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2021 IWIB Business Women’s Awards Finalists

Awards celebrate success real business happens

ILLAWARRA Women in Business will be recognising the success of all women in business at the annual IWIBBusiness Women’s Award day on Wednesday, May 12. This year marks the 13th IWIB Awards day!
IWIB director, Glenda Papac said, “We have had a record number of applicants this year, considering the impact COVID has had on a lot of businesses, it was overwhelming to see the applications come through.

“Once again a very high standard with business owners who have restructured their business and implemented new ways of operating to first of all survive through the pandemic and now thrive. “The business women of the Illawarra never cease to amaze me. There are a very high calibre of finalists from varied businesses, ranging from home-based to corporates and everything in between.

“We are proud to be showcasing the achievements and success of these businesswomen.”

Mrs Papac actively encourages women to enter all business awards, not only for the exposure amongst their peers and exposure throughout the community but also as an opportunity to give their business a “spring clean”. “When entering an award you look at where you have been in the past 12 months, where you are now and where you want your business to be heading in the future,” Mrs Papac said. “Entering an award can also help personal and professional development and potentially business growth.”

IWIB Award winners have gone on to be successful in the Business Chamber awards, and have then gone on to success at the state and national business award levels! “Entering the IWIB Awards has also been a confidence boost and encouraged our finalists to enter their own industry awards.

Entering the IWIB Awards is a journey and you just never know where it will take you,” Mrs Papac said. “Awards days would not happen if it wasn’t for the support of our valued sponsors.” The Awards event is set to be an exciting day for all in attendance with entertainment from Wollongong’s own Katherine Akele. Katherine is a talented and ambitious singer who has been performing throughout Sydney and the Illawarra for the last 15 years. “We are also delighted to
have Deputy Lord Mayor Cr Tania Brown join us again this year, presenting our award for “Champion Networker” which is sponsored by Destination Wollongong,” Mrs Papac said.

For more information on IWIB and upcoming events as well as networking opportunities for Illawarra business women (and men) go to the website at or connect with them on Facebook or Instagram.

SINCE 2006 IWIB (Illawarra Women in Business) has grown to become the largest women’s networking group in the Illawarra. IWIB director, Glenda Papac said, “The main objective of IWIB is to provide women (and men) with a first-class, professional networking forum, networking in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where they can strengthen their own network of business contacts. It’s about getting to know who we do business with and who we refer our clients and customers to.” IWIB provides the Illawarra with dynamic business networking attracting women and men from a diverse range of businesses throughout the Illawarra, from home based sole traders to corporates. Mrs Papac actively promotes corporate social responsibility amongst IWIB members, encouraging people to be more community minded. Illawarra Women in Business supports a different local charity at each Networking Lunch event, at the IWIB Awards day and also at the IWIB Conference day.

Mrs Papac said, “We believe we have to give back to the community, it’s not all about our own gains.” Throughout 2020, with COVID restricting networking, numbers went from nil to 10 but by the end of the year numbers had increased again – networking doesn’t stop at IWIB. Illawarra Women in Business were one of the first networking groups to meet via Zoom with Zoom IWIB Coffee Clubs being held regularly!

Their aim was to keep the community and business community connected during the time of lockdown where everything else ceased, seeing that people were isolated at home so needed contact and something for them to look forward to.

Mrs Papac ran 59 “one on one” Zoom interviews with a wide range of people including Matt Moran, Maggie Beer, Turia Pitt,Donny Galella and more, as well as many local business leaders. Networking Lunch events recommenced as soon as 10 people could gather together and these were watched on social media.

With a total number of 10 people they saw that size doesn’t matter, as many wonderful business relationships were formed and today they are still working together and referring work to each other. They had two high profile speaker events in 2020, starting the year with Michelle Payne, filling Villa D’oro with over 300 people (pre-COVID), then the inspiring Jana Pittman spoke at the IWIB Conference Day with 95 people, taking into account the four square metre rule!

