Glazing business owner named Northern Territory's top business woman

Media Release, 05 October 2015

A Darwin businesswoman who pulled her small glazing business back from the brink of insolvency to turn a strong profit has been named 2015 Telstra Northern Territory Business Woman of the Year.

As owner and operator of Easy Glass Services, Mary Linnell leads a team of 11 in consulting, fabricating and installing custom-made glass products for a number clients.

Over the past 13 years Ms Linnell has managed a range of commercial and private projects of varying scales, including a recent two-tower project in Darwin’s CBD. However, in 2012 she faced her biggest challenge when restructuring the business from a partnership to a sole tradership. Through this process Ms Linnell was not only able to avoid bankruptcy, but rebuild the credibility of the business and emerge from the experience with stronger profitability than ever before.

Ms Linnell was also awarded the Entrepreneur Award, at the 21st annual Telstra Northern Territory Business Women’s Awards, which were attended by the Honourable Peter Styles, MP, Minister for Business at the Darwin Convention Centre this evening.

A strong team leader, Ms Linnell says the key to owning a successful business is a combination of surrounding yourself with people who possess a ‘can do’ attitude, and then helping them to fulfil their potential.

“I believe if you want to be successful, you must surround yourself with positive people. Everyone deserves a chance to be successful and I tend to have a knack of recognising potential in my staff that they hadn’t necessarily recognised themselves just yet. This has allowed me to build and lead a team who understands that if we work together we’re infinitely stronger,” says Ms Linnell.

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

“The 2015 Northern Territory 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 were impressed with Ms Linnell’s determination to succeed in the face of adversity.

“Mary is a great ambassador for women in the Northern Territory. According to the judges, she is achieving great business results and has a magnetic personality. Her story is one of courage and determination.”

Tonight’s Telstra Northern Territory Business Women’s Awards winners are making their mark across a diverse range of industries – including multiple category award winner Brigid Beilby who was awarded both the Young Business Women’s Award and Start-Up Award for her artisanal café Alley Cats Patisserie; and winner of the Government and Academia category Deborah Hall, who as General Manager Northern Territory of CPA Australia represents over 500 local members and is the organisation’s most senior representative within the territory.

Deborah Bampton, Service Development Manager and Administrator of Somerville Community Services, won the For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award for her contribution to the organisation’s 11 community group homes for people with severe to profound disabilities.

The Northern Territory winners will proceed to the national finals in Melbourne on Wednesday 18 November.

2015 Telstra Northern Territory Business Woman of the Year
Mary Linnell, Easy Glass Services, Darwin

Start-Up Award
Brigid Beilby, Alley Cats Patisserie, Darwin
Brigid Beilby believes food changes people, enhances relationships and brings communities together. Struck by the opportunity within the Territory for someone with passion to offer good food service, Brigid launched Alley Cats with a paddock to plate approach, handcrafting seasonal menus on site using fresh local ingredients. Brigid believes that fewer hands involved in the cooking process ensures a better product and customer experience. A self-described cat fanatic and cat shelter volunteer in her home town of Sydney, Brigid says her business has encouraged social change and made sure that Darwin consumers no longer settle for second best. The Telstra judges were impressed by Brigid’s commitment to the community in her choice to employ apprentices with special needs, giving them the opportunity to gain the freedom and support they need.

Entrepreneur Award
Mary Linnell, Easy Glass Services, Darwin

For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award
Deborah Bampton, Somerville Community Services Inc, Darwin
For the past five years, Deborah has been Service Development Manager and Administrator within the Disability Services at Somerville Community Services, a not-for-profit organisation supporting Territorians for 50 years. Deborah has joint responsibility for the 11 Somerville Community Services group homes for people with severe to profound disabilities. She is also responsible for the organisation’s training and development program, the planning, development and co-ordination of a social integration program and all the administrative functions of the disability service. Somerville Community Services provides disability, family and financial services in Darwin, Katherine and across the Top End. Deborah impressed the judges with her foresight and the way in which she has prepared her organisation for future legislative change.

Government and Academia Award
Deborah Hall, CPA Australia, Darwin
Deborah Hall is the General Manager Northern Territory of CPA Australia, an accounting body with a global membership of more than 150,000 members working in 120 countries around the world. Based in Darwin, Deborah is the most senior CPA Australia representative in the Northern Territory focusing on more than 500 local members. Growing up on a Zimbabwean farm and a passionate volunteer her whole life, Deborah was recently appointed to the Board of Venture Housing which she views as an opportunity to provide people with a ‘leg up’ rather than a ‘hand out’. Her goal to make CPA Australia the world’s best member organisation struck a chord with the Telstra judges.

Young Business Women’s Award
Brigid Beilby, Alley Cats Patisserie, Darwin

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