Year – Emma Greenhatch, Food Agribusiness Network
sponsored by Garland Waddington Solicitors
View more photos of the 21st Annual Awards Gala on our Facebook page.