The 2015 Women in Industry Winners

Australian Mining brings you the winners of the second Women in Industry awards.

Marketing/Communications award 

Rosalinda Willcox – Marketing Communications Specialist, BOC Limited

Rosalinda Willcox won this year's Marketing/Communications award for implementing a progressive marketing strategy at BOC. 

Since joining BOC more than fifteen years ago, Willcox has consistently implemented effective marketing communication strategies to help grow BOC's business.

She has worked in Marketing Communications across almost every business unit at BOC during her tenure.

The knowledge that she has gathered from working across different business divisions at BOC has meant that she is a regular "go-to person" for staff members who have a query related to marketing communications within BOC or a product in general.

Although she has been at BOC for fifteen years, Willcox continues to deliver better marketing results, always ensuring that her next campaign is more successful than the last.

Willcox is passionate about increasing awareness of the engineering and gas industry to women. She combined both her passion and marketing strategy nous when she identified that competitors were not targeting women in the industry. She suggested to upper management that case studies be developed to demonstrate that the welding profession is an exciting career path that women should consider. This was well received and as a result she was commissioned to produce videos showcasing these women.

Willcox devised a social media strategy for these videos to ensure they were widely viewed. They were shared by staff members, customers across a variety of social media platforms and now even feature in BOC publications – this all due to her vision.

The judges said they were particularly impressed with Willcox's use of social media as marketing tool.

"Rosalinda demonstrates a progressive marketing mindset. She has had the courage to engage social media in a conservative market, which she has ensured has had uptake and gained traction and has had impressive results."

 

Advocacy of the Year

Suzanne Daubney – Managing Director, Bannister Downs Diary

Suzanne Daubney has won this year's Industry Advocacy award for her work to make a difference in the dairy industry.

Daubney married into a proudly traditional dairy farming family spanning four generations. 

Confronted with deregulation in 2000, Daubney decided to show the local industry what was possible. 

"We were young, enthusiastic and ready for the challenge," she said.

When dairy farmer numbers fell from 550 to 200, the Daubney family decided the future had to lie in producing and promoting a premium, high quality product, and thereby decided to follow the path of vertically integrating their farming business.

This was the 'seed' for Bannister Downs Dairy (BDD), which now supplies over 500 customers state wide.

Daubney's bold vision to be the Global Leaders in Ethical Dairy defines her from others in the immediate dairy industry and in the broader agriculture and food industries.

Her preparedness to embrace new technology (cutting edge fully recycled packaging, robotics, new animal production systems), innovation, sustainable farming practices, ethical animal production systems and progressive business models, with a strong conviction to ethical behaviour distinguishes her from many of her peers.

At a time when many in agriculture were bemoaning the dominance of supermarket chains and the impact on farm prices, Daubney decided to seize the opportunity presented by supermarkets. 

Realising that competing with established processors on the basis of price was a recipe for disaster; she investigated alternative packaging and supply chain options which would allow BDD to capture key market niches based on product quality and presentation.

Such has been the success of this approach that BDD is now emerging as a significant buyer of milk from other farmers in the region with a well-established brand. Planned significant expansions of the processing and farming operations bear testimony to the success of this innovative approach to the supply chain. 

Daubney's approach and willingness to 'share the journey' with others is another trait which separates her out from others in the sector. The successes, the 'lessons learned', the attributes of her business, ethical production systems, regional development aspirations and 'sense of community' have been shared on many platforms and within numerous forums, locally, interstate, and internationally.

Some of these include, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences National Regional Outlook Conference in 2012, Australian Dairy Conference in 2013, the Regional REIWA Conference in Bunbury 2014, and the Western Australian Ag Consultants Conference in 2014.

 

BDM of the Year 

Nicolette Hinson – General Manager Business Development and Strategy, Elgas

Nicolette Hinson took out this year's BDM of the Year award for making a significant contribution to growing Elgas' business since she became General Manager for Business Development and Strategy in 2011. 

Hinson is the key driver of business development and is responsible for identifying and developing new business opportunities for commercialisation. Hinson has consistently achieved growth in new focus areas through her excellent technical ability, solid commercial understanding, and leadership.