High profile guest speakers are regularly invited to speak at IWIB; in April this year they invited the delightful Neale Whitaker and are in the process of engaging a high profile speaker for October this year.

Exploring creativity

“USING flowers to brighten your day” – the beauty of styled flowers in an arrangement as well as a quality gift or plants can make someone’s day special for any occasion. Brilliant Blooms is a bespoke florist and giftware store located in Balgownie, stocking a wide variety of fresh and preserved flowers, quality plants as well as stylish and unique gifts.
“We were established in 2017 as a mother and daughter duo, opening our business while I was still attending school so it was massive,” co-owner Jess Turney said. “It was a busy time in my life, especially as I accelerated my TAFE training and completed a two-year course in one year so that I could still have time to focus on my final year of school. “With strong ambition and drive we were able to create a quality business within the Illawarra area.”

The duo found that there was a need for flowers and gifts within the Balgownie area and so they have created a welcoming atmosphere within their shop, catering to all in terms of their services and products.

Over the years of trading, they have expanded their services to include flowers for weddings, corporate functions, birthdays, funerals and other occasions, as well as introducing quality and stylish product lines within their store. “I believe I am a finalist for both Young Business Woman of the Year and Best Small Business of the Year,” Jess said.

“The business we have created is one of creativity, progress and exceptional service, it’s full of variety with an inviting and happy atmosphere. “I am a young woman with ambition, passion, drive and creativity, always striving to help others where possible and using my business as a platform to do so.” Focusing on the fact that they are a unique florist and giftware business, they address the needs of both modern
and traditional floristry.

They have Australian made and manufactured product lines within their store, supporting
those within other small Australian businesses. “We are always looking out for new and innovative ideas to showcase our business and our creative abilities,” she said. “At the present time there is just mum and I, however in the near future we will provide someone with the same opportunity I received and put on a trainee.

“Presently we are expanding our business to include workshops for dried arrangements, wreath making workshops and florist artistry.

“We are currently putting together a calendar for bookings – we feel excited about this new venture for our business to provide others the opportunity to explore their creativity using flowers with our guidance and mentoring.”Find out more at or call 0484 302 022.

Innovating logistics

STARTING a new business can be a hard road to navigate at the best of times but throw in a worldwide pandemic and it takes the task to a whole new level. These are the odds that Coast to Coast (C2C) Logistics, an organically grown,
family-owned freight forwarder and customs broker, faced.

Owner/operator Kathy McDonogh began business operations in September 2019, mere months before COVID-19 hit. However, despite the many challenges including border closures and worldwide lockdowns, C2C Logistics not only survived, but they thrived.

As a result they have been named as a finalist in two categories – Best New Business and Customer Focus – at the IWIB Business Women’s Awards. C2C Logistics support local businesses to navigate their way through the complexities of customs, quarantine, ports, terminals, warehousing and transport. Working closely with those businesses, they help to optimise their supply chain by improving systems and allowing the process to run as smoothly as possible – from their factory floor to the end consumer.

Businesses benefit from an efficient supply chain by saving money and having reduced stress and complications along the way. “Customer focus is the bones of our business. C2C was built from the ground up to mitigate the stress and worry of our customers and simplify their lives when it comes to international trade and logistics,” Kathy said. “That mission was amplified through the global pandemic and meant we had to show up for our customers more than ever.

We worked around the clock to support local businesses, holding their hands through such stressful times, and navigating unheard of changes to the way business is done across the globe.

“We place a lot of value on the IWIB Awards and being a finalist gives us some amazing recognition for the resilience we have displayed over the last 12 months.” After working high profile and demanding careers in Sydney, Kathy and husband Paul were on a quest for a better work/life balance when they started C2C. Kathy also wanted to work in the Illawarra community where she was already an active member as the president of the Illawarra Stingrays (an all Women’s NPL Football Club) and as a guest lecturer at UOW.

