Media Release, 30 October 2014

A woman who established a national model for community pharmacies extending their services beyond traditional medicine dispensing was named tonight the Telstra Australian Capital Territory Business Woman of the Year.

Samantha Kourtis, Managing Partner at Capital Chemist Charnwood, also won the Private and Corporate Sector Award and the Business Innovation Award at the 20th Telstra ACT Business Women's Awards held at QT Canberra.

A long-held interest in wound management and her identification of local healthcare service needs led Ms Kourtis to introduce a medical compression garment clinic within the pharmacy that she has managed since 2013.

Encouraged by the head of Calvary Hospital’s Lymphoedema Services, Ms Kourtis undertook appropriate training to deliver an alternative to the long waiting times for patients needing lymphoedema (swelling in the arms and legs) garments fitted at the local public clinic and at other healthcare providers.

In its first year of opening, the Charnwood pharmacy’s clinic has improved the health outcomes for more than 550 patients with circulation problems and diabetes from as far away as Cooma, Bega and Gundagai. It has also increased the pharmacy’s front-of-shop profit.

Ms Kourtis, the only pharmacist in the ACT region to have allied health referral rights, and her team were recognised by being named the Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s 2014 pharmacy of the year.

She says: “My success has been created by my ability to share my passion of community and healthcare with my team and by surrounding myself with people who are equally committed and excited about making a difference in these areas.”

A believer in making the pharmacist accessible to the customer, she added: “Now my pharmacists are out of the dispensary and engaging with the customer, I am starting to see incredible results with financial growth and customer satisfaction.”

Throughout her career, Ms Kourtis has taken on mentoring roles, lecturing, tutoring and examining students on behalf of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Board of Australia and universities.

Other 2014 winners include Jan Mason, Deputy Secretary, Business, Procurement and Asset Management at the Department of Finance and currently chair of the steering committee for the Medibank sale, who was named the Community and Government Award winner.

Ms Mason, who says the breadth of her responsibilities is both daunting and rewarding, has extensive experience at senior levels in the Australian Public Service, including involvement in the sale of Telstra, and in investment banking in the private sector.

Tammy Garratt, of TG’s Hair Studio in Fyshwick, took out the Business Owner Award while Jennifer Wyborn, an employment and industrial relations lawyer at Clayton Utz, won the Young Business Women’s Award.

Kate McKenzie, Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, said:
“As I reflect on the achievements of the amazing women that have won these Awards over the past 20 years, I am confident that the 2014 Australian Capital Territory winners will continue to inspire the next generation.

“They embody what it means to be a Telstra Business Woman’s Award winner - courageous, confident and innovative.”

Ms McKenzie said Ms Kourtis was recognised for demonstrating strong business acumen and for her vision to expand her pharmacy business, its execution and the success of her new lymphoedema clinic.

“The judges praised her successful focus on staff development and her passion for community engagement and collaborating with stakeholders in the public and private healthcare system.”

Previous Telstra Awards winners in the ACT include Dr Julia Newton-Howes, CEO of CARE Australia; ACT Human Rights Commissioner Dr Helen Watchirs; and Rear Admiral Dr Robyn Walker, Commander Joint Health and Surgeon General of the Australian Defence Forces.

The Australian Capital Territory winners proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on 26 November. For finalists and winners across Australia the awards offer a share in $650,000 in cash and prizes.

2014 Telstra Australian Capital Territory Business Woman of the Year

Samantha Kourtis Capital Chemist Charnwood Charnwood

Business Owner Award
Tammy Garratt TG’s Hair Studio Fyshwick

Tammy Garratt established her first hair salon at 19 and today owns three salons operating under one umbrella. TG's Fyshwick is the flagship store, while TG's on the Park in Jerrabomberra primarily caters to families. TG's Hair and Body in Civic is the culmination of Tammy’s desire to provide a one-stop shop for complete personal grooming. She cares strongly about developing her staff to become excellent hairstylists and business-savvy professionals. She has maintained a high percentage of long-term employees and ensures all staff engage in professional development every eight weeks. The Telstra Awards judges described Ms Garratt as a forward-thinking mentor who drives staff development and a passionate business woman who uses technology and analytics to make business decisions.

Private & Corporate Sector Award

Samantha Kourtis Capital Chemist Charnwood Charnwood

Community & Government Award
Jan Mason Department of Finance Canberra City

Jan Mason is one of four deputy secretaries in the Department of Finance. She has developed a vision for the Business, Procurement and Asset Management Group and is proud to be working at the interface between the public and private sectors, leading high-profile commercial issues such as the sale of Medibank Private, oversight of major Government Business Enterprises and preparation of scoping studies for future asset sales. The Telstra Awards judges said Ms Mason was a senior executive who has spanned the community, private and public sector and been responsible for very significant, diverse, specialised and complex programs. She has strong leadership capabilities with great interpersonal skills and exemplifies public service performance. Ms Mason has achieved outstanding business results, operating with integrity, probity and accountability.

Business Innovation Award
Samantha Kourtis Capital Chemist Charnwood Charnwood

Young Business Women’s Award
Jennifer Wyborn Clayton Utz (formerly of Canberra Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers)

Fairness and justice were always critical drivers for Jennifer Wyborn. Admitted as a lawyer in 2004, she’s held a variety of roles in the public and private sectors. Formerly leading the Employment, Industrial Relations and Safety practice at Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers, Ms Wyborn recently moved to a new role at Clayton Utz. In 2006, she chose to specialise in employment law because of the way the employment relationship critically influences people's lives. Clients included large government departments, leading Canberra businesses and executive employees either entering or exiting the workforce. The Telstra Awards judges said Ms Wyborn exhibited exceptionally strong professional behaviour and values, proven results of high achievement and highly developed leadership and communication skills.

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