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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Meet Canberra’s business women of the year for 2020

Local chef and owner of Daana Indian restaurant in Curtin, Sunita Kumar, was named the ACT’s 2020 Business Woman of the Year at the Canberra Women in Business (CWB) Awards on Thursday 5 November.

Ms Kumar, who opened Daana in 2015 with her husband Sanjay, said it feels “unbelievable” to be recognised for the award by the business community.

“It’s been quite a journey. From being a new migrant in 2012 to receiving the award last night,” Ms Kumar told Canberra Weekly.

“And to be able to stand in front of so many people in Canberra and receive that award means a lot.”

Ms Kumar said Daana is continuing to grow with COVID-19 meaning some plans had to be put on fast forward, like Daana’s Pantry, which she hopes to launch early next year with meal kits and ready-made dishes.

Continuing the hospitality theme, the 2020 Young Business Woman of the Year Award was awarded to Christina DeLay, co-founder and CEO of no-alcohol cocktail company, Altina Drinks.

With a PhD in biology, Ms DeLay founded Altina in 2018 with her husband, Alan, to offer consumers an alternative to alcohol that looks and tastes great.

“I’m really excited, it’s been such a tough year and to be recognised this year is a really nice way to end the year,” she said. 

“It’s really great for the whole team to be recognised as an award-winning business.

“For us that’s really what it’s all about, helping people discover that you can socialise and enjoy yourself without needing to have the alcohol.”

During a tumultuous year for many businesses, CWB President Maryanne Gore said this year’s award winners and finalists are doing “extraordinary things” in the local and wider community, especially against the backdrop of 2020.

“I’m truly in awe of the amazing women we have in our Nation’s Capital,” she said.

Taking out the Indigenous Business Woman of the Year Award was Rachelle Towart of Pipeline Talent, an Indigenous recruitment company that brings together departments and organisations with highly qualified Indigenous candidates 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.

Two local photographers were also recognised with awards on the night.  

Photographer Tracy Ryan took out the Innovation Business Woman of the Year Award for her work with virtual reality photography and Canberra Virtual Tours, while the Social Impact Business Woman of the Year Award went to weddings and portrait photographer Tracy Hebden, who is a long-term volunteer for Heartfelt and the ACT Rescue and Foster network.


Castlepoint manages your data safely

Did you know that the amount of data around the globe doubles every 11 hours?

Castlepoint CEO Rachael Greaves
Castlepoint CEO Rachael Greaves was a finalist in the 2020 Innovation Business Woman of the Year category.

We’re now living in a world that creates an enormous amount of data, and every regulated organisation in Australia needs to be managing data safely. That includes government, universities, healthcare, finance, and community organisations – anyone who must follow laws around privacy of personal information and confidentiality.

It’s an overwhelming task. But Castlepoint takes care of it using Artificial Intelligence.

Castlepoint is an award-winning solution to manage all of the information in your organisation, and CEO Rachael Greaves says no one else in the world has the technology capable of doing what Castlepoint does.

And rather than making jobs redundant, Castlepoint does the low value work so that humans, who are the most valuable assets, can take that data and turn it into strategy.

“All through this pandemic, everyone has been hurting. In terms of budget, everyone is losing money. We have to gain efficiencies. But we don’t do that by letting people go and replacing them with machines,” Rachael says.

And where did the name come from?

“Imagine you’re in a castle on top of a hill and you can see everything that’s happening in your network kingdom,” Rachael says. “When you have all that information you have a command and control position.”

“You know everything about your kingdom, or network, and you can apply those rules from within the castle.

“We want people in our kingdom to just go about their work without extra labour or worry about things like legal retention requirements, risk management, FOI discovery and legislative concerns.”

With Castlepoint, users can just be productive.

In a new podcast and video series, Rachael hosts fascinating conversations with leaders in the public and private sector about data, information security and innovation. 

Head to www.castlepoint.systems or call 1300 996 905 to learn more.

banner with awards won
Based in Canberra, Castlepoint is an award-winning solution to manage all of the information in your organisation, safely and securely.

black and white photo of Rachelle Towart
Since starting her Indigenous recruitment agency four years ago, Rachelle Towart has grown Pipeline Talent from a microbusiness in her own home to employing six staff in their Kingston office.