Under Hinson's leadership, Elgas has significantly grown its liquefied natural gas (LNG) stationary energy business with revenues increasing some 2500 per cent since 2011. Hinson drove the signing of two major customers and expanded the sales personnel team to grow the LNG business in Queensland and New South Wales. She has worked across both Elgas and BOC to support the development of the customer offerings for this new market and played a vital role in preparing market-based information that supported the investment of BOC's new LNG production facility in Queensland.

Hinson also developed an initiative to generate new business for Stargas, an Elgas brand that offers compressed industrial and hospitality gases and LPG to small and medium sized businesses. This included the development of a business case for the implementation of a new Stargas operation site in Brisbane to strengthen Stargas' position and capability in the region. 

This recommendation was approved by the business with the new site opened in 2013. It has helped Elgas win new industrial and LPG accounts in the SME Business area.

The judges commented that Hinson had demonstrated a strength in leadership during a turbulent time as Elgas merged Kleenheat into their operations. 

She ensured sales continued to grow, which is often difficult during a merger/acquisition. Her customer service focus was also clearly evident. 

"In a large corporation, Hinson demonstrated an entrepreneurial flair that clearly contributes to the growth of the business," one judge said. 

"Nicolette's influence has grown as she has excelled in her career."

 

Social Leader

Samantha Kerr – SCADA, COMMS & Protection Implementation Engineer, Energex

Samantha Kerr has taken out this year's Social Leader award for her work in facilitating a program that aims to keep women involved in the engineering sector.

Kerr is a leading female engineer who has provided significant positive social benefit through her creation of the "Save Our Sanity" (SOS) interactive sessions in Queensland through Women In Engineering Qld (WIEQ), a special interest group of Engineers Australia. 

The SOS program aims to retain women in engineering through fostering positive support networks and providing continuing professional development. The SOS program recently won a High Commendation Award for Most Encouraging Student or Not for Profit Group in Gender Diversity through Engineers Australia in November 2014.

The SOS program is for engineers on parental leave, working part-time, out of the workforce or on a sabbatical. Children, toddlers and babies are welcome and attend the SOS sessions. 

Kerr developed each session to have guest speakers and/or workshop facilitators. The focus of these sessions includes a forum for modes of working; professional networking; leadership; professional development; and engineering professional development. 

Past guest speakers have included: CEO of Energex, Terry Effeney, an advocate for flexibility and diversity within the workplace; Leeanne Bond, current board member and Professional Engineer of the Year 2007; and Tiffany Wann, founder and facilitator of Outstanding Women Leaders. 

For the 2014 program, Samantha secured 10 impressive guest speakers including Sydney journalist, Kate Mills, from ProfessionalMums.net online.

The judges said they were impressed with the way Kerr made the SOS sessions inclusive and educational for participants.

"Kerr has demonstrated a very valuable commitment to the engineering community," one judge commented.

 

 Rising Star

Kate Francis – Civil Engineer, Hyder Consulting

Kate Francis won this year's Rising Star award for the way in which she has contributed to her employer in her short career. 

Francis is a Civil Engineer who graduated with First Class Honours from the Queensland University of Technology in 2012. 

She has a double major in Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering. 

Francis is passionate about addressing the shortage of women in non-traditional careers such as engineering. She is involved in two Women in Engineering groups that both aim to attract, support and celebrate female engineers. 

Francis has also attended various high school presentations promoting careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). 

Since graduating, Francis has been employed at Hyder Consulting and has worked in both the Urban Development and Transport teams. She has experience in all facets of civil design, contract administration, preparation of cost estimates and independent verification. Francis also has experience in business development through the pursuits of major projects, bidding/tendering and legal training.  

As Francis' career progresses, her responsibilities have increased and she has acted as the lead civil engineer and project leader on several developments. 

She is experienced in managing resources and time to deliver quality results to clients. 

Some of Francis' career achievements to date include:

· Project managing the Civil Works and Development Application Process for an Inner-City High-rise development. This included significant stakeholder engagement with all other consultants, contractors, architects and government agencies. 

· Managing the civil design and construction phase for a Brisbane subdivision

· Writing a winning tender for the QLD Transport team to provide engineering services to a regional council.  

The judges said that Francis had shown great initiative within her career, and is contributing greatly to Hyder Consulting. 

