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Download this press release (45KB PDF) | Download photos of the winners and the Award lunch



On International Women’s Day, Maryanne Shearer, CEO of T2, was announced as the Australian winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2012.

In addition, Ronni Kahn, Founder and CEO of OzHarvest, received the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Tribute Award for Innovation, Entrepreneurial Skill and Contribution to the Community, an award not previously presented in Australia. Maryanne and Ronni will both fly to Reims, France, as part of their prize.

The announcements were made by the International Director of Veuve Clicquot, Laurent Boidevezi, in Sydney at the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award lunch, attended by the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, and one hundred of Australia’s most powerful and successful business leaders. The lunch celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Award.

Regarded as the ‘Oscar’ of female entrepreneurs and business leaders, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award is held in 16 countries and is the first international award created specifically to recognise the contribution that women have made to business life. The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award commemorates Madame Clicquot, who was arguably the first woman entrepreneur, and honours women who possess her qualities of vision, innovation, entrepreneurial drive, leadership, individuality and tenacity.

Janet Holmes à Court, a previous winner of the Award and chair of the Australian judging panel, commented: “Madame Clicquot was an innovator with global ambitions; creative, brave, tenacious, unconventional and ahead of her time. “These are qualities the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award recognizes and celebrates, and which both women possess in abundance. Maryanne Shearer has created a whole new retail category and built a powerful brand in her T2 business; Ronni Kahn has taken an idea about food rescue and actually made it happen.”

Nominations were received from throughout Australia, with the judges short-listing five finalists: Lorna Jane Clarkson, Founder and Creative Director, Lorna Jane; Elena Gosse, Director and Company Secretary, Australian Innovation Systems; Ronni Kahn, Founder and CEO, OzHarvest; Kris Lloyd, CEO and Head Cheesemaker, Woodside Cheese Wrights; and Maryanne Shearer, CEO, T2.

“The calibre of all the nominations we received was incredible and the five women finalists are inspiring business leaders, all of whom embody Madame Clicquot’s qualities,” said Janet Holmes à Court. “The judging process was extremely difficult, but in the end, we felt that Maryanne's entrepreneurship and innovation singled her out as the winner of the 2012 award. She is a visionary, and a true leader. We also made a special award to Ronni Kahn, a woman who has shown that with ideas, positive energy and commitment, we can make a difference to our communities.”

Maryanne and Ronni will fly to Reims, France, in September to join past and present laureates from other countries and to celebrate the Award’s 40th anniversary at the annual Veuve Clicquot International Businesswomen’s Forum.

The Australian judging panel for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award comprises: Chairman of John Holland Group, Janet Holmes à Court AC; The Honourable Justice Annabelle Bennett AO; Director of Marketing and Special Events for Consolidated Press Holdings, Deeta Colvin; Group General Manager of Pacific Brands, Colette Garnsey; Director, Paspaley Pearls Group, Marilynne Paspaley AM; Chief Country Officer of Citi Australia, Stephen Roberts; Managing Director of Moët Hennessy Australia, Boris de Vroomen; and Managing Director and Chief Executive of Graincorp, Alison Watkins.

For media enquiries or further information on the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2012, please contact:

Sarah Mansell
BLACK Communications
Ph: 02 8399 3005
Mobile: 0422 909 972



Maryanne began her career working in fashion and interiors, where she held creative positions and honed her skills in product development and visual merchandising. It was whilst working in her own homewares company, sharing a steaming cup of tea with business partner Jan O’Connor, that the idea for T2 was born. Avid tea drinkers at a time when coffee was exploding, Maryanne and Jan realised there was a gap in the market for a new retail experience in the tea category and an opportunity to give tea a modern edge; to re-invent it to appeal to a new generation of tea drinkers.

The first T2 store opened in Brunswick Street Fitzroy in 1996. It was a brand new concept, set against a conservative market that previously knew only supermarket tea bags. T2 pioneered a unique educational retail concept, with in-store daily tea tastings, a table filled with a wide range of T2 teas in open canisters and a team of staff who encouraged customers to smell, taste, touch and compare the different ingredients and aromas of the teas.

In 2001, Maryanne became CEO with 100% ownership and began the expansion that has built the T2 brand of today. T2 is now a leading tea retailer, with the largest range of teas and tea-wares in Australia. With over 30 stores and 300 employees, it has in addition a successful wholesale division which co-ordinates the sale of teas into some of the country’s best cafés, restaurants and hotels. Maryanne has created an innovative brand, a new retail category and a new approach to selling.

Maryanne believes that success depends on constant reinvention, and she travels regularly so she can bring fresh eyes and new ideas to the business. She has also adopted an aggressive digital strategy that has seen the business grow rapidly. Expansion internationally is next, with Europe and Asia firmly in her sights.



Ronni Kahn is the founder and CEO of OzHarvest, a not-for-profit organization that collects and delivers surplus food to charities. Ronni was born and schooled in South Africa, migrating to Australia with her family in 1988. She went on to establish a successful twenty year career in the events industry and ran her own events company, Ronni Kahn Event Designs (RKED). In her event business, Ronni was stunned by the amount of food she observed being wasted by the hospitality industry and she decided to do something about it. In 2004, she created OzHarvest, a food rescue organisation based on a model that she found in the USA.

OzHarvest now delivers over 330,000 meals each month, saving 120 tonnes of good food per month from going to waste. It uses a fleet of fourteen vans delivering to 398 charities across Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle, Canberra and more recently in Adelaide and Brisbane. Since its inception, over ten million meals have been delivered to women, children and men in need.

OzHarvest rescues its food daily from restaurants, cafés, hotels, retailers and food outlets throughout these cities then delivers this food (including fresh food, pre-prepared meals, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and seafood products and packaged food) to its charities around Australia. Through Ronni’s perseverance, the law has been changed in New South Wales, the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to ensure that food donors are safe from liability. OzHarvest has had a profound impact on the environment by saving thousands of tonnes of food from landfill (over 4,000 tonnes annually), and on clients of charities who are able to eat quality, nutritious food. In 2011, Ronni also found a way to assist and teach communities and individuals in rural Australia to set up their own food rescue service, with the introduction of a regional food rescue program, REAP.

Download this press release (45KB PDF) | Download photos of the winners and the Award lunch