Catherine Burn, the country's highest ranked female police officer, has been named Telstra Australian businesswoman of the year.
The state's deputy commissioner for corporate service is also the first candidate from New South Wales to take home the honour in its 17-year history.
And according to representatives from Telstra this year's winner is an excellent ambassador for women in male-dominated workplaces.
"She has made a challenging leadership transition from police operations to a corporate role that shows policing is a seriously big business," asserted awards ambassador Kate McKenzie.
Ms Burn joined the NSW Police Force as a 19-year-old in 1984 and has risen through the ranks in a career that so far spans more two decades.
She currently manages a $2.7 billion budget and is responsible for 16,000 police officers and 4,000 support staff, as well as police assets.
In 2008, Burn launched a cultural change program that led to a reduction in the number of complaints against officers, improved victim follow-up and increased community confidence in police.
"She was described as a humble, sincere and ethical person who has led, not just managed, cultural change while focusing on customer service and the importance of the community as stakeholders," said Ms McKenzie.
And while humility may be a defining characteristic it has not stopped her from excelling in the Police Force, at university or at home with the family.
Including step-siblings Ms Burn has sixteen brothers and sisters who have all worked to help foster a deep sense of community in the award recipient.
Referring to herself as an "extremely resilient and fiercely determined" individual that is "determined to improve community safety and satisfaction in the police", Ms Burn had dedicated her adult life to caring for others.
Ms Burn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, an Honours Degree in Psychology, a Masters of Management and she is working toward her doctorate.
But her latest achievement is not the first in a career that has been characterised by excellence – in 2007 she was awarded the Australian Police Medal in the Australia Day Honours and also took home the White Pages Community and Government Award.
Award finalists included – Cathie Reid, owner of a Brisbane-based pharmaceutical supply service, Jodie Fox, founder of an online business in Sydney that lets women design their own shoes, Veena Sahajwalla, a university professor at UNSW and leading researcher in the area of "green steel" technology, and Jo Heighway, a Central Coast account who runs the second-largest audit firm of self managed superannuation funds.