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Announcing the Empowered Woman Awards Finalists

Every day, women are overcoming hurdles to become business leaders. We defy odds to set up our own businesses. We disrupt industries with our talent. We build stronger, more inclusive workplaces. 

We are ambitious, successful, daring, empowered. Whatever our career goals, we strive to turn our dreams into reality

The Empowered Woman Awards is a celebration of the success of women in business and leadership. The Empowered Woman Awards is a celebration of the success of women in business and leadership. Our finalists represent a cross section of Australian business woman and Entrepreneurs who are pushing beyond their limitations, changing the way sees women capabilities and ambitions and are inspiring a new generation of leaders.

Winners will be announced at a cocktail event following the conclusion of The Empowered Woman 2020.


Vote for the candidate of your choice for The Empowered Woman Awards 2020!




The Entrepreneurial Leader


The Entrepreneurial Leader is awarded to a woman with at least a 40% share in a business started since January 2016. She demonstrates strong business acumen in delivering new and innovative products or services that have made an impact on the market.


Our finalists: 


Melanie Burnicle

Melanie Burnicle, Founder and Director,  The Makeup Artist Guild Asia Pacific

Starting as a freelance Makeup Artist herself 22 years ago, Melanie noticed a common conversation amongst artists, on the rare days she worked with other artists as often there is only one Makeup Artist on set. Artists were lacking a sense of community, support and the knowledge of how to Use their skill as an Artist and treat it like a business to grow and move forward. Melanie Founded The MAGAP, the home to unite, nurture and empower artists. Embracing and celebrating the diversity and uniqueness amongst the Makeup Artist Community through its membership and annual awards platforms which boosts artists careers on to an international playing field.

To vote for Melanie Burnicle, click here.



Mandy Dante 

Mandy Dante, CEO and Founder, Flourish Girl

Towards the end of 2016, Mandy found that the rate of depression, anxiety and eating disorders amongst teenage girls were on a rise and it was in that moment that she found herself shifting her passion and focus towards giving teenage girls a voice. She founded Flourish Girl as a preventative mental health program for teenage girls and works with schools to deliver transformational programs that explore the current limitations for girls from being powerful and unstoppable in today’s world.

To vote for Mandy Dante, click here.



Pascale Heylar-Moray 

Pascale Helyar-Moray, Founder & CEO, Super Rewards

Pascale wished to change the future of women across Australia by engaging retailers to see the immense value of the unpaid economy. She launched Super Rewards in October 2019, as an immediate  solution to the super crisis; allowing women to start saving into their super with cash rewards from retailers.

 To vote for Pascale Heylar-Moray, click here.



Zivit Inbar

Zivit Inbar, Founder and CEO, DifferenThinking

At the end of 2015, Zivit has left her role as CHRO in a global technology company after a string of personal tragedies. She was in a lot of physical and emotional pain, but decided to not let loss and fear hold her back. With a timeline of six months to find a paying client, she decided to start her own boutique consulting firm specialising in culture, leadership, people and ethics and has never looked back and has gone on to coach and mentor more than 250 Australian founders and executives in the innovation space and launch a leadership program in Vietnam

To vote for Zivit Inbar, click here. 



Cassandra Kalpaxis

Cassandra Kalpaxis, Director, Family Lawyer, Kalpaxis Legal

As a family lawyer, Cassandra is exposed to the fall outs of separation every day and strives to focus on amicable and holistic separation that empowers her clients. Focusing on alternative dispute resolution, she is often criticised for not practicing ‘real’ law by male peers. She is embarking on a journey inspired by Brene Brown to accept vulnerability and strive to be different.

To vote for Cassandra Kalpaxis, click here.



Nadine Lipworth, Lisa Kelly Rope

Nadine Lipworth and Lisa Kelly Rope, Founders and Wrap Artists, Burrito Baby

When Nadine and Lisa met as first-time mothers in March 2017, they bonded over the fussy sleeping habits of their babies who constantly wriggled out of traditional muslin wraps. Inspired to design a new type of swaddle that keeps babies asleep for longer, they launched Burrito Baby as an entirely self-funded venture. Under immense financial pressure and stretched paper thin, they say winning this award would give the much needed boost to keep pushing forward. 