Pipeline Talent: a thriving Indigenous business

Rachelle Towart of Pipeline Talent was named Indigenous Business Woman of the Year at last week’s 2020 Canberra Women in Business Awards.

An Indigenous recruitment company that brings together departments and organisations with highly qualified Indigenous candidates for management and executive roles, Ms Towart was inspired to start her business four years ago after she became aware of how low Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander hiring rates were across Australia’s corporate and government sectors.

“I woke up the next day and said ‘I’m going to be a recruiter’ and that’s been a difficult challenge because no one tells you how to be a recruiter,” she said.

“Good project management, good communication and good relationships have been the key, and it’s also hard work.”

Starting out on her own in a home office, Pipeline Talent grew to move into a shared office and then a bigger shared space before 12 months ago moving into their own office in Kingston.

crowd full of people
Rachelle Towart of Pipeline Talent was named the Indigenous Business Woman of the Year at the 2020 Canberra Women in Business Awards on Thursday 5 November.

The flourishing business now employs six staff.

“We haven’t been affected by COVID, which is good, we’ve been building on business,” Ms Towart said.

“To make things work, we’ve been looking at how to not pivot the business but push the business to make it bigger and better so when corporations and government are looking for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander talent, they come to us.”

Another point of different for Pipeline Talent is that they provide their candidates with their first 100 days’ coaching as part of the placement.

“We’ve not had to use a recruitment replacement guarantee because of the 100-day coaching we provide,” Ms Towart said.


Small Business of the Year Capital Psychology Clinic innovates the way forward

Like any innovative business, Dr Eryn Davies and Jenna Keen – joint recipients of the 2020 Canberra Women in Business Small Business Woman of the Year award – saw a gap and filled it.

Both Eryn and Jenna are clinical psychologists educated at the University of Canberra, experienced in Canberra’s public health system and now they are the brains trust behind Capital Psychology Clinic.

Their diverse team of psychologists and administration staff is guided by their strong female leadership, their commitment to delivering high-level care, and a strong team culture and work life balance for their staff.

Eryn said the year that was 2020 had pushed mental health and psychological services to the forefront, reduced the stigma surrounding mental health and drove the industry to modernise service delivery.

“Our team has worked hard and thought outside of the box to help as many people as possible,” she said.

“COVID has lowered the stigma and more people are willing to consult.

“I want to acknowledge the pressures of our frontline services, and people dealing with financial effects of the pandemic.”

Eryn and Jenna have worked hard to meet their increased demand by producing online support including e-books, social media support and telehealth, which they say has been a game changer.

They service the wider community for the full suite of adult psychological services including parenting support and counselling.  

They specialise in young adult and children’s therapy, with social skills, ADHD and Autism assessments and a range of innovative approaches to therapy.

Their group therapy options include a focus on Lego, Secret Agent Society, the Peers program and getting out in the real world for activities such as rock climbing, games and bowling.

Capital Psychology Clinic has built strong networks with the Canberra community including the
education sector, providing opportunities for masters level students.


Authentic Indian cuisine at Daana

With continued success for Indian restaurant, Daana, co-owner and chef Sunita Kumar adds 2020 Canberra Businesswoman of the Year to her and husband Sanjay’s growing list of achievements. The pair now turn their focus to reviving Daana Catering, after operations came to a halt due to COVID-19 restrictions. First launched in May 2019, the multi-cuisine catering business takes on business  and private clients for all occasions, with a unique and fun twist on catering – think Chicken Tikka Puffs or Masala Paneer Croissant Sandwich alongside your known favourites. Ready to get back to serving delightfully different food, Daana Catering offers the best of both worlds for your catering needs, with their chef curated pre-set packages or the option of choosing your own from their listed menu items. So, this festive season if you are looking for some quality catering give Daana a call!

The chef duo love new challenges and are working towards the launch of their new line of business, Daana’s Pantry.  Meal kits with pre-marinated meats, pre-cut veggies and their blend of portioned spices and also a choice of chef prepared Ready Meals. The exciting new business is set to launch in early 2021 and will  provide jobs to those with special needs and employment barriers  across a range of tasks like packaging and delivery.

front of daana restaurant at night

Renew and refresh at Riana’s

Riana’s Health and Skincare Clinic offers a full suite of skincare services, including IPL, cosmetic tattooing and the increasingly popular dermaplaning.

