blog pic for 30:10:2015

  (award recipient Dr. Catherine Ball)


In a flurry of evening wear, champagne and pure talent, Telstra wrapped up it’s Business Women’s Awards for 2015 last Tuesday night. Much like the recipients before them, this years’ celebrated women were just as inspirational across the various categories they were nominated in.

The Telstra Business Women’s Awards is the longest running women’s award program in Australia. For over two decades the awards have recognised women from diverse industries and ensured that their achievements become part of the national conversation. This year’s winners ranged from a weapons engineer, cultural advisor and business leader in the Royal Australian Navy, to a fitness entrepreneur who has created and is running a successful fitness business and innovative fitness app.

Queensland business award winner Catherine Ball, was also commended for her world-leading work with drones. Dr Ball and her team have flown human sized drones hundreds of kilometres to track turtle habitats off the West Australian Coast, and spotted endangered animals not seen for years in the process. During her speech Dr Ball said the next step was focusing the use of the cutting edge vehicles for humanitarian work.

She even warned Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during her acceptance speech to expect a call from her within the week, selling the benefits of Australian technology in international aid.

“ I had 20 minutes with Julie Bishop at the World Humanitarian Summit Pacific Regional briefing in Auckland and I managed to convince her that Australian-made UAVs were perfect for post-cyclone disaster response work across the Pacific,” she said.

“So Julie Bishop, I’m going to be calling you next week, now I’ve got this.”

Dr Ball was joined by fellow Queenslanders Marie Piccone, who won the entrepreneur award, HR Junction managing director Belinda Brosnan who won the start up award and Susie Upton who took home the young business woman’s award for the youth counselling service, Child Aware.

Many of the women during their acceptance speech, mentioned the importance of award programs like the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, in order to provide realistic goals and benchmarks for the future generation of women.

“If I had been able to read about all the talented women in this room tonight and seen what they had achieved, when I was younger….It would have given me such hope for the future…these platforms are so important in demonstrating to everyone what can be achieved,” Lindsay Rogers said, who took home the young business women’s award for New South Wales.

Indeed, recent studies have shown the importance female role models play for younger women in society. The BBC reported on a survey recently where 55% of girls and young women questioned, agreed there is a lack of strong aspirational women exposed in the media. 58% per cent of girls and young women also listed seeing other women succeed within their own chosen career path, as a key motivational tool.

“Many young women will collate a list of women that they identify as role models, which help them to build appropriate workplace identities from. Furthermore, our research has demonstrated a link between a lack of female role models and a lack of female staff motivation and career progression,” Professor Val Singh and Ruth H.V. Sealy form the International Centre for Women Leaders stated to the BBC.

Indeed, if Tuesday night is anything to go by, Australia’s future generation of women have plenty of motivation to choose from.

For a full list of the winners from the award night, click here: