Media Release, 08 October 2014

Leaders from a diverse range of ACT businesses, government and non-government agencies were today named among 20 finalists for the 2014 Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

They include Vanessa Little, Director of Libraries ACT and a passionate advocate of public libraries as democratic resources for lifelong learning, self-education, literacy and technology.

Inspired by the digital possibilities for libraries, Ms Little says: “Libraries are where the socially isolated come and are included. We are the safety net for access to technology and the internet. There is also something special about the first time a parent brings their child to the library to introduce them to stories, ideas, and language.”

Other finalists from the Community and Government Sector include disability activist Christina Ryan, who is the General Manager of Advocacy for Inclusion and has also represented Women with Disabilities Australia at the United Nations; and Jan Mason, a Department of Finance Deputy Secretary who heads its Business, Procurement and Asset Management Group and leads high-profile commercial issues like the sale of Medibank Private.

The 2014 finalists join a prestigious list of ACT Awards winners including Rear Admiral Dr Robyn Walker, Commander Joint Health and Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Forces; ACT Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs; and Julia Newton-Howes, CEO of international aid agency CARE Australia.

Business owners named as finalists include Jillian Hart, who runs events management specialists Show Pony Events Australia, and who earlier in her career, during her time in the Royal Australian Navy, was responsible for the coordination of national events including the HMAS Sydney II memorial services.

Other finalists include Gail Morgan, CEO of Osteoporosis Australia; Samantha Kourtis, managing partner of Capital Chemist Charnwood; and Alison Bailey, who runs 38 classes a week as owner of her business Dare to Dance Canberra.

Kate McKenzie, Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador said: “The diversity of our 2014 ACT finalists shines a light on Australian business women whose innovations and leadership are changing the industries and communities around them.

“As the longest standing national business awards program for women in Australia, the Awards have uncovered stories of amazing business women at all stages in their careers.

“The 2014 ACT finalists join a long list of incredible alumni who have inspired us with their individual achievements, and done so much collectively for the promotion of women in the Australian business world,” she said.

As a partner of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, Vanessa Nolan-Woods, General Manager of Commonwealth Bank’s Women in Focus network, said: “For 20 years, the Telstra Business Women Awards have provided a high profile platform that celebrates the achievements of successful women. The Awards create positive role models for other aspiring women.

“Women in Focus is proud of our partnership with the Telstra Awards, and the role we have played together to create a supportive network of women to inspire future trailblazers,” she said.

Winners of the 2014 Telstra ACT Business Women’s Awards will be announced on Tuesday 28 October in Canberra. The ACT winners proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on 26 November.

For finalists across Australia the awards offer a chance to share in $650,000 in cash and prizes.

Finalists for the 2014 Telstra ACT Business Women’s Awards are:

Business Owner Award
Mary-Anne Apps, The Apps Learning Centre, Ainslie and Weston
Tammy Garratt, TG's Hair Studio's, Fyshwick
Karen Groves, Successful Alliances, Deakin
Jillian Hart, Show Pony Events Australia Pty Ltd, Fyshwick
Riana Janse van Rensburg, Riana's Health and Skin Care Clinic, Monash
Laurie McDonald, Canberra Furnished Accommodation, Canberra City

Private and Corporate Sector Award
Samantha Kourtis, Capital Chemist Charnwood, Charnwood
Karen Skinner, Scentre Group, Phillip
Carol Sutton, Codarra Advanced Systems Pty Ltd, Weetangera

Community and Government Award
Margo Andrae, Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation, Barton
Vanessa Little, Libraries ACT Territory and Municipal Services Directorate ACT Government, Lynehan
Jan Mason, Department of Finance, Canberra City
Gail Morgan, Osteoporosis Australia, Curtin
Christina Ryan, Advocacy for Inclusion, Canberra City
Amanda Thomas, Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council, Barton

Business Innovation Award
Tammy Garratt TG's Hair Studio's, Fyshwick
Jillian Hart, Show Pony Events Australia Pty Ltd, Fyshwick
Samantha Kourtis Capital Chemist, Charnwood
Amanda Thomas, Transport & Logistics Industry Skills, Council

Young Business Women’s Award
Fiona Allardyce, Hamper Art, Fyshwick
Alison Bailey, Dare to Dance, Canberra Holder
Sally-Anne Clark, Australian Government ACT, Canberra City
Jane-Rose Naylor, Jamison Flowers, Macquarie
Jennifer Wyborn, Clayton Utz (formerly of Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers), Canberra City

More information on the Telstra Business Women’s Awards can be found at