An expert in the field of skin treatments, and particularly dermaplaning, owner Riana Janse van Rensburg is a leader in the beauty industry. She has offered dermaplaning services at her clinic since 2013, helping her clients achieve the skin of their dreams.  

Dermaplaning is a manual form of exfoliation that involves scraping away the dead skin skills from the epidermis, to renew the skin and leave it looking smooth and flawless. The treatment can also be used to remove any unwanted hair on the face.

It’s suitable for all types of skin, even sensitive, and can be repeated as often as each month to keep the skin looking bright and rejuvenated all year-round.

Riana is a highly regarded expert in the field, who also provides dermaplaning training and products to other clinics as the owner of DermaplanePro Australia. In 2018, Riana was inducted into the Australian Beauty Industry Awards (ABIA) Hall of Fame for her work in shaping the beauty industry and her contribution to the field of dermaplaning.

Corner of Reed Street North and Scollay Street, Greenway ACT


Solace Creations: better than ever

Karen Porter
During COVID restrictions, Karen Porter took the opportunity to make over the Solace Creations showroom in Fyshwick, which will celebrate its official reopening on 25-27 November.

2015 winner of Canberra Business Woman of the Year, Karen Porter owns and operates Solace Creations Double Glazing and five years after taking home the top prize, Karen is back as the proud sponsor of the Small Business Woman of the Year Award.

Karen decided that after 14 years in business it was time to give back to the organisation that gave her so much support.

“I truly believe in reaching down and pulling other women up. And help them to become awesome too,” Karen says.

Karen’s involvement in Canberra Women in Business CWB) has helped her through a more than a decade in the construction industry, and the gender challenges that come with that.

She says all the help from her amazing female mentors and her CWB networks means she’s not just survived but thrived.

Being a small business owner is a point of pride for Karen who loves “making her own way” in this world.

“I might work 80 hours a week, but I love it and it’s worth it.”

Solace Creations has been in Fyshwick for around five years, but when COVID arrived on the scene, Karen took the opportunity to completely make over her business premises.

It’s out with the old for Karen’s demolished showroom and with an official reopening on 25, 26, 27 November, Karen says Solace Creations are emerging from COVID, levelling up and coming back better than ever.

W: solacecreations.com.au


Kristine Hewett
Kristine Hewett of Adamus Nexus was a finalist in the Social Impact Business Woman of the Year Award.

Adamas Nexus expands

Adamas Nexus is a division of Philanthropize, a local company with the overarching desire to help women and their communities realise their potential through support groups, products, services and social enterprise.

Co-founders Kristine and Keron are happy to announce the Adamas Nexus DVA support meetings will be expanded over the next year, and another Philanthropize division ‘A Fan for Every Bag’ is about to launch.

This new project will work towards breaking the taboo around menopause by starting conversations around what is a very difficult process for women. The simple hand fan offers simple relief for hot flushes, one of the most prevalent symptoms of menopause.

The divisions within Philanthropize will all work together, with funds raised by A Fan for Every Bag being directed to support Adamas Nexus DVA support groups. 

Find out more at:  www.philanthropize.com.au


Christine Marr head shot
Bookssorted was founded 15 years ago by 2019 CWB Business Woman of the Year, Christine Marr.

Bookssorted: payroll service with a mission

Bookssorted is a payroll company with a mission to help long-term contractors across Canberra make the most of their income through increased knowledge, understanding, trust and engagement with real people who give a damn.

Founded 15 years ago by 2019 CWB Business Woman of the Year, Christine Marr, Bookssorted works with contractors to support their needs; they do not believe in one size fits all.

For one flat fee of 1.75%, Bookssorted supports contractors (especially those working in IT) to maximise their pay through salary sacrifice, rainy day accounts and a wealth of other payroll services.

As a people-first organisation, Bookssorted has a social impact initiative that provides $1 per pay to Lifeline Canberra to help Lifeline answer more calls, train more crisis supporters and continue to support people in crisis in our community. And they donate each dollar from their pockets/profit, not from their contractors’ pays. Bookssorted contractors take pride in the fact that by simply using Bookssorted’s payroll services, they are contributing to community support and resilience. They are making an impact with their payroll provider choice.

