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MEDIA RELEASE: Wednesday 11 March 2009
Mandy Foley-Quin, CEO of Stedmans Hospitality, was today announced as the Australian winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2009, an award presented in 17 countries annually to honour exceptional women in business.
The winner was announced by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales in Sydney at the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award lunch, attended by one hundred of Australia’s most powerful and successful business leaders.
The Award commemorates Madame Clicquot, who was arguably the world’s first woman entrepreneur. Janet Holmes à Court, a previous winner of the Award and a member of the Australian judging panel, believes Mandy Foley-Quin is an outstanding winner. “Madame Clicquot’s courage and fortitude, her pursuit of excellence and innovation even when faced with immense challenges are a powerful inspiration for us in 2009, as we deal with the global financial crisis. The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award recognizes and celebrates these qualities, and Mandy possesses them in abundance. She has been a trailblazer in her industry, built a strong and enduring business and created a powerful service brand. Her commitment to training, her hands-on dedication to quality, combined with her ongoing contribution to the community singled her out.”
Nominations were received from throughout Australia, with judges selecting four finalists: Mandy Foley-Quin CEO, Stedmans Hospitality; Nicole Hollows, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Macarthur Coal; Elizabeth Lewis-Gray, Managing Director, Gekko Systems; and Naomi Simson, Founder and CEO, Red Balloon. Nicole Hollows was honoured at the lunch with the Veuve Clicquot “Rising Star”, an award recognized throughout the Clicquot world but never before awarded in Australia. Nicole Hollows was just 36 when, in 2007, she was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Macarthur Coal, a coal mining company with a turnover in excess of AUD$400 million. Under Nicole’s leadership, Macarthur Coal has grown from 50 employees to over 300 employees and delivered strong profits in a difficult environment. She is truly a rising star.
Mandy Foley-Quin arrived in Australia in the early 80s. In 1985, as a single mother and with two business partners, she established Stedmans, a one-stop shop assuming all responsibility for staff, superannuation and payroll for hospitality personnel on behalf of its clients. It revolutionized the hospitality industry and is now the model for many other similar businesses. Like Madame Clicquot, Mandy is a passionate believer in quality, and from the outset, she established strong internal training systems to ensure the quality and consistency of Stedmans service.
Stedmans is a successful and resilient business. It now employs over 1500 young people annually. In an industry where the service product is generic, Mandy has created a brand: Stedmans waiters have become the byword for top quality service, with a big profile in the lifestyle press. Mandy and her team have flown the flag for Australian hospitality at the Sydney, Athens, Torino and Beijing Olympic Games.
Not that the journey hasn’t been without its ups and downs. Asked what the defining moment of her career has been, Mandy will unflinchingly say, “Nearly losing my business.” But like Madame Clicquot, Mandy forged on when the going got tough. Through hard work and innovation, she rebuilt the business and is now taking it in new directions with a film extras division, Q Casting, and a talent management agency, Smith and Jones, which supplies stars for shows such as Home and Away, Neighbours and All Saints.
Mandy, who lives in Sydney with her husband and three children, devotes much of her energy to ensuring young people enjoy the opportunities they deserve. When she isn’t developing the careers of the 1500 young people under her leadership, Mandy is also a tireless supporter of youth charities, especially the Sydney Children’s Hospital. All Stedmans staff-members give a day of their time for charity each year; Mandy in fact donates weeks of her own time. At Stedmans, corporate social responsibility is a tangible everyday part of the work environment.
The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award honours Mandy Foley-Quin as a respected leader, an astute and intuitive operator, a resilient and tenacious businesswoman who truly embraces the spirit of Madame Clicquot.
As Australian winner of The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2009, Mandy will fly to Reims, France, in October to join past and present laureates from other countries at the Annual Veuve Clicquot Businesswomen's Meeting, where a vine will be christened in her name. She will also receive a bottle of La Grande Dame champagne every year on Madame Clicquot’s birthday.
The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award began in France in 1972 to commemorate Madame Clicquot, and to honour women who also possess her qualities of vision, innovation, entrepreneurial drive, leadership, individuality and tenacity. Such qualities earned Madame Clicquot her international reputation as “la grande dame de la Champagne”.
Madame Clicquot was widowed in 1805, at the age of 27 with a small child to care for. She defied the tradition of the day and took the reins of her husband’s business, building it into the international champagne house of today, Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. She overcame every obstacle that threatened her vision, including the Napoleonic trade blockade. Madame Clicquot also invented the ‘table de remuage’, intrinsic to the riddling process that leaves champagne so brilliantly clear. Her discovery was adopted by all other champagne houses and is still used today. Known throughout France as “La Veuve” – meaning “the widow” – Madame Clicquot died in 1866. Today, her legacy burns brightly and she remains an inspiration to women around the world.
The Australian judging panel comprises Janet Holmes à Court AC; The Honourable Justice Annabelle Bennett AO; Director of Marketing and Special Events for Consolidated Press Holdings, Deeta Colvin; Chairman, Future Fund Board of Guardians, David Murray AO; Director, Paspaley Pearls Group, Marilynne Paspaley AM; Managing Director of Moët Hennessy Australia and New Zealand, James Paton; and CEO of the Bennelong Group, Alison Watkins.
For media enquiries or further information on the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award, please contact:
BLACK Communications – 02 8399 3005
Naomi Parry – 0411 623 423