05 Sep 2023
The highly anticipated 2023 WiBF National Industry Awards took centre stage on Friday, September 1st, at the prestigious Doltone House, Darling Island, and this year promised to be bigger and better than ever. With a record number of nominations and ticket sales, there was a buzz of excitement in the air, setting the stage for the extraordinary event that celebrated the achievements of outstanding individuals, and organisations in the banking and finance sector.
As the lights dimmed and the event kicked off, with WiBF’s Corporate video, the charismatic MC, Sheila Vijeyarasa, then warmly welcomed an esteemed audience of industry leaders, professionals, and supporters.
“I love the quote from the video: “It’s hard to be something you can’t see”. Well today we will be seeing women celebrated, we will be seeing inspiring leaders and we will be listening to inspiring speeches. We are thrilled to welcome a record number of 600 guests today and welcome to also those joining us virtually across from Australia and overseas. Let’s give a wave to Adelaide, Central Coast, Melbourne, Perth, and New Zealand! We have people streaming in from Mumbai, Sri Lanka, Greek Islands, Tokyo, and Hong Kong!” said Ms Vijeyarasa.
The iconic Doltone House was filled with a vibrant atmosphere, echoing the achievements and determination of the 2023 WiBF Award finalists and their colleagues. This year’s awards marked a pivotal moment as it recognised two new award categories. WiBF Award for Achievement in Investment and Fund Management and WiBF ESG and Sustainability Initiative of the Year.
Following the event opening from MC, Sheila Vijeyarasa, guests were welcomed by WiBF Chair, Diana D’Ambra and WiBF CEO, Stephanie Girard.
“WiBF has made wonderful progress in the last 18 months adding 20 new corporate members, our biggest increase yet. Today we’re here to celebrate the wonderful work that WiBF and its members are undertaking to make our workplaces fairer, more diverse, and inclusive of all genders. I thank each of you for your support and involvement with WiBF. You are the ones who are fostering and embedding these positive changes in the workplace and in your lives,” said WiBF Chair, Diana D’Ambra.
“As WiBF has significantly increased its membership base and offerings in the last 18 months, we are keen to offer you even more in 2024″ said Stephanie Girard. “Today, we celebrate the determination, resilience, and unwavering commitment to excellence. A special thank you to our suppliers, coaches, volunteers, judges, our main sponsor of today’s celebration, Commonwealth Bank of Australia & all our sponsors for your on-going support”. Stephanie Girard, then invited all the 2023 WiBF Finalists to stand for a round of applause for their well-deserved recognition.
Attendees welcomed the main event sponsor, Commonwealth Bank of Australia to the stage, represented by Deborah Leerhsen, Commonwealth Bank Global Head of Client Coverage, Institutional Banking and Markets. “We all know that diversity and inclusion, leads to higher performing teams and it allows us to tap into our full work force. CBA is proud to support WiBF and we are delighted to sponsor these awards this year,” said Ms Leerhsen.
The event promised to be a remarkable continuation of WiBF’s annual awards luncheon, but with some exciting new inclusions, such as a pop-up photobooth, graciously sponsored by Judo Bank, providing the perfect opportunity for guests to snap a picture and capture the moment. Finalists were treated to a special arrival experience with an exclusive VIP networking area, thanks to S&P Global. The luxurious VIP section, in Doltone’s Signorelli, also featured a complimentary headshot photographer for those who wanted to update their professional profile photos on LinkedIn.
Ms Vijeyarasa set the tone for the event, underlining the importance of this occasion, to recognise the trailblazing work of those who had been nominated across various categories, each of whom contributed to reshaping the landscape of banking and finance. As the award announcements began, the room erupted in applause and celebration, with the first two award winners revealed. Congratulations to Anita Beckers, Macquarie Group, winner of Achievement in Private Wealth and Superannuation, proudly sponsored by Prism Global and presented by Melanie Bruce, Prism Global Sales and Education.
