From yachts to castles, Tasmanias top business woman recognised for entrepreneurship

Media Release, 19 October 2015

Beth Mathison, who first began her career managing a yacht charter business in Malacca and once ran a historic Scotland castle was tonight named the 2015 Telstra Tasmania Business Woman of the Year.

A business consultant of more than 35 years management experience Ms Mathison returned to Tasmania in 2003 and started her Hobart-based consultancy, Centaur Business Networks Pty Ltd.

This, along with corporate work as a consultant and business development manager at KPMG, has given her the expertise to provide strategic advice to her current base of more than 60 clients across many facets of business; including project management, financial forecasting, strategic management, marketing, human resources, change management and corporate governance.

Ms Mathison also won the Entrepreneur Award at the 21st annual Telstra Tasmania Business Women’s Awards at Princes Wharf this evening.

A self-described ‘people person’, Ms Mathison’s biggest joy is to see the positive impact her mentoring has on her clients.

“I believe in trusting employees and I mentor managers to delegate and develop trust so that everyone is working toward the same goals,” she said.

“My biggest thrill is when I see my mentoring ‘click’ and everything falls into place. That’s when I know I can leave the business and it will be in good hands.”

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

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

Ms McKenzie said Ms Mathison’s long-standing contribution to local businesses resonated with the Telstra Awards judges.

“Beth has significant experience in business consulting, especially in the tourism sector. She has great leadership skills which coupled with her integrity and personal values, has seen her play a pivotal role in the business strategy for some of Tasmania’s leading business success stories.”

The Telstra Tasmania Business Women’s Awards category winners include Karen Burbury (Start-Up Award), General Manager of Cataract on Paterson, a highly successful Launceston restaurant, and Susan Fahey (For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award), Managing Director of Women’s Legal Services Tasmania (WLST), who played a role in the award-winning; the largest legal information site and app in Australia.

Jenny Self, Business Manager of The Hutchins School, won the Government and Academia Award; the Young Business Women’s Award was picked up by dedicated runner and orienteer Hanny Allston of Find your Feet; and Naomi Walsh, Corporate Services and Finance manager of Launceston-based civil construction business Venarchie Consulting won the Corporate and Private Award.

The Tasmania winners will proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on Wednesday 18 November. Further information about the winners can be found below.

2015 Telstra Tasmania Business Woman of the Year
Beth Mathison, Centaur Business Networks Pty Ltd

Start-Up Award
Karen Burbury, Cataract on Paterson, Launceston
Karen Burbury’s highly successful Launceston restaurant, Cataract on Paterson focuses on using seasonal produce and supporting local producers wherever possible. As General Manager, Karen oversees the business, focusing on team motivation and mentoring. One of Karen’s overarching business objectives is to acknowledge the community that supports her by coordinating events for local charities and even providing some of her own profit to support local charities. The Telstra judges were impressed with Karen’s tremendous resolve to make her business succeed and her leadership within her local community.

Entrepreneur Award
Beth Mathison, Centaur Business Networks Pty Ltd, Hobart

For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award

Susan Fahey, Women’s Legal Service Tasmania
Susan Fahey has managed the Women’s Legal Service Tasmania (WLS) service since 2007. Admitted as a barrister and solicitor in 1999, Susan moved from private practice family law before moving to the WLS. Through her position as an employer and mentor, Susan encourages the notion that lawyers don’t just work within the confines of the law, but also have the ability to empower the wider community. As CEO and principal solicitor, Susan helped the WLS produce the award-winning; the largest legal information site and app in Australia. Susan’s commitment to assisting vulnerable and at risk women and their families struck a chord with the Telstra judges.

Government and Academia Award
Jenny Self, The Hutchins School, Sandy Bay
Established in 1846, The Hutchins School is an Anglican day and boarding school for boys, and is one Australia’s oldest schools. As business manager Jenny Self has influence on all executive-level decisions made at the school. Reporting to the Headmaster and the School Board, her duties include strategy, financial resources, administrative support, maintenance and building projects. Jenny has been instrumental in resolving a number of complicated issues for the school and installing a doors-open and transparent approach to leadership within the organisation. The judges said Ms Self demonstrated commitment to engineering fundamental organisational change.

Corporate and Private Award
Naomi Walsh, Venarchie Contracting, Launceston
Naomi Walsh heads an all-female finance and administration team at fast-growing Venarchie Contracting, a privately-owned civil construction business. As corporate services and finance manager, Naomi is responsible for financial and administration, corporate compliance, risk management, and HR as well as a number of other ad hoc functions. A role model for women in this traditionally male-dominated sector, Naomi has actively encouraged flexible working arrangements for her team and is the first woman on the board of the Civil Contractors Foundation (Tasmania). The Telstra judges felt Naomi’s pro-active engagement and advocacy for women within her community made her Award-worthy.

Young Business Women’s Award
Hanny Allston, Find Your Feet, Hobart
Endurance runner Hanny Allston turned her sporting success into a business idea, launching Find Your Feet in 2009, where she coaches and mentors runners around Australia and hosts running tours. In 2014 Hanny opened the Find Your Feet retail store in Hobart with partner Graham Hammond. Hanny started running at 15 years old, finishing her first marathon at 21, and has since completed events in 25 countries. Hanny is a proud Tasmanian who at the age of 20, in 2006, made history as the first Australian to win gold at the World Orienteering Championships and was an Olympic torch bearer in 2000. Hanny’s potential to continue growing as an entrepreneur and her strong communication skills made her stand out in this category for the judges.

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