Eight women from Brisbane have made the list of international finalists for this year’s Stevie Awards for Women in Business. These women come from a cross-section of different industries such as law, marketing, coaching relationships and leadership and all of them are solo entrepreneurs.

Gail Creighton-Davies is the founder of G8 Ladies – a networking group for women in a professional space to have a safe place to grow and support other women. Gail was concerned the corporate space in 2018 had small numbers of women in power. “Opportunities to access mentors at senior levels is a challenge, especially in male-dominated industries,” she said “G8 Ladies was born from Madelaine Albright’s G8 group of female UN Ambassadors where they pledged to support each other in the male dominated environment, and always take each other’s calls.” Gail is a finalist in Women Helping Women – Business.

Angela Henderson started Angela Henderson Consulting in early October 2016 after realising there was a need to help start-ups, small business owners and entrepreneurs to get their business running successfully from someone who had started their own business. Angela already had a successful online business Finlee and Me and had learnt many valuable skills. “I teach these skills to my clients, I guide them and connect them to the right people who can help. Women in this space are powerful, yet many do not believe it. Some are hindered by mental health challenges. Others by a lack of confidence. My role is to facilitate access to information,” she said. Angela is a finalist in Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Asia, Australia or New Zealand

Annette Densham loves a good story, which is why she became a journalist. Over the years, she has transported those storytelling skills through a number of different roles until she, through necessity, started Publicity Genie in 2012. She realised her decades of experience writing, researching and building relationships could benefit other people in small business. “Talking about yourself is hard. I don’t like it, it feels icky but in small business there is no room for modesty, you have to get good at sharing your story. That is why PR and small business are perfect for each other. Get other people to tell your stories,” she said. Annette works with women in business, helping them pull out those stories that connect with their audience. Annette is up for Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Products for the way she has made PR affordable for small businesses and Solo Entrepreneur of the Year.

Chrissy Leontios has built a one of a kind law firm in Australia built around the ‘newlaw’ movement, which places clients first. As the first private law firm specialising in domestic violence law, and CLEON Law is the only domestic violence law firm in North Queensland, Chrissy delivers services encapsulating Family Law and mediation, Domestic Violence Law (victims) and Victim Assist Applications. Her mission is to promote access to justice in a dynamic, flexible, and modern way for women who’ve experienced domestic violence. “A big part of what I do is empowerment coaching – a different approach to lawyering. Starting a new life after domestic violence is challenging and dangerous for many women. We help clients recognise their worth, unpack their experiences, deal with self-blame and victim blamed and overcome gaslighting,” she said. Chrissy is a finalist in four categories – Start Up of The Year – Business Services and Consumer Services, Women Helping Women – Business and Woman of the Year – Business Services

Tracy Leske is the founder of Oceans to Earth, an Australian owned and run not for profit organisation that campaigns for the welfare of animals and provides volunteer resources to like minded animal welfare organisations worldwide. As co-founder and director, Tracy works to explore new partnership opportunities and in managing human and financial resources to support current projects. “I feel a responsibility to lead by example and work towards supporting progressive legislation towards a kinder planet, and it is the obligation of organisations such as Oceans 2 Earth to rally our volunteers, partners, supporters and followers to encourage fairness towards animals and support humane choices.” She is a finalist in Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Profit, Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Profit, Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Profit, and Female Innovator of the Year – Government or Non-Profit.

Jane Anderson is personal branding and leaderships coach. She helps people, especially women sell themselves to get what they want by looking at themselves through their customer’s eyes. Working as a leadership and communications expert has meant being in the background, advocating for others. “I know how hard it is to put a face to business and put yourself out there. This year, after decades of being behind the scenes, I knew it was time I acknowledge the great work I have been doing over the past 12 months,” she said. That work includes writing her fifth book, creating a diagnostic The Influencer Factor, coaching 10 female start-ups to increase revenue by $120k and coached some big-name clients included Keith Abraham and Dr Amy Silvers. Jane is a finalist in Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Services and Mentor or Coach of the Year – Business.

Mell Balment is a relationship architect working with people to transform their lives. She said it is tough in a business coaching space to stand tall and let people know what you do, having peers critique and assess your work is a great way of sharing the success of my clients. Mell is a finalist in Coach of the Year and Solo Entrepreneur of the Year. “I am making a difference to people lives and that’s what the whole purpose of being a coach is.”

Cathryn Warburton is a highly respected trade mark attorney and partner in Acacia Law. Nicknamed the Legal Lioness, her dedication and passion for her clients is fearsome. Cathryn has a generous soul and is known for freely giving valuable information to help those in small business. “I was bullied as a child and this instilled in me a passion to protect others,” she said. Cathryn makes sure that no business is left without access to affordable, easy-to-understand legal information. She does this through her books, proactive legal workshops and 1-2-1 legal services. She is a finalist in Female Entrepreneur of the Year – Business Services, Maverick of the Year and Woman of the Year – Industry.

With only 200 women making it to the finals, Brisbane will be seeing three of its finalists heading to New York to collect the awards. The awards dinner at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York City. More than 600 women and their guests from around the world are expected to attend the presentations, which will be broadcast live on Livestream.

Banner Image: Tracy Leske