Media Release, 09 September 2015

Brilliant business women leading in the traditionally male-dominated areas of mining, construction and local government are among 33 finalists for the 2015 Telstra Western Australian Business Women’s Awards.

Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Kate McKenzie, said Western Australian 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 Western Australian 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.”

Among the finalists are Jessica Barber, the first female mining manager at BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Mt Whaleback Mine when she was appointed in 2011 aged 29, and environmental reform manager Sarah Bellamy, who leads the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s mining rehabilitation fund.

Debbie Millard, CFO and company secretary of privately-owned JWH Group, WA’s third largest homebuilder, and Julie Murray, who runs family-owned Mandurah Taxis and holds leadership positions in national and regional taxi industry associations, are also among the finalists.

Several finalists also come from the health and wellbeing sector including rural health advocate Dr Kylie Sterry, practice principal and director of Kalgoorlie’s Plaza Medical Centre. Pilbara-raised with a special interest in obstetrics, Dr Sterry is a senior lecturer at the University of WA’s Rural Clinical School which is designed to attract more doctors to rural practice.

Another health expert named as a finalist is dietitian Jo-Anne Dembo, founder in 2004 of Diet By D’Zyne, a private practice in North Perth offering solutions to nutrition and life-long healthy eating. Now with more than 40 clinics throughout WA, Diet By D’Zyne treats conditions from weight loss to diabetes and food allergies.

Other finalists include Margaret River wine producer Dianne Laurance, founder of Laurance Wines in 2001, who was recognised by US President Bill Clinton for her commitment to empowerment and rights of women, and City of Kwinana CEO Joanne Abbiss, at one time the only woman to be a local government CEO in Perth.

The 33 finalists join Alumni including winners Fortescue Metals Group general manager Julie Shuttleworth, Brookfield Multiplex executive director Sharon Warburton, Corrective Services Department director Sonja Cox, Royal Australian Navy Lieutenant Kelly Haywood, and Hancock Prospecting chairman Gina Rinehart.

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 WA 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 Western Australian Business Women’s Awards are:

Start-up Award
Dr April Armstrong, Collins Street Surgery, Kalgoorlie
Melissa Bell, The Terrace Initiative Pty Ltd, Perth
Sarah Cordine, Main Training Pty Ltd, South Lake
Chantal Harris, The Cultural Connection Code Pty Ltd, Mt Lawley
Tracy Lefroy, Cranmore Home, Moora
Annette Perrin, Creational Consulting, Perth


Jo-Anne Dembo, Diet By D’Zyne, North Perth
Dianne Laurance, Laurance Wines Pty Ltd, Margaret River
Marie Mc Crystal Jones, House of Ernest, Perth
Phyllis Narula, Narula Enterprises Pty Ltd, East Fremantle
Dr Kylie Sterry, Plaza Medical Centre, Kalgoorlie

For Purpose and Social Enterprise
Felicite Black, Youth Focus, Burswood
Dr Regina Flugge, RAC, West Perth
Fiona Kalaf, Lifeline WA, Perth
Jade Lewis, Jade Lewis and Friends Inc, Perth
Simone McMahon, AM Organ Donation & Transplant Foundation of WA, Maylands
Angie Paskevicius, Holyoake, Victoria Park

Government and Academia
Joanne Abbiss, City of Kwinana, Kwinana
Sarah Bellamy, Department of Mines and Petroleum, East Perth
Geraldine Carlton, Rockingham Peel Group, Sth Metro Health Service, Perth
Tanya Dupagne, Shire of Kulin (Camp Kulin), Kulin
Professor Cobie, Rudd Edith Cowan University, Perth
Stephanie Underwood, WA Department of Fire & Emergency Services, Cockburn Central

Corporate and Private
Jessica Barber, BHP Billiton, East Perth
Brydie McKee, Vonex Ltd, Osborne Park
Krista McMeeken, Jackson McDonald, Perth
Debbie Millard, JWH Group Pty Ltd, Osborne Park
Julie Murray, Mandurah Taxis Pty Ltd, Mandurah
Patima Tantiprasut, Barn Creative Pty Ltd, Northbridge

Young Business Women’s Award
Sarah Cordiner, Main Training Pty Ltd, South Lake
Nikki Heyder, NOOD Group Enterprises, Mosman Park
Krista McMeeken, Jackson McDonald, Perth
Christine Parfitt, Bottle for Boto,l Cottesloe
Kim Tran, La Belle Peau Skincare Clinic, North Perth
Stephanie Underwood, WA Department of Fire & Emergency Services, East Fremantle

Winners of the 2015 Telstra Western Australian Business Women’s Awards will be announced on Friday 9 October in Perth. The WA 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