 

 Mentor of the Year

Christine Cotton – Regional General Manager, Tyco Fire & Security

Christine Cotton is strong advocate for the development of Tyco's people, regardless of gender, and this won her the 2015 Mentor of the Year Award.

Cotton's passion lies with ensuring the company's female talent not only receive career development opportunities but also in assisting them balance the many demands of life in general.

Cotton has been instrumental in the establishment and ongoing development of Tyco's Pacific Women's Growth Network ensuring the program remains at the forefront of Tyco's daily activities. As a part of Cotton's Women's Growth Network initiative, she led the formation of what has now become known as the "bubble assignment" – an opportunity for a high potential female to step out of their normal role for a period of time (up to 90 days) and work on a dedicated project outside of their normal sphere of influence. 

This concept is spreading across Tyco globally and is something the company is planning to expand on to provide more safe-haven development opportunities. In both her roles as the Regional General Manager WA and as the Pacific lead for the Women's Growth Network, Cotton has played a pivotal role in the formation of Tyco's mentoring program.  

This program is open to both male and female staff alike and aims to partner mentees with senior members of staff from other areas of the organisation to provide a confidential forum for mentees to further explore their careers, and to seek advice on work assignments or issues.

The judges said that Cotton should be commended for establishing programs to foster women within a large organisation.

"Good to see this work in Tyco and a very strong focus on mentoring women in this business and industry," one judge said.

 

Excellence in Mining

Maria Joyce – General Manager, MEC Mining

Maria Joyce has won this year's Excellence in Mining award for being a well-respected leader within the sector. 

Just over 12 months ago Joyce took on the challenge of the General Managers role for MEC Mining.

Through this position she is responsible for the leadership, mentoring and technical output of all of the Australian based consultants both in the office and on site (35 permanent staff and additional subcontractors).

Joyce champions the culture within MEC Mining and this is something that she holds close to her heart. Her team is like a tight knit family; they support each other through the good and bad times, collaborate, and treat one another with the respect and integrity each individual deserves.

The second major focus in her role that sets her apart from others in the industry is her strength in maintaining quality client relationships. 

From pit engineers working in the Bowen Basin all the way through to company CEOs across the world, Joyce has an exceptional ability to continuously keep the lines of communication open with clients and ensure that her team delivers trusted expertise and proven outcomes on each and every project.

Finally, Joyce's wealth of technical and operational knowledge and expertise in mining engineering are what elevate her above other individuals in the sector. Joyce won the BMA Business Excellence and Innovation Award for her "Dragline Wait on Dozer Project", which led to significant increases to dragline operating efficiencies. She is highly regarded as a leader in her field. Joyce has also become widely recognised as an industry expert in XPAC and XACT.

The judges said that Joyce was a deserving winner who has "taken risks in her own career, backed herself to succeed and become an outstanding and well respected leader in her own right".

"Joyce demonstrated an outstanding mix of technical expertise, commercial tenacity and willingness to develop the next generation of leaders," one judge said.

 

Excellence in Manufacturing

Colly Galbiati – Managing Director, Soma Organics

Colly Galbiati won this year's Excellence in Manufacturing award for a business she started in her kitchen in 2012. 

In November 2012, Soma Organics started in the kitchen of her home where she begun hand making the (future) award-winning Soma Bite range. Due to a large increase of demand, Soma Organics outsourced their successful home kitchen business into a certified organic food manufacturer specialising in snack bars in just over nine months. 

Since then, Galbiati has developed three health snack bar ranges for the Soma Organics brand – the award-winning Soma Bite range, Your Soma Bars – protein bar; and the latest project Eco Bars – a raw energy snack made from cricket flour.

During this time, Galbiati has met with national and international buyers, the largest being Woolworths Ltd. where the award-winning Soma Bite range has now been stocked for 18 months, in what started in 100 stores, and is now over 400 stores nationally. 

In 2013, Galbiati secured a deal with international tea company, Your Tea International Group, to create and co-brand a range of organic protein snack bars Your Soma Bar which is sold exclusively on the Your Tea website which has a popular reach of over 500,000 users. Galbiati developed and designed the snack bar range from bar to branding. With the first bar already on the market, the following two  bars are under development.