Next up was the inspiring HSBC CEO, Anthony Shaw to present the Achievement in Retail Banking award winner, sponsored by HSBC. Congratulations to Mel Ugle from Westpac Group! “Melissa was instrumental in the development of a unique community initiative to connect young Indigenous trainees and interns in Western Australia,” said Mr Shaw as he announced Mel as the 2023 winner.
“It’s been two days of travel from Broome to get here, it was definitely worth it! The program that I co-founded is to ensure when our Indigenous trainees join our business that they feel supported. Thank you to Westpac for supporting me with this program, to my team in Broome and my family,” said Ms Ugle.
After the first round of awards were pronounced, the event’s guest speaker, Allegra Spender MP, Independent Member for Wentworth took to the stage for an inspirational interview with WiBF’s President, Sangeeta Venkatesan. “Isn’t it amazing to see the energy in this room,” said WiBF President, Sangeeta Venkatesan as the interview began. The interview highlighted the significance of diversity, inclusion, and innovation in the banking and finance sector. It also covered Allegra’s story of constant reinvention, her career journey, and challenges along the way. Recognising her inspiring career highlight as the second woman to ever hold the Independent seat for Wentworth.
Next, Grace Kerrison, LinkedIn Head of Sales Solutions – APAC was invited to stage as the WiBF 2023 National Industry Awards audio-visual sponsor.
“We are so thrilled to become a corporate member at WiBF this year, LinkedIn’s vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the work force. We are very proud to be a live stream sponsor today,” said Grace Kerrison.
Next was the perfect opportunity thank WiBF’s 2023 Judges as Helen Craig, KangaNews, Head of Operations was welcomed to the stage. The 2023 judges’ gifts were beautifully crafted by Migrant Women in Business. After three lucky attendees were drawn from the lucky door prizes, the celebrations continued!
Next up was the Achievement in Small Business Banking Award, proudly sponsored by Judo Bank. Presented by, Stephen Mifsud, Judo Bank Managing Director Relationships – NSW and Louise McCann, Judo Bank Managing Director – Health. “It’s such an honour for Steve and myself to be here presenting this award,” said Louise McCann as Steve announced the winner.
Congratulations, to Heather Di Marco from NAB!
The next award announcement was one of the new categories for 2023, Achievement in Investment and Fund Management, proudly sponsored by SW Accountants & Advisors and presented by Stephen O’Flynn SW Accountants & Advisors Partner, Chair.
Congratulations, to Alison Chan from Metrics Credit Partners.
“Thanks everybody, I’m very grateful for this award and for the support at Metrics. Congratulations to all the finalists,” said Ms Chan.
Achievement in an EA/PA role was up next, proudly sponsored by Westpac and presented by Megan Rutter, Westpac General Manager Enterprise Portfolios.
Congratulations to Anna-Maria Papatheodorou from ANZ!
“What a privilege it is for EA’s to finally be recognised in the industry! I’m very grateful and humbled to be nominated and happy to be here. EA’s are the quiet achievers’ we have ways of finding other solutions, we think on our feet, we are counsellors, event co-ordinators, mentors, information processers and problem solvers. I dedicate this award to all of the amazing EA’s out there,” said Papatheodorou as she accepted the WiBF Award Achievement in an EA/PA.
Four attendees were then treated to four lucky door prizes, coaching sessions with the esteemed WiBF Peak Performance Coaches, Ricky Nowak, Susanne Mercier, Teresa Curman and Sheila Vijeyarasa.
May Cai, Prime Capital Chief Risk Officer was then invited to the stage to present the Achievement in Operations, Technology or Customer Support, proudly sponsored by Prime Capital.
Congratulations to Angela MacMillan from Commonwealth Bank of Australia, winner of the WiBF 2023 Achievement in Operations, Technology or Customer Support Award. Ms MacMillan paid tribute to her employer, CBA and to her five year old daughter.