To vote for Nadine Lipworth and Lisa Kelly Rope, click here.



Michelle Perugini

Michelle Perugini, CEO, Presgan and Life Whisperer Diagnostics

In less than 3 years, Michelle has grown the idea to apply AI to assist embryo assessment during IVF from concept to commercial product. Her goals are to lead a disruptive healthcare company focused on underserved women’s healthcare market. She sees herself as a role model for emerging female entrepreneurs and wishes to challenge the status quo for women leaders.

To vote for Michelle Perugini, click here.



Tamara Reid

Tamara Reid, Founding Director, Beaute Industrie

When Tamara left a stable job to found Beaute Industrie, she was told her ‘ little business’ would never make it. One year later, she had a profitable business with international exposure providing Australia’s first online support community for the professional beauty industry. In two years, The Beaute Industrie has grown to provide networking events, business development sessions and an online mentoring platform to a community of 10,000 beauty professionals.

To vote for Tamara Reid, click here.



Louise Sparkes Howarth

Louise Sparkes Howarth, Founder and Head Pineapple, Pineapple Marketing and Promotions

When creating Pineapple Marketing and Promotions, Louise knew she wanted to create a business that was focused on giving back. She delivers social media and strategic marketing services to business and is rolling out a marketing tour to take a 1-day workshop to regional cities. She is working on a marketing collective to promote the destinations affected by the bush fires and the businesses within those communities to support those impacted.

To vote for Louise Sparkes Howarth, click here.



Emerging Leader


The Emerging Leader is awarded to a woman who is rising in her field. She demonstrates strong leadership characteristics despite only being in a leadership or managerial role for less than two years, or not having a ‘traditional’ leadership or managerial role. She inspires those around her, and shows the potential to become a leader of tomorrow.


Anna Aleksandrova

Anna Aleksandrova, Manager, Associated Airlines and Services Workforce Planning, Qantas Airways

Anna stepped into a role managing two distinct teams just over a year ago, and has introduced formal and informal training processes to upskill and empower everyone who works with her. From Excel to presentation skills to strategic thinking, her training initiatives are designed to inspire and enable people to add value and operate independently. Her proudest achievement is seeing all layers of both of her teams tackling new challenges in a confident and competent manner.

To vote for Anna Aleksandrova, click here.



Tina Brunet

Tina Brunet, Customer Experience Manager, ahm

Tina has adopted a growth mindset, seeking opportunities to grow her skills and was awarded one of the Women and Leadership Executive Ready Program scholarship in 2018. She is empowered to use her experiences to shine a light on Social Justice issues, and inspire change. She is currently leading an inclusive event for International Women’s Day that invites women who are often invisible in society. She has seeked to carve a space to pursue her professional dreams and is proud of having risen beyond the limitations within which she was raised. 

To vote for Tina Brunet, click here.



Charmaine Johnstone

Charmaine Johnstone, Consultant, Business Applications, Veritec

Charmaine was a driving force behind the creation of Veritec’s “emPowering Women” initiative which aims to upskill 100+ women and is backed by Microsoft. She has embedded herself within Women in Information and Communication as a committee member. Her long term-term plan is to take on further leadership responsibilities within Veritec, working on her mentoring, coaching, personal development and presentation skills.

To vote for Charmainr Johnstone, click here.



Tamara Klink

Tamara Klink, Senior Campaign Manager, Salesforce

Tamara Klink is extremely passionate about advocating and supporting women in tech. Working at Salesforce, she actively seeks opportunities to support gender diversity and founded FIIT Collective, a global support network for females working in Tech. She is described as a born leader, demonstrating initiative, empathy and the ability to inspire those around her.

To vote for Tamara Klink, click here.



Athena Savvas

Athena Savvas, Assistant Director, Volunteer Coordinator and Adventure Tour Leader, MyGapYear Travel, Founder, Meet Her

Athena provides support, leadership and guidance to over 220 volunteers as an Adventure Tour Leader at MyGapYear Travel. She also founded Meet Her, a social enterprise designed to help women connect with career professionals and industry leaders in mentorship. She prides herself on her ability to invest in the aspirations of her fellow leaders and hopes to support and mentorship to those making the jump into the professional space.

