Carolyn Creswell bought the homemade muesli business for just $1000 in 1992, transforming it into a $50 million business that exports to 32 countries.
Creswell now employs 130 staff and uses ingredients from Australian farmers and packaging suppliers to stock domestic and international retailers and airlines.
Other winners included Maureen Clifford, founder of IT consultancy Ndevr Pty Ltd, Cynthia Whelan, CEO for Australia and NZ of Barclays Bank, Sandy Pitcher, deputy chief executive of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in SA, and Chandra Clements, CEO of Sentis.
According to Telstra group managing director for innovation, products and marketing and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador Kate McKenzie, this year’s awards were more difficult to judge than ever, given the calibre of the women nominated.
“Carolyn Creswell has a great business model and work ethic. The Awards judges described her as a hands-on leader with strong business skills in a competitive sector. She’s an articulate communicator, an inspiration to women of all ages and she’s also passionate about being a great mum,” Ms McKenzie said.
The awards also recognised Maureen Clifford, who, as a widow with two young children, pulled herself out of poverty to work for Fisher & Paykel in New Zealand and Australia, rising to GM of Finance before establishing her IT consultancy Ndevr Pty Ltd in Melbourne in1998.
Clifford won the Nokia Business Innovation Award for developing an automated environmental accounting and auditing system, which was bought by US software giant Oracle.
She also launched Ndevr’s environmental consulting arm, which assists businesses with sustainability programs and greenhouse gas reporting compliance. The system is now used by large Australian construction companies and is available around the world.