“With over 30 years’ experience in our respective fields, we felt it was our time to back ourselves, go out on our own and open C2C Logistics Pty Ltd,” Kathy said. “I want to build a legacy in the Illawarra that ensures a long term, viable logistics company in our region, so the next generation can have a successful career in logistics and study an MBA and/ or Masters in Supply Chain and Logistics at UOW.

“I believe right now we are on the cusp of a boom for the Illawarra region.” What sets C2C apart from their competitors is their commitment to their customers and the local Illawarra community.

“Our connections in the local community and the relationships we have built with our customers have been paramount for us, and we are so grateful for the collaboration opportunities that have been a part of our journey so far,” Kathy said.

“We are very excited to have been awarded the logistics side of the new Jamberoo Action Park ride to be installed and operational in 2021, which will see us benefit from the customs clearance and logistics management of this project.” For more information on C2C Logistics visit the website at

Personalising Home care

AS we get older, everyday tasks can start feeling a little more strenuous. But that doesn’t mean you’ll need to leave your home behind. Home Instead Wollongong, a specialist provider of high quality in home care for older people, can help you manage living at home by supporting you in any way it is needed.

The business provides flexible home care options, including government funded Home Care Packages. They can provide one to 24 hour home care services and specialise in dementia and palliative care support for people that want to remain in their own home. Home Instead Wollongong was established in 2014 by mother/daughter duo Harriet Cox and Su Middleton.”Our mission is to enhance the lives of ageing adults and our vision is to be the best home care provider in the Illawarra,” Harriet said.

“Our business was established after we saw a lack of personalised home care services available to our grandmother and our family business is dedicated to her memory.”

Home Instead is a finalist in the Best Business category at the IWIB Business Women’s Awards. In 2016 they were the winners of the IWIB Best New Business Award and have also been a finalist for the Illawarra Business Chamber Best Business Award. Many of their CAREGivers have also won awards for their incredible achievements and dedication to their clients. “As a proud business owner servicing the Illawarra community, I am proud to be a finalist particularly when we’re in the company of such high achieving local businesses,” Harriet said.

Being a locallyowned family business Home Instead insists on being personally available to all of their clients and providing a service that is truly reflective of their needs and wishes. “We’re a team of 120 dedicated individuals but we’ve retained the customer service reflective of a small local business.

We will never lose sight of what’s important to us – our team and our clients,” Harriet said. “Our team are a diverse range of people with varying professional backgrounds. “Our strategy is to recruit people that have genuine passion for supporting people.

With a four phase recruitment process, an in house mandatory training program and a supportive system of CARE Ambassadors and mentors, our team are well supported in the work they do.” Home Instead keeps their prices affordable and they funnel their spending into continuous improvement of their CAREGivers and Key Players. They take personal responsibility for making a difference in the lives of their clients. For more information give Home Instead a call on 42956829 or go to the website at

Judging the IWIB Awards

WITH the calibre of women entering the IWIB Business Women’s Awards this year along with the way these women have steered their businesses through these extraordinary times, judging has been an exceptionally difficult process. IWIB director, Glenda Papac said, “The judges are the backbone to our Awards and we thank them for the time and commitment they put into this task, with some judging since our Awards commended in 2009!”

Lancaster Law & Mediation has been involved in the Awards for over five years and in that time has sponsored the Small Business category. Graham Lancaster said, “We have found that the quality of finalists for the Small Business category has been high and also always presents the difficulty that selecting winners means trying to find small differences between the finalists in order to award the prizes. “It has been a pleasure seeing businesses come back year after year and developing a growth strategy that sees success build upon success. It is also gratifying to hear stories of success and resilience, particularly during the coronavirus period.

“We wish we could give out more awards, as the finalists certainly deserve to be recognised, and we can only hope that they use the awards process to evaluate and assess the business and continue their success into the future.” Margaret Biggs, business development manager at the Zig Zag Hub has been involved in judging since the inception of the awards in 2009 and says that she looks forward to the judging process every year. “I really like to hear all the stories behind the applications and to see how far these amazing local women have progressed in their business.

