Educators and online business creators finalists in NSW women's awards

Media Release, 08 October 2015

Leading educators, Defence Force personnel and women in the vanguard of starting up online businesses are among 28 finalists for the 2015 Telstra NSW Business Women’s Awards.

Among the educators named today as finalists are:

  • The University of Technology Sydney’s Professor of Midwifery Maralyn Foureur, who leads a team of midwives preparing graduates to care for women during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. Professor Foureur set up Australia’s first independent midwifery practice in Newcastle in 1984 and is regarded as a world leader in researching birth unit design and its impact on childbearing women and families and the quality and safety of maternity care provided by midwives.
  • Lieutenant Commander Christina Michelle Ween, whose 22-year Royal Australian Navy career includes operational service in numerous warships and onshore roles including training Maritime Logistics Officers (MLO) and sailors. She returned from maternity leave after having four daughters in six years to win the prestigious appointment of MLO on the amphibious landing ship HMAS Tobruk.
  • Karen Endicott, who is responsible for 70 staff and 500 students as principal of Sarah Redfern High School at Minto in south-western Sydney; and Georgina Prior, co-founder of Wake Up Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that encourages young people to make smarter choices through awareness campaigns and school presentations about safe partying, alcohol misuse, sexual assault and peer pressure.

Finalists who launched online businesses in the past three years include:

  • Irene Falcone, who founded Nourished Life, an online store based at Frenchs Forest that sells organic skin care, natural makeup and healthy living products to women who want to reduce toxins in their life.
  • Zoe Pointon, co-founder and co-CEO of, a free online real estate agent ranking and reviews platform that compares more than 40,000 real estate agents based on more than a million sales transactions and 10,000 customer reviews.
  • Kath Purkis, who turned her passion for new technologies into Her Fashion Box, an online fashion subscription business that exports to New Zealand, Europe and the US, from a Sydney-based warehouse.

Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Kate McKenzie, said New South Wales 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 New South Wales 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.”

The 28 finalists join Awards Alumni including Mirvac CEO Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz, Margaret Bowen, CEO of The Disability Trust in Wollongong, Anni Brownjohn, CEO of The Right Food Group in Murwillumbah, Dr Jennifer Wray, of Narooma’s Lighthouse Surgery, and Audette Exel, founder and chair of The Adara Group in Rozelle.

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 New South Wales 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 New South Wales Business Women’s Awards are:

Start-up Award
Sarah Beckwith, Doctus West, Gosford
Irene Falcone, Nourished Life, Frenchs Forest
Zoe Pointon,, Bondi Junction
Jasmin Romic, Paperwork Central Pty Ltd, Baulkham Hills
Karen Taylor-Brown, Refraction Media, Chippendale

Emma Bannister, Presentation Studio, Sydney CBD
Terri Janke, Terri Janke and Company, Sydney
Sheridan Lee, Shed Enterprises, Sydney CBD
Naomi Whitfeld, iKOU, Blue Mountains

For Purpose and Social Enterprise
Libby Davies, White Ribbon Australia, North Sydney
Lyn Lewis-Smith, Business Events Sydney, Sydney
Nicola Stokes, Special Olympics Australia, Sydney
Cate Sydes, Marist Youth Care, Blacktown

Government and Academia
Shumaila Ali, Australian Institute of Professional Education, Sydney
Karen Endicott, Sarah Redfern High School, Minto
Professor Maralyn Foureur, University of Technology Sydney, Ultimo
Captain Mona Shindy, Royal Australian Navy, Sydney
Lieutenant Commander Christina Michelle, Ween Royal Australian Navy, Sydney

Corporate and Private
Michelle Cox, Bastion Group, Surry Hills
Penny Diamantakiou, Yahoo7, Millers Point
Alison Flemming, Scentre Limited, Sydney
Jo Gaines, Krux Digital Inc, Surry Hills
Kerrie-Anne Turner, StayinFront Group Australia Pty Ltd, Macquarie Park

Young Business Women’s Award
Sarah Beckwith, Doctus West, Gosford
Felicity Beutler, Sugar Bee Cakes, Five Dock
Gen George, OneShift, Sydney
Georgina Prior, Wake Up Foundation, Lindfield
Kath Purkis, Her Fashion Box, Surry Hills
Lindsay Rogers, Chello, Surry Hills

Winners of the 2015 Telstra NSW Business Women’s Awards will be announced on Tuesday 27 October in Sydney. The NSW winners proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on Wednesday 18 November.

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