In a year that has been challenging unlike any other, this year’s Canberra Women in Business Awards shone a light on the tenacity of the city’s businesswomen.
The ability to keep going despite significant COVID-19 setbacks, leading the way and lifting up others in a turbulent year were the core elements of the winners of the awards across six categories presented by Chief Minister Andrew Barr at the National Arboretum on Thursday night (5 November).
Sunita Kumar of Daana Original Food was named the ACT’s Business Woman of the Year. Chef and co-owner of Daana restaurant in Curtin, Ms Kumar leads the culinary direction of the award-winning Indian restaurant, designing the menu and managing the kitchen, as well as looking after the operational and financial aspects of the business.
Ms Kumar, alongside husband Sanjay, launched Daana in 2015 to change the “stereotypical Indian culinary scene in Canberra”, with a focus on South Indian and regional Indian food.
Christina DeLay, co-founder of Altina Drinks, was named the Young Business Woman of the Year. Ms DeLay founded the ‘zero-proof’ craft cocktail company with partner Alan Tse in 2018 in response to Australia’s drinking culture.
Canberra Women in Business President Maryanne Gore congratulated all 17 finalists and said the winners were selected from a strong field making the judges choices difficult.
“To be a finalist this year is a remarkable feat,” Ms Gore said. “Our winners and our finalists are all doing extraordinary things in our Canberra community and across Australia more broadly, especially with all that 2020 has brought us.
“COVID-19 responses, tenacity and innovation were areas every applicant reflected on this year and the motivation to keep going and to put people first was something that inspired the judges. I’m thrilled that we can shine a light on these women.”
Founded in 1992, Canberra Women in Business provides support and development opportunities for businesswomen in the Canberra region. The annual awards serve to encourage, acknowledge and reward the contributions and outstanding achievements with a focus on small to medium size businesses and individuals providing leadership and initiative to the Canberra region.
“In amongst a year that has included fires, hail, COVID-19 and home-schooling, Canberra women have shown such resilience and community spirit. As we gathered at the National Arboretum in what was one of the first face-to-face events some women had the opportunity to attend in some months, it was great to hear the stories of so many women and pay tribute to their strength,” Ms Gore said.
Indigenous Business Woman of the Year Award went to Rachelle Towart of Pipeline Talent, an Indigenous executive recruitment company that brings organisations and highly qualified Indigenous candidates together for management and executive roles.
The Small Business Woman of the Year award was jointly awarded to Dr Eryn Davies and Jenna Keen, co-directors of Capital Psychology Clinic.
Photographer Tracy Ryan took out the Innovation Business Woman of the Year Award for her work with virtual reality photography and Canberra Virtual Tours.
The Social Impact Business Woman of the Year Award went to photographer Tracy Hebden. Ms Hebden is a long-term volunteer for Heartfelt, a group of volunteer photographers who work with families who have experienced stillbirths, premature births or have children with serious and terminal illnesses.
Rubik3 COO Nadia Pessarossi said, “With all that this year has brought, we’re so inspired by what so many women in business in Canberra have done to support others and ensure the continuation of their businesses. We’re proud to support the Canberra Women in Business Awards and shed a light on the resilience and hard work of so many”.
“I encourage everyone to reflect on the strength they’ve shown this year under extraordinary circumstances. This, coupled with the amazing work of the Canberra community to come together and support each other, has been amazing.”
For more information on the awards visit Canberra Women in Business.