It is so rewarding to hear of businesses going from strength to strength and especially when more jobs are being created and innovative ideas are being turned into profitable ongoing businesses.” Margaret said that the judging was always a very difficult task as the applicants come from a very diverse range of businesses.

2021 Awards judges: Tim Fares, Illawarra Business Chamber; Terry Widdicombe, IMB Bank; Dianne Chalk, Chalk Financial Planning; Graham Lancaster, Lancaster Law & Mediation; Joanne Danckwardt, One Agency Property Agents; Narelle Hawken, Access Law Group; Delyse Del Turco & Anthony Wise, Better Business Accounting; Diana Foye, Foye Legal; Lisa Mc- Cosker & Phil Alcock, Commonwealth Business Banking; Vi Blazevska & Ioanne Alexopoulos, ANZ Commercial Banking; Margaret Biggs, Zig Zag Hub; Maree Kerr, Jenny Hirst Apprenticeship, Careers Australia; Virginia Wren, Illawarra ITeC; John Kerr, Innovation Campus; Tracey Pascoe, Destination Wollongong and Leanne Smith, Warrigal.

Growth and Success

TERRY Widdicombe from IMB Bank has been an IWIB Awards sponsor and judge since the awards inception in 2009 when there were only two categories. Terry has predominantly judged the Young Business Woman of the Year category and has also judged the Best New Business category twice – due to conflicts of interest.

Terry has been there from the start and has seen these awards evolve from two categories in 2009 to the 2021 format of now having 11 different categories. While his judging experience with IWIB probably equates to over 100 interviews, he has walked out of a large number of these just blown away with what these women have been through to get to where they are, what they have started with, their work ethic and overwhelmingly their positivity – even this year coming off the back of what has clearly been the hardest year in business all of the finalists would have ever experienced. In an interview in April with IWIB director Glenda Papac he said, “Entering these awards is not just about trying to win, that is great, but in the Young Business Woman category having the opportunity to tell your whole story, reflect not only on the past 12 months but your achievements since you started in business – this can be a very gratifying experience that you would probably not stop to think about if you were not preparing for an awards submission.

“When Terry reflected on his judging experiences at IWIB and considered the many winners of the Young Business Woman of the Year category over the last 13 years, he was very proud of where each one of them was today and how successful they had become. Particularly considering some of their stories and their combined list of achievements, names such as: Angela Saville, Amy Harper, Natalie Viselli, Emily Squires, Lisa Burling, Sarah Nolan, Karen Meiring de Gonzalez and Diana Foye. While Terry also judges the Illawarra Business Awards he commented on how great it was to see the finalists in the IWIB Awards and in particular the category winners going on to win other local, regional and state awards. He also said how gratifying it was to actually co-judge this category with previous winners on three occasions.

IMB Bank has been proud to be associated with these awards since 2009 and while always supporting women in business, in March this year IMB Bank was recognised by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE). One of only 17 new entrant organisations Australia wide to be awarded, this citation is an important milestone in their strategy as a business, as it recognises IMB Bank’s commitment to creating an inclusive workplace that respects and values everyone as individuals.

Holistic approach to care

IOT is a group of highly experienced occupational therapists, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists, servicing the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. They offer a variety of services that support clients to improve their mobility, increase their participation and becomemore independent. This includes equipment prescription, home modifications, functional assessments, workplace assessments, mobility training, strength and conditioning, neuromuscular training and exercise counselling.

IOT was developed by general manager Marie Lucas, who has been named a finalist in the Business Woman of the Year category of the IWIB Business Women’s Awards. “Having worked as an occupational therapist for 30 years, across many work environments, I know what I enjoyed about specific organisations, what brought out the best in me, and what did not work so well,” Marie said. “I applied this experience to the development of IOT, which takes a holistic approach to client care and brings together practitioners of different disciplines. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists work as a team to ensure each IOT client is well looked after and provided with world class service.”