To vote for Athena Savvas, click here.



Claudia Semola, Area Manager, Zambrero Restaurants

Claudia has been a go-getter, putting herself forward for a store manager role at 21, despite doubts from management about her capabilities. In 18 months, she has grown to become an area manager of 3 locations and leads with passion, energy and true confidence. She is seen as a valued employee of the Zambrero Restaurants and seen as having the potential to become a state manager.

To vote for Claudia Semola, click here.



Natalia Simonovic

Natalia Simonovic, Business Development Manager, Whale Logistics

Natalia is described as an unstoppable force who achieves incredible outcomes for What Logistics. In less than two years, Natalia has taken ownership over unifying sales and marketing strategies and has helped drive a strong team culture by collaborating effectively and being a positive influence on the team. She is highly strategic, and is described as having the unique ability to both inspire and influence those around her.

To vote for Natalia Simonovic, click here.



Tahlia Stewart

Tahlia Stewart, Teacher and Head English Teacher, Wauchope High School

Tahlia, as a Science based teacher, has led the organisation of “Sky Stories”, a local community event that showcases Aboriganal and Modern astronomy to bring together Aboriginal elders, children, education, academics, and more. Her emerging leadership skills have led her to be asked to take on the role as Head Teacher of English despite the role being outside of her faculty role. At the beginning of her second year in the role, she has developed a tight-knit faculty that is knocking over many goals on their way to engaging students in English learning.

To vote for Tahlia Steward, click here.



Alicia Stiffle

Alicia Stiffle, Deputy Principal,  Kalbarri District High School

 With a proven ability to lead whole school improvement as a lead teacher, Alicia  was just appointed as the Deputy Principal at Kalbarri District High School. She brings fresh, new and cutting edge ideas to the table as a leader, including creating the best classroom environment to assist students with severe epilepsy, acquired brain injuries and severe anxiety. She seeks to build upon the strengths of her team and harness their skills to ensure all educators thrive in their roles.

To vote for Alicia Stiffle, click here.



Established Leader


The Established Leader is awarded to a woman who has at least 2 years of leadership experience. She thrives in her role and shows exemplary passion for her industry or field. She is an advocate for the success of others and uses her voice to create opportunities for younger women in her field. 



Sarah Bailey

Sarah Bailey, CFO, Company Secretary and Company Director, Penten

Sarah played a pivotal role in Penten being awarded the Telstra Business of the Year 2018 and AFR Most Innovative Company in 2019 and also founded a successful CFO advisory business for SMEs in Australia. When Sarah decided to have family, she felt she was not being offered the same opportunities as before and upon return to work after the birth of her second child, she created a successful job share partnership with another colleague. Sarah was able to show this was a beneficial way to allow women to be appointed to roles in line with their career trajectory but also with the desire to not work a standard full time, 40 hour week and is a strong advocate for flexible working.

To vote for Sarah Bailey, click here.



Corrine Bot

Corinne Bot, Founder and CEO,  Polyglot Group

Having moved to Australia from France 4 years prior, Corinne created Polyglot Group 25 years ago from the ground up with limited English (at the time), a quirky French accent (still has this) & a will to help people & companies grow together.As a mother & businesswoman, Corinne was not taken seriously and constantly had to overcome a need to prove herself worthy. Corinne’s ultimate mission & passion is to help others grow and she is always coaching & mentoring her team so as to guide them throughout their own career paths.

To vote for Corrine Bot, click here.



Angela Coble

Angela Coble, Director Business Technology, Johnson & Johnson Medical

Angela leads the Women’s Leadership & Inclusion Advancement pillar for Johnson & Johnson in AsPAC, co-leads the country initiative for Johnson & Johnson A/NZ and created the start-up leadership series with CEC for Women in Tech. Ange is creating real change that helps women, and men, work through the challenges faced in the workplace. Through her leadership, she encourages diversity of thought, gender and work habits – leading by example in her daily life. Angela recently made it to the top 20 CIOs in Australia and will no doubt be in the top 10 in the years to come. Her energy and drive to create change and challenge stereotypes is unlimited.

To vote for Angela Coble, click here.



