Veuve Clicquot Australia


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Media Release: March 7, 2006


One hundred of Australia’s most successful and inspirational female business leaders will honour one of their own at the 2006 Veuve Clicquot Award Lunch in Sydney on International Women’s Day, Wednesday, March 8.

The Veuve Clicquot Award is a global award, presented in 16 countries. The Australian winner for 2006 will be announced at Wednesday’s lunch. The five finalists are:

Sarina Bratton – Founder and Managing Director of Orion Expedition Cruises, Sarina is the world’s first female founder of a shipping line. In fact, she’s founded two start-up lines. The first, Norwegian Capricorn, was a joint venture which sailed to immediate success, but was dissolved after the hostile takeover of her major partner. She was devastated but remained true to her dream of starting her own line, showcasing her own country as a destination. With the entrepreneurial drive that had taken her to the top of Holland, America and Cunard cruise lines, Sarina started again. She went in search of new opportunities, new destinations, new venture capitalists and private equity partners – and a new ship. Two years ago her vision became reality with the launch of “The Orion”, a five star boutique ship which offers a unique ‘soft adventure’ cruising experience, taking to the world pristine wilderness areas of Australia and beyond.

Zahava Elenberg – Zahava has founded three companies – all very different, but they all work together and they all reflect her passion for the man-made environment and the way we interact with it. One designs commercial real estate; the other out-fits it, and the third develops it. Zahava started Elenberg Fraser Architecture, in her final year of university, a business which has won much critical acclaim for its projects. The second, Move In, became an instant success story, when she spotted an opportunity to outfit rental apartments with everything from furniture to cutlery – most of it now designed and manufactured by Zahava and her team. The third, Zacamoco, develops high-end boutique properties. Zacamoco’s first two projects were Huski Lodge in Falls Creek and Normanby Chambers in Collins Street.

Sue Ismiel – is the Creator and CEO, of Nad’s Hair Removal and Executive Chair, Lifesource. Sue founded Nad’s Natural Hair Removal Gel at her kitchen sink. She couldn’t find a hair removal product that wouldn’t irritate her daughter’s sensitive skin, so she invented her own. Sue’s friends encouraged her to sell her ‘green goo’ commercially, and Nad’s is now a household name in Australia and America. It’s the basis of a multimillion dollar business and helps Sue fund her vision of a healthier Australia for women – as well as various projects in her birthplace Assyria. Her family migrated to Australia when she was 15, but she grew up in a culture where women are not regarded as business leaders and says one of her greatest challenges was her middle-eastern heritage.

Phoebe Lane – is the Managing Director of PKL Personnel. At the age of 25, Phoebe Lane set up her business armed with self-described “ignorant confidence”. She established PKL as a force in the highly competitive recruitment world and 10 years later, the company has revenue sales of over $18 million. Its emphasis is on personally tailored recruitment strategies for candidates and clients. Sydney born, she married cotton and wheat farmer Ben Clift and lives on their property near Tamworth in rural NSW. Despite the distance between home and her two offices in Sydney and Melbourne – and, with the aid of technology – Phoebe is a hands-on managing director actively involved in the development of her business. The mother of two young sons, she epitomises a women who has found effective ways to balance her business and family life as well as a diverse range of personal interests such as tennis, golf, gardening, horse racing, book club and fishing.

Varina Nissen - is the Managing Director, Manpower Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining Manpower, Varina was Australian CEO of global PR firm Burson Marstellar and before that, the Director of Corporate Services for Sydney Airports Corporation Ltd. Since joining Manpower in February 2003, she has implemented a series of radical growth strategies which have sent the company’s profits soaring. Varina’s emphasis throughout her career has been to provide strategic focus for the organisation while implementing organization change programmes. She has an impressive track record of restoring profitability and revenue growth to organisations in the UK and Australian markets.

The winner will be the woman judged to best exemplify the qualities of Madame Clicquot (1777-1866), whom the Award celebrates. Widowed at 27, Madame Clicquot defied the tradition of the day and fought to inherit and run her husband's business. She was a visionary, risk taker, leader, astute business woman, an opportunist and an optimist - entrepreneurial, daring, brave, tenacious, resilient, innovative and intuitive. With these qualities she built the international champagne house Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

Members of the Australian judging panel are The Hon. Justice Annabelle Bennett AO; Deeta Colvin; Janet Holmes à Court AO (a previous winner of the award); David Murray; Marilynne Paspaley; Dawn Robertson; and on behalf of Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Robert Remnant.

The Veuve Clicquot Award Lunch, on Wednesday March 8, begins at 12.30pm with the winner announcement at 2pm. A winner media release and photographs will be available shortly afterwards.

For media enquiries, please contact
Mary-Anne Dibbs – 0419 288 102

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