Since the initiative’s inception in March this year, Bookssorted has donated $9,894 to Lifeline Canberra – funding 380 life-changing calls.

If you want a payroll service that gives a damn, reach out and say hi—[email protected].


Canberra Secrets Personalised Tours

Having won the Micro Business Award in the 2019 Canberra Women in Business Awards, Marg Wade of Canberra Secrets Personalised Tours is back showcasing the best of Canberra.

“COVID meant stopping the tours until just recently, and it’s now back with renewed vigour,” she said.

“It’s been a really tough time, but the passion for promoting Canberra is ever present, and also, I’m passionate about collaborating with and promoting other small businesses.

“With my bespoke tours I create tours that include hidden talent and expertise of other small businesses that could include Gallery Gallivants, Funky City Walking Tours, nature tours to Tidbinbilla, local history and also wine and gintasting.”

Having just restarted her personalised tours this month, Marg said they’ve been well received, particularly “for people who want to be in their own small groups for bespoke tours”.

“There is so much to see and do and explore and enjoy in Canberra for residents and visitors.

“Residents who think they know it all, there’s a whole lot of Canberra still to discover … throw Marg a challenge for a great tour and you won’t be disappointed!”

canberra secrets car in front of parliament house

Canberra Virtual Tours

Tracy Ryan

After winning the Innovation Business Woman of the Year award in Canberra last week, rest assured Tracy Ryan from Canberra Virtual Tours is one of the best in the business.

Her 360-degree and standard photography can offer custom and branded virtual tours, Google virtual tours as well as commercial and corporate photography.

As the only female professional virtual reality photographer in Canberra, Tracy has taken on some of the national capital’s biggest names including Questacon, Bentspoke Brewing Co. and, most recently, the Y Stromlo Leisure Centre. Her work through the Y Stromlo Leisure Centre boasted virtual tours of the indoor and outdoor facilities, readily available for those looking to explore the facility in a COVID-safe way.

With eight years’ experience of being a Google Trusted Photographer under her belt, Tracy has created over 300 Google virtual tours.


Amanda Tobler – 2020 ACT Business Woman of the Year finalist

Amanda Tober

Community Services #1 (CS#1) provides emotional and practical support to the Canberra community and in the last financial year provided over 1.2 million hours of support.

CEO Amanda Tobler, a 2020 finalist for ACT Business Woman of the Year, says despite smoke, fire, hail storms and COVID-19, the organisation has not just survived but thrived this year.

Amanda says, “The amazing staff we have across our organisation ensured our services remained open every day providing the best quality and highest care and support to our community.

“We’ve also been going out to seniors and vulnerable communities to connect with them during isolation.”

CS#1’s Wellbeing Hub will be launched on 16 November at CS#1 by ACT Minister for Children, Youth and Families, Rachel Stephen-Smith.

“It’s a very exciting project for us and we’ve been working on it for three years, it’s come from the needs of community for the community.”

The Wellbeing Hub will offer a variety of services and launch three exciting programs – Learning for Wellbeing, Growing Healthy Kids, and Lead Well.

W: communityservices1.org


woman looking at a light
As well as stores in Phillip and Belconnen in the ACT, Queanbeyan, Batemans Bay and Ulladulla, Project Lighting has just expanded to Orange NSW.

Project Lighting outshines competitors

If you’re looking to save on air conditioning this summer while still keeping cool, best to head down to Project Lighting now to find sale prices on a variety of ceiling sweep fans. Whether it is aesthetics or high technology you’re looking for, Project Lighting has a vast range to suit your needs. Included in that range is the new Aeratron AE3+ DC Ceiling fan, boasting the title of the world’s quietest ceiling fan, for uninterrupted sleep.

Project Lighting outshines competitors with its three foundational pillars in the retail outlet, electric wholesale outlet and high voltage electricity supply area, each with synergy to the next.

With stores in Phillip and Belconnen in the ACT, Queanbeyan, and Batemans Bay and Ulladulla on the South Coast, you can be sure to find a store close to your home, or coast house, which covers all your needs. Project Lighting has also just expanded to Orange NSW.

W: projectlighting.com.au


This feature was created in partnership with these businesses. For more information on sponsored partnerships, click here.