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Philanthropist takes home top business award

The 2012 Telstra NSW Business Woman of the Year award winner was announced in Sydney this week, in front of a 600-strong crowd of peers and supporters.

Audette Exel took home the top award, for her contributions as the founder of the globally-operating ISIS Group to the poor of Nepal and Uganda.

Exel’s boutique capital raising business deals with international institutional investors, and puts its profits toward funding non-profit foundations.

According to Exel, establishing a business in the corporate financial services sector solely to support people in extreme poverty was a huge challenge as it was a completely new approach.

“[Setting up the ISIS Group] and having the world of business hold hands with the world of development is the fulfilment of my dream of using my business skills to help others in need and affect social change,” she said.

Exel has many years of experience in the corporate banking world, having serves as the CEO of the Bermuda Commercial Bank in 1993. She later became Chair of the Bermuda Stock Exchange and was appointed to the Suncorp Board in 2012.

She established ISIS in 1998, and has given over $7 million over the past 14 years in support and emergency funding for about 20,000 people in extreme poverty.

Other winners at the awards included Cynthia Whelan, CEO and the first woman to head Barclay Bank’s local operations; Lee de Winton, Commander of one of the Defence Force’s most prestigious capabilities of expeditionary air bases; Liesl Capper, CEO of MyCyberTwin, a leader in artificial intelligence-based conversational robots; and Naomi Barber, a Disability Services Australia manager who supports people with a disability to find or keep employment.

Dynamic Business extends congratulations to all the nominees and winners in the 2012 Telstra Business Women of the Year awards. 


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Lorna Brett

Lorna Brett

Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/dynamicbusiness">Twitter @DynamicBusiness</a>

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