Brilliant business women from all over the state are among 28 finalists in the 21st Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Awards.

Telstra Chief Operations Officer and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Kate McKenzie, says Queensland business women were excelling in a broad range of sectors.

“Now in their 21st year, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards not only celebrate women who have the courage to start their own business and lead their industries, but also offer them a platform to encourage others to challenge the status quo and think differently,” she says.

“The 2015 Queensland finalists join a long list of successful business women, whose unique and innovative approaches to leadership at state and local community levels, and in some cases, globally, continue to impress and inspire the Awards judges.”

Among the finalists is Kelli Ponting, General Manager at More Marketing who was nominated for an award in the Corporate and Private category, by her staff.

“To be nominated by my team is so special,” Kelli says.

“It’s both overwhelming and humbling to have made it to the final stages.”

“This really gives me the confidence and recognition that what I’m doing is working and that I’m working hard.”

Kelli says making it to the finals means a lot more opportunities will arise.

“I’ve always been very career driven,” she says.

“From the awards, I have a lot more opportunities for professional development with different training opportunities, as well as opportunities to network with some pretty awesome chicks.”

“I’ll be able to network with women entrepreneurs, start-up entrepreneurs, academics and government officials. To have that calibre of women in the same room and be able to chat with them is amazing.”

Kelli says women need to be recognised more often, especially as most of them work really hard.

“I think women by nature are very humble and always tend to go above and beyond, because they think that’s what they are expected to do,” she says.

“Hard work really matters in business.”

Other finalists include public safety trailblazer Katarina Carroll, Queensland’s first woman to be appointed Commissioner of Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) and the former Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner who coordinated the massive Brisbane G20 security operation.

Fellow pioneer Amanda Johnston, the first female Commanding Officer of a full-time Engineer Regiment in the Australian Defence Force, has served in some of the world’s most dangerous zones and leads 450 personnel delivering construction and bomb disposal support for Army operations.

Brilliant business women can be found across the state with many of this year’s finalists operating in regional Queensland in a range of industries, from energy (Roslyn Baker – Ergon Energy) to farming (Marie Piccone – Manbulloo) and real estate (Kyia Maidens – Colliers International).

Vanessa Nolan-Woods, General Manager Business & Private Banking and Women in Focus, CommBank, a long-term partner of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, said: “The Qld Telstra
Business Women’s Awards finalists are achieving extraordinary things.

For the full list of finalists visit .