It has been an interesting and varied career path for Product of the Year Director and mother of two boys, Sarah Connelly, who landed in Australia from the United Kingdom in December 1999. While she started out in Project Management, she was always interested in media and advertising. She made the leap from a lucrative career into a small media house where she halved her salary, but found her passion. A love for all things media led to an eight-year career in major publishing houses and culminated in the role of National Advertising Manager on Good Taste magazine, working closely with retail giant Woolworths.

In 2006, she accepted the role of Sales Manager at media and production house Now Screen and, after maternity leave in 2008, found herself looking for a new challenge. It was then that Sarah came across the opportunity to launch Product of the Year Australia (POY), a globally recognised award that has now been running for 32 years, in over 35 countries.

In the first three years, Sarah single-handedly launched and ran the business and, in year one, managed to recruit Lisa Wilkinson, former TODAY show host, as the award ambassador. Due to delays in licensing issues she had just three months to market and launch the first Australian awards and, in its first year managed to build 17 categories. The first award night, held at Quay in Sydney, hosted 110 guests. It was from this beginning that POY Australia became the ‘award to win’ for new product innovation in Australia.

The Australian awards now boast on average 46 category winners each year. The award night hosts more than 220 guests and companies of all sizes participate in the hope of having the chance to spruik their new and innovative products. Since year one, the business has grown at an exceptional rate, and Sarah now works with National Business Manager, Rosanna Anderson whose objective is to continue this growth. POY also engages research giant Nielsen to conduct consumer research.

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