IOT use industry best practice and the latest technology and approaches to solve client challenges. They began working in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Lifetime Care space in 2017 and their team has extensive clinical experience working with these clients. IOT understands that each client is different and requires an individualised approach to aid them on their recovery journey. “We assist NDIS participants to better understand their own body, their particular needs and support them to achieve their goals so they can get more out of life,” Marie said.

The business is growing rapidly and now has a team of over 30 allied health practitioners. They have been selected for their dedication to client-centred outcomes, focusing on treating the person, not the condition. “I am very proud of our team and the workplace culture we have established, the business is delivering excellent results for our clients and is growing exponentially,” Marie said. “My goal at IOT is to maintain a work environment and culture in which staff can genuinely thrive. This includes ensuring they feel comfortable giving feedback to management to help improve our services, or to address any issues impacting our capacity to provide high quality therapy services.

“I believe strongly in supporting professional development. This approach has enabled IOT to recruit and retain very talented and highly motivated therapists.” IOT recently opened a new state-of-the-art Capacity Building Centre specifically designed to help people with disabilities. It’s the first of its kind in Wollongong. It provides a centre with state-of-the-art technology and facilities for people with disabilities to come and build functional capacity in a safe, inclusive environment and to help them improve their quality of life. Marie said she is honoured
and delighted to be selected as a finalist in the IWIB Awards.

“It recognises the hard work I have invested, with the support of our amazing team, to provide the highest quality service for clients and demonstrates the positive contribution we are making to the community.” For more information go to the website at, phone 4284 9773 or find them on Facebook.

Goods for a greater good

When Alison Covington discovered in 2012 that brand new goods were going to waste, she couldn’t ‘un-know this’ and made a dramatic career change to do something about it.”I knew I had to use my corporate skills for good, so I founded Good360 Australia with a personal goal to deliver $1 billion of goods to Australians who need them most,” Alison said.

“Since launching in 2015, Good360 has matched 19,713,047 items, with a value of RRP $162.02m, to Australians in need.” Good360 matches surplus brand-new goods donated by businesses to Australians in need – products including hygiene and toiletries, clothing and shoes, toys and educational supplies.

Since 2019, Australia has been hammered by consecutive disasters – bushfires, drought, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic – and Good360 has ‘pivoted’ to provide disaster relief. When the country is experiencing record levels of unemployment and the charity and not-for-profit (NFP) sector are under such immense pressure, it makes sense to match this surplus to need.

“Disaster relief is more than food. Our approach is the right goods to the right people at the right time. Good360 supports all Australian NFPs and disadvantaged schools, with over 2700 plus nationally and 115 in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven,” Alison said. “Brand-new surplus items should not be going to that ‘place out the back’ when there is so much need in Australia, and these goods should be receiving a ‘first life’ lifting up the people who need it most.”

Good360 has been named a finalist in the IWIB Awards and Alison is hoping that the recognition will encourage other local charities and disadvantaged schools to register and receive products to support our local community. “I’d like to thank the IWIB judges for awarding me this finalist opportunity, and increasing awareness of Good360 in my local community,” Alison said.

“Good360 has a national impact, supporting almost 3000 charities and schools around Australia. I’m proud to live and work here in the Illawarra and perhaps inspire other women in the region to ‘make good happen’.” Good360 are a small team of 30, who punch well above their weight, matching 13 items a minute to people in need all across Australia.

“During the pandemic when so many people lost employment, I was able to secure sufficient philanthropic funding to double the team from 15 to 30 to meet the immense need of our members,” Alison said.

“My personal goal is matching $1 billion of goods to people in need by 2025, but I can’t do that alone. I need Australians to know about the problem of excess retail products and the solution Good360 provides.”

Published by Wednesday May 12 2021


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