“Congratulations to everyone who was nominated today and a big thank you to my team. I have what I believe is the best job out of 48,000 employees at CBA. That is to help CBA as Australia’s biggest bank to care for its customers, and importantly it’s a job that enables me to care for 16 million people as well as be a single mum to my five year old daughter, this is for her,” said Ms Macmillan.
Achievement in Regulation & Compliance was the next award announcement, proudly sponsored by Thomas Frost Executive and presented by Huw Thomas, Thomas Frost Executive Managing Director. Congratulations to Eylem Kamerakkas from Macquarie Group Limited for winning the Achievement in Regulation & Compliance.
“I’m speechless and really grateful to be nominated, this nomination and opportunity is a testament to the people I’ve worked with and the managers I’ve had,” said Ms Kamerakkas.
“WiBF is always seeking new ways to make a difference in the community,” said Ms Vijeyarasa as she invited WiBF Director and ANZ Managing Director, Corporate Finance, Institutional, Christina Tonkin to the stage to present another new award category in 2023, Achievement in ESG and Sustainability Initiative of the Year award, proudly sponsored by ANZ
Congratulations Noa Sela on behalf of MoneyMe, for winning the Achievement in ESG and Sustainability Initiative of the Year.
“Thank you so much for this recognition, we’re very proud to have won this award. MoneyMe is now the 10th listed ASX company to receive its Certified B Corporation,” said Ms Sela.
Dianna Enlund, S&P Global Sustainability Solutions Director was then welcomed to the stage as the WiBF 2023 National Industry Award VIP Lounge Sponsor.
“S&P Global is thrilled to support this event and we are excited to announce that S&P Global, in collaboration with WiBF, will be providing ESG training and education to members in the form of podcasts and programs on the member dashboard as well as in-person programs and masterclasses. We are so excited to provide this initiative,” said Ms Enlund.
Achievement in Professional Services, proudly sponsored by Australian Turf Club was the next award announcement. Presented by Natalie Hewson, Australian Turf Club Director, she congratulated Baby Nagayo, from EY winner of Achievement in Professional Services. Baby joined us via the LinkedIn live stream, “I’m tuning in today from the office in Melbourne, it’s truly humbling to be named the winner for this award and I would like to thank everyone behind this and a massive congratulations to all of the finalists and the winners,” said Baby Nagayo.
Victoria Hickey, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Chief Financial Officer – Business Banking was then invited to the stage to present the Achievement in Business Banking Award, proudly sponsored by Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Congratulations to Julie Rynski from NAB, the winner of the Achievement in Business Banking award.
“I love being a banker, so to all of my colleagues and customers that I’ve had the privilege of working with, thank you, it’s been such a journey and it’s all because of you, thank you to NAB,” said Ms Rynski.
Next was the Achievement in Institutional Banking Award, proudly sponsored by Citi and presented by Josephine Majewski, Chief Administrative Officer, Citi Australia and New Zealand.
Congratulations Rosemary Gaglioti from Commonwealth Bank of Australia for winning Achievement in Institutional Banking.
Guests then had another chance to win a lucky door prize, a placement in WiBF’s Workplace Wellbeing & Flourishing Leadership Program with Andrew Rooke, before moving into the final award announcements for the day.
Sam Melrose, Ansarada CEO, was next to take the stage and present the Product or Technical Product Innovator Award, proudly sponsored by Ansarada.
Congratulations to Annabelle Simpson from National Australia Bank, who was the 2023 winner of the WiBF Product or Technical Product Innovator Award.
It was then time to reveal the winner of the Rising Star Award, proudly sponsored by Macquarie Group. Sean West, Macquarie, Head of Wealth Management, Executive Sponsor of Macquarie’s Gender Equity Employee Network Group was invited to present the award. “The judges described this woman an innovative thinker and leader,” said Mr West as he announced Cindy He, ANZ as the winner of the WiBF Rising Star Award.
Congratulations to Cindy He from ANZ, winner of the WiBF Rising Star Award.
