CEO of leading not-for-profit wins Western Australia's Business Woman of the Year

Media Release, 12 October 2015

A Perth businesswoman at the helm of a not-for-profit providing alcohol and drug counselling and support programs has been named 2015 Telstra Western Australia Business Woman of the Year.

Angie Paskevicius, CEO of Holyoake, is responsible for leading the strategic direction, overall operations and business performance of the organisation.

At the time of Ms Paskevicius’ appointment in 2007, Holyoake was well regarded in the community but struggling financially. Ms Paskevicius lead the development of a new strategic plan, recruited a team of talented and passionate people and went on to develop two social enterprises, DRUMBEAT and Wellbeing@Work, ensuring Holyoake is now less reliant on government funding.

Ms Paskevicius was also awarded the For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award at the 21st annual Telstra Western Australia Business Women’s Awards, which were attended by The Hon Elizabeth Behjat MLC, Member for the North Metropolitan at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre this evening.

A strong and nurturing team leader, Ms Paskevicius said the key to her success is a willingness to give back to her workplace and community and learn from those around her.

“I’m a great listener and love giving back through my coaching and mentoring. I love what I do as it gives me the opportunity to help develop people to achieve their potential, as well as my own personal purpose in life.”

Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Award Ambassador, Kate McKenzie, said Ms Paskevicius and all the Western Australia winners had achieved impressive results in their respective areas of business.

“The 2015 Western Australia winners are brilliant business women who are passionate, courageous and are willing to challenge the accepted way of doing things.”

Ms McKenzie said the Telstra Awards judges made particular reference to the remarkable transformation Ms Paskevicius has driven during her time with the organisation.

“Angie took the reins at Holyoake at a time when they hadn't had a CEO for two years. She managed to change the mindset of the organisation from 'charity' to 'enterprise' by moving from 100 per cent government funding to a more diverse funding and revenue model.”

Tonight’s Telstra Western Australia Business Women’s Awards winners come from an array of backgrounds as diverse as mining, beauty and medicine.

This year’s winners include Dr April Armstrong, who received the Start Up Award for her work running Collins Street Surgery, a 5000 patient-strong practice in Kalgoorlie; while the Corporate and Private Award went to Jessica Barber of BHP Billiton, who as the first female Mining Manager at the Mt Whaleback Mine heads up a team of more than 350 employees and 250 contractors.

CEO for City of Kwinana, Joanne Abbiss took home the Government and Academia Award, Phyllis Narula, who runs nine child care centres across Perth won the Entrepreneur Award, and the Young Business Women’s Award went to Kim Tran of La Belle Peau Skincare Clinic.

The Western Australia winners will proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on Wednesday 18 November.

2015 Telstra Western Australia Business Woman of the Year
Angie Paskevicius, Holyoake, Perth

Start Up Award
Dr April Armstrong, Collins Street Surgery, Kalgoorlie
Managing Director of Collins Street Surgery, Dr April Armstrong oversees the wellbeing of a 5000 patient strong practice with more than 200 pregnant patients. This all-encompassing practise gives rural patients access to a variety of medical services under one roof. Dr Armstrong has recently purchased a second practice in neighbouring Mandurah. The Telstra Awards judges said Dr Armstrong was forced to think outside the square to entice more practitioners to regional WA and to handle increased patient loads without compromising the quality of their medical services.

Entrepreneur Award
Phyllis Narula, Narula Enterprises Pty Ltd, Perth
In 2006 when Phyllis Narula struggled to find adequate child care after the birth of her first child, she decided to open her own: Little Peoples Place. In nine years this mother of three has grown Little Peoples Place from that first East Fremantle location to nine others under the Narula Enterprises umbrella. The centres employ more than 100 people and care for more than 1000 children. The Telstra judges were impressed by Ms Narula’s team mentality and innovative approach to child care.
For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award
Angie Paskevicius, Holyoake, Perth

Government and Academia
Joanne Abbiss, City of Kwinana, Perth
A career public sector CEO, Joanne Abbiss has spent the past decade at the helm of some of Australia’s fastest growing local governments. In this time Ms Abbiss has assisted in the planning and building of new cities and lead hundreds of staff through complex transformations. Her current role at the City of Kwinana sees her juggling the delivery of major capital infrastructure and facilities, while managing the challenges of socio-economic disadvantage in today’s community. The judges were impressed by the way in which Ms Abbiss has successfully navigated these challenges in planning for future communities.

Corporate and Private Award
Jessica Barber, BHP Billiton, Pilbara
In 2011 at just 29, Jessica Barber was appointed BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s first female Mining Manager at its Mt Whaleback Mine in the Pilbara. Under her leadership the culture of the team of more than 350 employees and 250 contractors was changed to one of high performance. Her management skills were recognised last year when she was chosen as one of a small team of Business Transformation Leaders whose coaching of management teams in cost reduction extracted 29 per cent of recurrent costs while continuing to increase production. When challenged to transform the operations of her workplace, the Awards judges said Ms Barber increased focus on cost without ever compromising on safety. They said she transformed the business to best in class by engaging employees, eliminating waste and removing inefficiency.

Young Business Women’s Award
Kim Tran, La Belle Peau Skincare Clinic, Perth
Ms Tran opened her North Perth skin and beauty clinic in 2007 at the age of 19, only a year after she was named Student of the Year in Dermal Science at Curtin University. As Managing Director of La Belle Peau Skincare Clinic, she runs a business offering clients cosmeceutical skincare, paramedical skin treatments and beauty treatments. Ms Tran’s commitment to assisting others to develop their self-confidence was a standout factor for the judges.

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