Awards recognise Victorian women heading manufacturing businesses

Media Release, 25 September 2015

Leaders from a range of manufacturing businesses and others managing services for women’s health and safety are among 29 finalists for the 2015 Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Awards.

Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Kate McKenzie, said Victorian business women were excelling in a broad range of sectors.

“Now in their 21st year, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards not only celebrate women who have the courage to start their own business and lead their industries, but also offer them a platform to encourage others to challenge the status quo and think differently,” Ms McKenzie said.

“The 2015 Victorian finalists join a long list of successful business women, whose unique and innovative approaches to leadership at state and local community levels, and in some cases, globally, continue to impress and inspire the Awards judges.”

Women running manufacturing and construction companies named as finalists include:

  • Russian-born entrepreneur Lyudmila Fishman, who has been making the iconic Ugg Australia sheepskin boots since 1981, and Gabby Montagnese, managing director of fast-growing Epping manufacturer New Age Caravans, who says: “Access to the caravanning lifestyle helps families and couples come closer together and instils the ideals of community back into their lives.”
  • Rosli Reid, who turned a home-based dairy feed manufacturing business into Reid Stockfeeds, one of Australia’s largest privately-owned producers and suppliers of stockfeed, and Caroline Kennedy, CEO of home building company Hotondo Homes, and published author of The Power of WOW - Why Thank You Makes Dollars and Sense.

Other finalists providing advocacy and support services for Victorian women include:

  • Janine Mahoney, CEO and founder of Safe Futures Foundation which provides more than 130,000 nights of accommodation a year for women and children who are homeless due to family violence. She says: “The community must be united in its commitment to give survivors of domestic violence confidence they will be protected and given every opportunity for recovery.”
  • Jeanette Large, CEO of Women’s Property Initiatives, which owns 66 properties that provide safe, secure, affordable rental housing for disadvantaged women and their children, and Rita Butera, executive director of Women’s Health Victoria, a state-wide service that addresses health promotion and prevention in areas of sexual and reproductive health, violence against women, and women and cancer.

Finalists who created apps to enhance their customer experience include Colette McShane, who runs fitness business The HIIT Mum with workout app PT IN MY POCKET, and ex-professional singer Caroline Woodhouse, whose business Where4Events has an app that aggregates entertainment, sporting and event data.

The 29 finalists join Alumni including founder Kate Morris, Harcourts Victoria CEO Sadhana Smiles, Carman’s Fine Foods managing director Carolyn Creswell, Leanne Raven, CEO of SIDS and Kids Australia, and Table of Plenty founder Kate Weiss.

Vanessa Nolan-Woods, General Manager Business & Private Banking and Women in Focus, CommBank, a long-term partner of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, said: “The Victorian Telstra Business Women’s Awards finalists are achieving extraordinary things.

“This is exactly the mandate of Women in Focus – to support women to succeed across diverse industries and become positive role models for other women through connection and collaboration. Women in Focus is proud to support these awards and play a proactive part in encouraging future trailblazers.”

Finalists for the 2015 Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Awards are:

Start-up Award

Christine Khor, Chorus Executive, Melbourne
Colette McShane, The HIIT Mum, Yarraville
Caroline Woodhouse, Where4Events, Hampton

Lyudmila Fishman, Luda Production Pty Ltd & UGG Australia Pty Ltd, Brunswick
Dr Amantha Imber, Inventium, Melbourne
Gabby Montagnese, New Age Caravans, Epping
Rosli Reid, Reid Stockfeeds, South Melbourne
Dr Elizabeth Sigston, SavinGreen, Melbourne
Cyan Ta’eed, Envato, Melbourne

For Purpose and Social Enterprise
Kim-Maree Ashcroft, The Village Baxter, Frankston South
Rita Butera, Women’s Health Victoria, Melbourne
Fabian Dattner Dattner Grant, Eltham
Jeanette Large, Women’s Property Initiatives, Melbourne
Janine Mahoney, Safe Futures Foundation, Croydon
Jean Thomas, Tenkile Conservation, Alliance Don Valley

Government and Academia
Karen Quinlan, Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo
Jerril Rechter, VicHealth, Melbourne
Helen Sui, Moreland City Council, Coburg

Corporate and Private
Cindy Batchelor, NAB, Melbourne
Nicole Devine, NAB, Melbourne
Rohini Kappadath, Pitcher Partners, Melbourne
Caroline Kennedy, Hotondo Homes, Moorabbin
Dr Amanda Sampson, Women’s Ultrasound Melbourne, East Melbourne
Dayle Stevens, NAB, Melbourne

Young Business Women’s Award
Alexandra Anasson, Vision Personal Training, Hawthorn
Ashleigh McInnes, Papermill Media, Prahran
Rebecca McMillan, Gourmet Living, Templestowe
Lucy May Mertens, Lucy May’s Cafe, Korumburra
Alicia Stephenson, The Active Playgroup, Ringwood

Winners of the 2015 Telstra Victorian Business Women’s Awards will be announced on Tuesday 20 October in Melbourne. The Victorian winners proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on 18 November.

For more information on the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and to nominate brilliant business women for the 2016 Awards, visit