Jordan Foster

Jordan Foster,  Managing Director, ySafe Social Media & Cyber Safety Experts

When she was a then Psychology Masters student, Jordan Foster founded ySafe in 2013 to provide high-quality and evidence based cyber safety education for parents. Jordan experienced certain bias when it came to industry and her age. Despite this, Jordan’s passion and work spoke for itself, and before long she was delivering sessions on cyber safety and effective device management to hundreds of students across Australia. Jordan understands that the essence of true leadership is tapping into the strengths and skills of her team, and as a result constantly strives to create meaning in the workplace for each of her colleagues.

To vote for Jordan Foster, click here.



Mofoluwaso Ilevbare

Mofoluwaso Ilevbare,  HR Director, Procter and Gamble Australia New Zealand and Founder,  Women Connected by Purpose and Thrive in Heels

Mofoluwaso has worked and lived across 4 continents across her career and has over 18 years of experience in the manufacturing, pharmaceutical & non-profit sectors as an Executive Coach and HR Thought Leader. She is a passionate advocate for more women in the boardroom and lives this passion as a Career Growth & WorkLife Balance Coach, WIMBIZ mentor, FATE Foundation Mentor, Cherie Blair Foundation Women Mentor, Mentor for Queens Young Leaders, U.K. She has founded two non-profit organisations, Women Inspiring Women NG and Women Connected by Purpose with members in Nigeria, UK, US, and Switzerland which works to empower widows, young girls and orphanages to create a bigger better future for themselves and their communities.

To vote for Mofoluwaso Ilevbare, click here.



Paula Kelly Paull

Paula Kelly Paull,  Manager Learning Communities,  Hobsons Bay City Council

Working across Corporate, State and Local Government Paula has moved through her career as a working mum to become a recognised leader in the educator and community development space.Paula looks for the strengths in others and shines a light on those attributes. She encourages the people she manages to take calculated risks, to back themselves, to trust their judgement and to always seek assistance or ask for help. Her grown up daughters say she is their hero, greatest champion, and role model – which Paula receives as the most significant of accolades, having not had the benefit of the support of family growing up.

To vote for Paula Kelly Paull, click here.



Sallie Stone, CEO,  Hart International Australia

Sallie Stone stands out, not only because she is a tremendous CEO and majority owner of the Australia arm of Hart International, but also because she excels in the male-dominated industry of risk and security. She is dedicated to developing her employees as if they were family and goes out of her way to ensure their personal and professional goals are being met while working for Hart. She wants even her most recent hires to be thinking about their long-term goals and she dedicates time and resources to ensuring the company provides opportunities for them to achieve those goals.

To vote for Sallie Stone, click here.



Vanessa Trower

Vanessa Trower,  Learning and Development Manager, GWA Group Limited

Vanessa’s family migrated from Palestine in the mid-’60s during the middle east conflict, making Vanessa the first fluent English-speaking woman in her family. Vanessa learnt at a young age that having the support to enable learning was a key factor in the success in someone’s life, thus making this her life purpose and career. She graduated specialising in Training and Development, is the current NSW President for the Australian Training and Development professional membership organisation and is the Learning and Development Manager for GWA Group Limited. She volunteers with the Story Factory Writing Centre supporting Indigenous young people aged 7 to 17 in creative writing to develop the literacy skills that will allow them to flourish and shape a positive future. In 2018, she started her own training business ‘360enliven’ which started by running workshops for ‘over 50’s’ at a community centre to learn computer & social media networking skills to support career opportunities and their quality of life.

To vote for Vanessa Trower, click here.



Cecilia Vine

Cecilia Vine, Superintendent of Police, Queensland Police Service

Cecilia has over 29 years serving as a police officer and is currently appointed as a Superintendent, fifth highest rank in the organisation and one of only approximately 12 women holding one of these top positions in an organisation of 15,000+. Across her time at Queensland Police, she has broken the glass ceiling to improve the standing of other women within the organisation. She believes everyone has something to bring to the table that is unique, special and valuable and works to build a team of people who build each other up and transfer their skills sets to each other.

To vote for Cecilia Vine, click here.



It’s high time that we celebrate the successes of our fellow women and empower each other to achieve our goals. Vote for your candidate of choice for The Empowered Woman Awards 2020 now!

The Empowered Woman Awards 2020