Galbiati has negotiated deals to export the Soma Bite range into the UAE, Dubai and Hong Kong where the product is currently available. She is also in discussions with Japan, New Zealand, Chinese, and USA distributors. 

During the growth, she restructured the business from "sole-trader" to a company and raised capital from investors. She strategised to bring key investors on board with skills such as finance, accounting and food technology so that they have a vested interest in growing Soma Organics into the biggest and most-trustworthy food brand in Australia.  

The judges said Galbiati demonstrates all the essential skills for success in business including enthusiastic entrepreneurialism, passion for her area, initiative and resilience.

"This is made all the more impressive in that she is not an industry native," one judge said.

"She has recognised and built on her own strengths, but also engaged the help of other experts, and has built a truly personal connection with both staff and clients."

 

Excellence in Engineering 

Christine Charles – Head of Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion Division, The Australian National University

Professor Christine Charles has won this year’s Excellence in Engineering award for the extraordinary contribution she has made in her field.

Prof.Charles is a highly respected member of the Australian and international space industry. She is known for her technical excellence, her ability to translate research into innovative solutions for industry, and her dedication to mentoring students, in particular young women.

Prof. Charles is the Head of the Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion (SP3) Laboratory at the Australian National University. For the past twenty years, she has been working on experimental expanding plasmas (hot ionized gases) and their applications to electric propulsion, microelectronics and optoelectronics, astrophysical plasmas, and more.

Astrium, now part of Airbus Defence and Space, started its collaboration with Prof. Charles’ team back in 2006 following her successful early tests of the Helicon Double Layer Thruster (HDLT). Such collaboration eventually culminated in the successful Australian Research Space Program project that resulted in the setup of the Wombat XL Space Simulation facility in the performance qualification test of the HDLT in its Gen III version. Across the years the HDLT proved to the in many aspects a source of inspiration for the whole international electric propulsion community, e.g. it introduced the novel concept of operating with different propellants. To put this into perspective for the non-specialist reader, such concept is now part of the technology road maps of most advanced spacefaring countries of our planet.

In a glowing review, one of the judges said Prof.Charles should be voted the next Australian of the Year.

"What can you say that has not been demonstrated over and again by Charles. A gob-smackingly extraordinary woman achieving extraordinary things with potential global (and beyond) impact. A brilliant entry from a truly outstanding role model. My vote for the next Australian of the Year."

Another judge commented that Prof.Charles is an outstanding nominee.

“She is clearly well respected as an expert in her field nationally and internationally, and through her leadership is inspiring and actively mentoring the next generation of young engineers and scientists."

Employer of the Year

Cablex

Cablex won the 2015 Employer of the Year award for implementing a number of initiatives which aim to increase female participation at the company. 

At Cablex currently over 60 per cent of all staff members are female, well above the Australian engineering/equipment manufacturing average of 22 per cent. Women are also very well represented at management level and above, with 50 per cent being female.

Cablex's COO and part owner Heidi Krebs is also a female. This high representation of females through all levels of the organisation has meant that women continue to be trained, challenged, and mentored within the organisation and therefore given equal opportunities for progression within the company. 

Cablex has developed many formal workplace initiatives which women find favourable in the work place including job redesign, flexible working options for those with family responsibilities, up-skilling, and the appointment of talented women into non-traditional roles.

The company also provides many social opportunities for the team which enable strong bonds and a high level of trust to be formed between all employees. Many of the factory level employees are from a variety of cultural backgrounds with English being their second language. 

The culture and set up of the factory space encourages them to feel part of a team and less isolated. They are continually provided with ongoing training and access to a variety of projects.

Cablex has developed a culture and working environment which encourages team work, community, precision, dexterity, and quality. 

Unlike many other tradition manufacturing environments Cablex provides ongoing challenges to its staff, and is a family friendly and collaborative workplace.

The judges said Cablex should be commended for its efforts to attract and retain female employees.

"Under Heidi Krebs' leadership, Cablex has developed many favourable work initiatives, encouraging significant female participation within the business. This is evidenced by the high percentage of long-term female employees across the Cablex organisation," one judge commented.

"A good effort and it is good to see companies operating in this way and with women in senior leadership roles," another judge said. 

We would like to thank our sponsors, without which the 2015 Women in Industry Awards would not be possible.

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