The second last award for the luncheon was the Inclusive Leader Award, proudly sponsored by Deutsche Bank and presented by Glenn Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
“We’re so grateful for being involved with WiBF, we’ve been involved for the last 15 years in a close capacity, as a Diamond Sponsor for as long as it’s been a thing. We have lots of consultants come in and talk to us about how to improve our organisation, but there are very few that have been as effective as WiBF. You’ve helped us attract better staff and helped us to retain them, so thank you very much on behalf of Deutsche Bank “ said Mr Morgan. He also congratulated Stephanie Girard for making such a difference in the organisation since becoming WiBF’s CEO.
Congratulations to Miranda Ratajski from Westpac Banking Corporation, winner of the WiBF 2023 Inclusive Leader Award.
The final award for the ceremony was the Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year Award, proudly sponsored by Commonwealth Bank of Australia and presented by Chris Mclachlan, Commonwealth Bank of Australia Executive General Manager – Global Markets.
A huge congratulations to Alana Mackay, Jessica Magro, Miranda Ratajski, Samira Bachir, and Sarah Tobin on behalf of Westpac Banking Corporation for winning the WiBF 2023 Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year Award.
Raising their glasses, guests joined together for the traditional afternoon toast to the 2023 WiBF National Industry Award Winners, as all 15 award recipients were invited to the stage for a group photo and a chance to congratulate each other on their achievements. This moment encapsulated the spirit of innovation, collaboration, and forward momentum that defines the WiBF National Industry Awards.
With the conclusion of the event, attendees left with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism. The 2023 WiBF National Industry Awards not only celebrated individual accomplishments but also reinforced the collective commitment to shaping a more equitable and diverse future for the banking and finance industries. The event served as a testament to the progress made and the journey ahead, inspiring attendees to continue their efforts in driving positive change.
As the sun set on the afternoon, and the weekend began, the impact of the event reverberated throughout the industry, leaving an indelible mark on the path toward gender equality and inclusive leadership. The 2023 WiBF National Industry Awards had truly lived up to its reputation as a momentous occasion, where achievements were celebrated, connections were forged, and the trajectory toward a more inclusive future was reaffirmed.
Thank you again, to the 2023 Event Sponsor, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and to WiBF’s award category sponsors:
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Investment and Fund Management (New 2023) – Proudly sponsored by SW Accountants & Advisors
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Private Wealth and Superannuation – Proudly sponsored by Prism Global
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Retail Banking – Proudly sponsored by HSBC
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Small Business Banking – Proudly sponsored by Judo Bank
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Business Banking – Proudly sponsored by CommBank Business and Institutional
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Institutional Banking – Proudly sponsored by Citi
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Regulation & Compliance – Proudly sponsored by Thomas Frost Executive
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Professional Services – Proudly sponsored by Australian Turf Club
• WiBF Award for Achievement in Operations, Technology or Customer Support – Proudly sponsored by Prime Capital Investment Advisors
• WiBF Award for Achievement in an EA/PA role- Proudly sponsored by Westpac Group
• WiBF Award for Product or Technical Innovator – Proudly sponsored by Ansarada
• WiBF Rising Star Award – Proudly sponsored by Macquarie Group
• WiBF Inclusive Leader Award – Proudly sponsored by Deutsche Bank
• WiBF Diversity & Inclusion Initiative of the Year – Proudly sponsored by CommBank Business and Institutional
• WiBF ESG and Sustainability Initiative of the Year (New 2023)– Proudly sponsored by ANZ
A special thank you to LinkedIn, the 2023 audio-visual sponsor, to S&P Global for their generous sponsorship of the Awards VIP Lounge and to KangaNews for sponsoring our 2023 Judges Recognition. Thank you again to our key note speaker, Allegra Spender MP.
Lastly, thank you to the WiBF 2023 National Industry Award Judges, whom without their support this would not be possible. WiBF is also very grateful to the volunteers and it’s board members for their support and dedication.
We can’t wait to celebrate with you next year!