Leanne Wesche (pictured), Managing Director of Perth-based Pacco Group, has been named the 2008 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.
Leanne established the Pacco Group in 2004. In just four years, the company has grown to become one of Australia’s largest independent fruit and vegetable packing businesses, packaging over 60 different varieties and 150 tonnes of produce each week. Leanne recently launched Safeguard Innovations, a company which offers a range of fruit and vegetable washes designed to protect consumers from food contaminants.
The judges said Leanne has a rare gift – she is visionary and strategic while managing to maintain a results focus. She is an incredibly clever business woman who executes flawlessly and her discipline in business should be admired.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday night, Telstra CEO, Mr Sol Trujillo, congratulated Leanne on her remarkable career achievements and highlighted the valuable contribution she has made to the fresh food industry.
“These awards celebrate the outstanding contribution women make to the business sector, the Australian economy and the wider community. We saw a 20 per cent increase in award entries this year, demonstrating that showcasing the extraordinary capabilities of women is continuing to provide an important source of inspiration for other women,” Mr Trujillo said.
Leanne was also named the winner of the Yellow™ Business Owner Award in recognition of her strategic vision, innovation and inspiring journey.
Also recognised with national awards were:
National winner of the Hudson Private and Corporate Sector Award (for employees in the private and corporate sector or owners with less than a 50 per cent share of a business): Rachel Argaman, Chief Executive Officer of Toga Hospitality Group, Ultimo, NSW;
National winner of the IBM Community and Government Award (for employees of government departments, statutory bodies and not-for-profit organisations): Professor Margaret Abernethy, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Commerce and Director of the Melbourne Graduate School of Management at the University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria;
National winner of the Nokia Business Innovation Award (for eligible business owners, private sector employees and entrepreneurs who answer the innovation questions in the Entry Form): Naomi Simson, Founder and Chief Experience Officer of RedBalloon Days, Pyrmont, NSW; and,
National winner of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Young Business Women’s Award (for women aged 34 years and under, as at 08 June 2008): Jacinta Caithness, CEO-International, Boost Juice Bars and Chief Operating Officer, Boost Investment Group, Glen Iris, Victoria.