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100 Women of Influence 2012

03 November 2012

The first of the Westpac Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence were chosen this year. Throughout September the 10-member judging panel set to and whittled down 350 nominations to the final 100 and, from that group, chose one winner (albeit in two categories the judges could not separate the final two nominees, and so awarded shared victories) in each of the 10 categories. 

‘Not an easy task’, was the shared thought voiced by each of the judges on the selection panel, which included Narelle Hooper (BOSS Magazine Editor); Catherine Fox (BOSS Magazine); David Gonski (Investec Bank); Wendy McCarthy AO (McCarthy Mentoring); Stephen Fitzgerald (Goldman Sachs); Julie McKay (UN Women); Sandra McPhee (Fairfax Media); Michael Rose (Allens); Heather Ridout (Reserve Bank of Australia); Sue Vardon (Red Cross).

The announcement of the winners took place at the MCA in Sydney amidst a throng of excited finalists, friends, colleagues, officials, background music, awards, photos, speeches, canapés and drinks. 

The truly inclusive part of the process is that anyone can seek to join the ranks: nominate or be nominated with an eye to how you influence others and the community. 

The winners were the expected and the unexpected, but a very well kept secret. Well kept, because when one of the winners was announced she was not there to collect her plaque.

The prize pool, to be shared among the winners, is valued at $335,000 and includes educational courses, mentoring, advertising packages and subscriptions. Prizes come through Westpac, AGSM and the Financial Review.

The 100 Women of Influence make great googling. Each has a story to tell and each has great influence at work and in the community, creating a diverse and better country. 

Take Fiona Shewring, overall winner in the Local/Regional category, who was so stunned by the announcement her first word at the lectern was an expletive. Something she quickly apologised for and explained was par for the course in her day job as a tradie working with tradies.

Fiona continues to issue a challenge to the fathers (and mothers) of Australia to teach their daughters to use hand tools. SALT Australia (Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen) is her vehicle and you can find the blog and what SALT is up to at

“We have a skills shortage in Australia, expanding the participation of women into the workforce is a logical path to follow,” believes Fiona.