A mind for business delivers national award win for Queensland CEO

Media Release, 22 November 2012

The CEO of a Brisbane-based business that applies psychology to safety, wellbeing, organisational and leadership performance to help companies realise their full potential has won a top national business award.

Chandra Clements, 34, of Sentis was named winner of the marie claire Young Business Women’s Award at the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards in Sydney tonight.

Ms Clements has been the head of Sentis since 2010, where she leads 90 staff, operating in 22 countries delivering services to more than 66,000 people across the globe. With clients in the mining, construction, oil and gas sectors, the company boasts three Australian offices and one in the US, with plans to open further centres in South Africa and Peru.

The accountant turned psychologist’s earlier career spanned education, retail, mining, construction and distribution for organisations as diverse as Rio Tinto, Fluor and OPSM.

During her tenure, she has turned around the financials and culture at Sentis and the business has earned a top 50 ranking in BRW’s Great Places to Work for three consecutive years. In addition, the company has experienced a 33 per cent uplift in revenue and a 230 per cent increase to its profit line.

Ms Clements said Sentis specialised in teaching people how to use their brains – “their greatest asset” – to improve workplace safety and productivity. She said her inspiration was to unlock human potential around the globe and to teach people they were capable of much more than they ever thought possible.

The Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year title was awarded to Carolyn Creswell, Managing Director of Victorian health food company Carman’s Fine Foods who was named. Others recognised on the evening included. Other Awards winners are Cynthia Whelan, CEO for Australia and NZ of Barclays Bank, Sandy Pitcher, Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in SA and Maureen Clifford, founder of Melbourne IT consultancy Ndevr Pty Ltd.

Kate McKenzie, Telstra Group Managing Director for Innovation, Products and Marketing and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, said the judging this year was more difficult than ever given the calibre of exceptional, courageous and innovative women many of whom were shaping Australia’s business landscape and the nation’s future.

“In choosing Ms Clements as the marie claire Young Business Women’s Award winner, the judges said she had an intuitive ability to manage people and exceptional communications skills combined with passion, innovation and strategic thinking,” Ms McKenzie said.

Jackie Frank, Editor and Publisher of marie claire said: marie claire has always championed innovation and leadership and we encourage our readers to make a difference.
“As a sponsor of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards for the fourth year running, I am pleased to congratulate this year’s Young Business Women’s Award winner Chandra Clements .We look forward to sharing Chandra’s story which will inspire other women to pursue their passions and fully realise their strengths and talents.”

Winners of the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Women’s Awards are:

Telstra Business Woman of the Year and Commonwealth Bank Business Owner Award
Carolyn Creswell - Carman’s Fine Foods,VIC

As founder and Managing Director of Cheltenham-based Carman’s Fine Foods, Carolyn Creswell has grown the company into a leading health food brand that stocks the country’s major and independent supermarkets and airlines. The company’s product range now includes muesli, muesli bars, porridge and muesli biscuits and is exported to 32 countries including Singapore, the UK and the US. It supports Australian farmers and companies by using home-grown ingredients and local packaging suppliers.
Judges said Ms Creswell demonstrated solid business integrity, a strong growth vision and a solid understanding of her critical business parameters while possessing a great work-life balance.

Hudson Private and Corporate Sector Award
Cynthia Whelan - Barclays Bank PLC, NSW

Cynthia Whelan worked with industry giants Merrill Lynch and UBS before joining Barclays in 2004 where she established the institution’s debt capital market business in Australia before heading up the regional division in Hong Kong. The aspiring ballet student turned finance expert returned from Asia in 2009 and in 2011 was appointed CEO for Australia and New Zealand. Judges said Ms Whelan possessed a high level of poise and self awareness and demonstrated both a willingness and ability to break from the pack. She  was described as a high achiever in a male-dominated field of investment banking.

White Pages® Community & Government Award
Sandy Pitcher - Department of the Premier and Cabinet, SA

Following senior public sector roles in Australian, UK and South Australian governments, Sandy Pitcher was appointed Deputy Chief Executive for the SA Department of the Premier and Cabinet in 2010. She provides high-level advice to the Premier and Cabinet about community well-being and economic prosperity and leads national reform work on behalf of SA. Judges said Ms Pitcher demonstrated extraordinary vision in translating ideas of diverse stakeholders into real actions. They commended her ability to address the heart of major community issues.

Nokia Business Innovation Award
Maureen Clifford - Ndevr Pty Ltd, VIC

After working as an accountant for Fisher and Paykel, Maureen Clifford established Melbourne-based IT consultancy Ndevr Pty Ltd (pronounced Endeavor). In 2011, the Ndevr CEO started an Environmental Consulting Division to perform carbon and energy audits, assurance and other strategy consulting for businesses. Its carbon reporting software was acquired by Oracle Corporation and the company is now a certified partner of the global software giant. Judges said Ms Clifford epitomised the ‘quiet achiever’ with deep business acumen and commended her on being highly innovative and inventive in a contentious field.

marie claire Young Business Women’s Award
Chandra Clements - Sentis, QLD

Winners of the Awards receive a share of more than $200,000 in cash and prizes and become part of an exclusive national business alumni.

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