Media Release, 21 October 2014

Assistant Commissioner Adams was presented with her award by the Honourable Jaquie Petrusma MP, Minister for Women and Minister for Community Service, at the 20th Telstra Tasmanian Business Women's Awards held at Hobart’s Hotel Grand Chancellor.

After joining the Tasmania Police at aged 19, she has worked in uniform, criminal investigation, training and internal investigations before being appointed as Assistant Commissioner in 2011.

During her 26-year career, she received a Commissioner's Commendation for her work after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre; has been awarded an Australian Police Medal for Distinguished Service; received a Tasmania Police Service Medal for diligent and ethical service; and she was recognised by the Australasian Council of Women in Policing as an outstanding investigator.

Tonight Assistant Commissioner Adams also won the Community & Government and Business Innovation Awards. The Business Innovation Award recognised her work championing a strategy to support frontline police in budget-constrained times through the introduction of mobile data tablets on the beat.

She says: “The early success and unlimited potential for these devices has been recognised by other police jurisdictions who have examined the Tasmania model.”

Committed to the challenge of inspiring more women to senior positions in Tasmania Police, she says: “I often listen to junior female officers talking about the difficulties they experience when competing for opportunities or promotion - for example, having a career gap because of maternity leave, juggling shift work while raising young children and the cultural issues associated with working in a male-dominated profession.

“These perceived barriers are all issues I previously encountered and successfully overcame. Hopefully through my success other women will feel empowered to face the challenges so they can also achieve great things.”

Other 2014 winners include Dixie Emmerton, founder of the Centre for Tasmanian Industry who took out the Business Owner Award, and Allison Clark, General Manager of Marketing at Cambridge-based, family agribusiness Houston’s Farm, who was named Private & Corporate Award winner.

Rebecca Owens, who established babywear business Mizzle in 2010, 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 Tasmanian 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 Assistant Commissioner Adams ability to overcome hierarchical structures that can stifle innovation was testament to her positive attitude and outstanding leadership.

“The Telstra Awards judges said Donna identified, developed and implemented technologies and strategies that are unique in Australia, sought after by other agencies interstate and abroad, and which save Tasmania Police millions of dollars.

“Her leadership is very inclusive and collaborative and she believes uniform and public servants to have equal status. Her innovation was initiated out of the adversity of funding cuts,” she said.

Previous Telstra Awards winners in Tasmania include Laura McBain, CEO of baby formula producer and exporter Bellamy’s Organic, former Ashgrove Cheeses Managing Director and current ABC Director Jane Bennett, and leading Tasmanian media executive Fiona Reynolds.

The Tasmanian 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 Tasmanian Business Woman of the Year
Assistant Commissioner Donna Adams, Tasmania Police, Hobart

Business Owner Award
Dixie Emmerton, Centre for Tasmanian Industry, Bellerive

Dixie Emmerton managed complex workers compensation claims and rehabilitation, Fair Work Ombudsman complaints, grievances and safety for the Australian Trade Commission and performed a variety of Human Resources and industrial relations roles before launching the Centre for Tasmanian Industry (CTI) in 2009. CTI has been set-up as a one-stop-shop for businesses, providing decision-makers with extensive services, a confidential relationship and 24/7 assistance. The Telstra Awards judges said Ms Emmerton had discovered a niche market and turned it into a success. They praised her high business ethics and her achievement in building the business by providing value-add secretariat services to industry associations and human resources groups.

Private & Corporate Sector Award
Allison Clark, Houston’s Farm, Cambridge

In 10 years, Allison Clark moved from being a food safety consultant to General Manager of Marketing for family agribusiness Houston’s Farm. She is a key player in its evolution into a business that developed four ready-to-eat salad products, processed in Tasmania and Queensland,that are now supplied to more than 1400 supermarkets. She says, “If younger people see how energised farmers can be through smarter ways of doing business, then they will see that it can be a rewarding career providing an excellent lifestyle.” The Telstra Awards judges said Ms Clark drove the restructure of the Houston’s Farm business to increase its profitability. She has effectively managed a change of balance between the business and retailers, and negotiations with two major clients.

Community & Government Award
Assistant Commissioner Donna Adams, Tasmania Police, Hobart

Business Innovation Award
Assistant Commissioner Donna Adams, Tasmania Police, Hobart

Young Business Women’s Award
Rebecca Owens, Mizzle, Hobart

Inspired by her parents, fifth-generation fruit-growers, and with personal experience as a financial planner, Rebecca Owens’ entry into running a business was opening a Howards Storage World franchise in 2006. It set her up for her next venture in 2010, babywear business Mizzle, which was prompted by her own experience as a new parent. It’s now a wholesale and online business that designs, imports and distributes a range of quality clothing, gifts and accessories for babies. The Telstra Awards judges described Ms Owens as a proven and skilled business woman who transitioned from a lucrative franchise to Managing Director of a successful start-up. She has strong communications and a passion for providing quality products at an affordable price.

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