Winners of the Women in Industry Awards 2020

Whitehaven Coal executive general manager HSE, Sarah Withell

Whitehaven Coal executive general manager HSE, Sarah Withell has emerged a winner of the Women in Industry Awards for Excellence in Mining.

She is one of the 10 winners that have been selected for their outstanding success and industry work in traditionally male-dominated markets.

This year’s Women in Industry Awards saw a 27 per cent rise in nominations compared with last year, as well as a record number of individuals, businesses and organisations represented.

Withell started her mining career as a fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) environmental scientist at a remote operation in the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia.

From there, she launched a career that has since spanned two decades and expanded her knowledge to work in health, safety, environment and community roles.

During the past 10 years, Withell has moved into senior leadership teams for some of Australia’s biggest coal operations.

This includes being a member of the BHP Minerals Australia health and safety environment (HSE) leadership team, providing guidance and support to more than 18,000 workers.

In this role, Withell partnered with senior leaders in the business to set the strategic direction and performance of two of BHP’s biggest coal assets.

ifm efector marketing manager Rachael Ashfield has also emerged a winner of this year’s Women in Industry Awards.

As the recipient of the Business Development Success of the Year award, Ashfield has been commended for a number of innovative campaigns that have grown ifm in the food/beverage manufacturing and mining sectors.

Ashfield’s role sees her develop a number of marketing and communications campaigns to expand its customer base for ifm sensor technology and equipment.

ifm’s products are applicable to a number of industries and fully embrace the advantages of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) 4.0 technology through its sensors and automated technology.

Ashfield’s longstanding career with ifm has resulted in developing a deep understanding towards automation technology – starting in administration and working her way up to become the company’s marketing manager.

Women in Industry Awards judge and recipient of the award in 2016, Christine Gibbs-Stewart said that it was great to read each applicant’s inspirational story.

“Each is unique and should be told, and these awards are a great way to do that,” the Austmine chief executive said.

Below is a full list of the Women in Industry Awards winners and finalists this year.

Excellence in Mining

Winner: Sarah Withell, Whitehaven Coal


  • Carlie Hayward, BHP
  • Clytie Dangar, CRC ORE
  • Jacqueline Madsen, Caterpillar
  • Kim Parascos, iVolve Industrial Technology
  • Rose Linder, MMG
  • Terese Withington, Weir Minerals Australia

Business Development Success of the Year

Winner: Rachael Ashfield,  ifm efector


  • Caroline Murray, APS Industrial
  • Jackie Thew, Abrasive Media Supplies
  • Marika Logan, Elgas
  • Stefanie Frawley, Colliers International
  • Sonia Turner, Scope Systems

Rising Star of the Year

Proudly sponsored by by Atlas Copco

“At Atlas Copco we believe that diversity in business is a critical driver for long-term success. The Women in Industry awards is a special way in which we can show our commitment to advancing the gender balance in industry. As a global company Atlas Copco recognises the link between diversity and innovation and as we say, ‘there is always a better way’ and contributing to these awards is just one way that we can show that Atlas Copco recognises the talent and achievement of females across our industry.”

WinnerAlicia Heskett,  Shell Australia (QGC)


  • Helen Vu, BOC
  • Kate Robertson, Geological Survey of SA
  • Kate Stanbury, Stantec Australia
  • Keren Reynolds, BAE Systems Australia
  • Louise Azzopardi, WesTrac
  • Nima Sherpa, BHP
  • Rose Lindner, MMG
  • Vera Milutinovic, Inenco
  • Noriko Wood, Fulton Hogan

Social Leader of the Year

Winner: Jackie Lewis-Gray, BAE Systems Australia


  • Alanna Vial, BlueScope
  • Althea Papinczak, Women in Design and Construction (WIDAC)
  • Elizabeth Taylor, RedR International
  • Gemma Murphy, QBE Insurance
  • Jane Tiller, Monash University
  • Sarah McSwiney, Boeing Aerostructures Australia

Industry Advocacy Award

Winner: Rose Read,  National Waste & Recycling Industry Council


  • Elizabeth Molyneux,  AGL Energy
  • Hayley Jarick,  Supply Chain Sustainability School
  • Jacquelene Brotherton, Transport Women Australia
  • Jodie Sainsbury, Kickass Women
  • Joy Marrocco, AGL
  • Shay Chalmers, Strategic Engineering
  • Sonja Malcolm, Sydney Metro

Safety Advocacy Award

Proudly sponsored by BOC

“BOC has been proudly supporting the Women in Industry awards for the past six years. The awards encourage and recognise the success of women in industries that have traditionally been male-dominated, including road transport, logistics, rail and bulk handling, infrastructure, mining and engineering.

The calibre of nominees and winners each years demonstrates considerable leadership and commitment to their various sectors and aligns with BOC’s focus on the pursuit of excellence in industry.

BOC believes the awards are an important event and it’s critical companies continue to support the participation of women in industry and shine light on the women who are true role models in leadership.”

Winner: Nadine Youssef, Sydney Trains


  • Annastasia Denigan, Cement Australia
  • Lyndal Denny, Women In Trucking Australia
  • Maddy Holloway, CITIC Pacific Mining
  • Natalia Trewin, WesTrac 
  • Noelani Reardon, Transport for NSW
  • Terese Withington, Weir Minerals Australia
  • Tracey MacDonald, BAE Systems Australia

Mentor of the Year

Winner: Dayle Stevens, AGL Energy


  • Clytie Dangar, CRC ORE
  • Kylie Jones, Diageo Australia
  • Marie Varrasso, Officeworks

Excellence in Manufacturing

Winner: Rochelle Avinu, Leica Biosystems


  • Josie Costanzo,  Brickworks Building Products
  • Marina Melik, Boeing Aerostructures Australia
  • Rebecca Parnell, Artisan Food Company
  • Samantha McDonald, Bluescope

Excellence in Engineering

Proudly sponsored by BAE Systems Australia

“The Women in Industry awards provide a unique platform to celebrate the achievements of women in Australia. As one of the largest employers of engineers in the country, BAE Systems is particularly proud to sponsor the Engineering Excellence category in 2020. We have female engineers to thank for many of the world’s greatest innovations, yet they make up only 12 per cent of engineers employed in Australia. Awards such as these are important to not only celebrate achievement but to also provide inspiration to others to break down barriers and excel in the engineering industry.”

Winner: Elizabeth Taylor, RedR International


  • Jane MacMaster, Engineers Australia
  • Jo Withford, Transport for NSW
  • Lesley DeGaris, Boeing Aerostructures Australia
  • Lidija Dumbaloska, Sydney Trains
  • Mandy Petrides, Bosch Australia

Excellence in Transport

Winner: Melissa Strong, Lindsay Australia


  • Agnes Leeson, Elgas
  • Camilla Drover, Transport for NSW
  • Danelle Kempton, Dananni Haulage
  • Jane Gillespie, Arup
  • Lyndal Denny, Women In Trucking Australia

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