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Refugee advocate named 2017 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year

NFP leader wins top gong.

Violet Roumeliotis, Chief Executive Officer of not-for-profit Settlement Services International Limited (SSI), is the 2017 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.

Using her strong business acumen and experience in leadership roles within major not-for-profits for more than 30 years, Roumeliotis gives a voice to vulnerable Australians and raising awareness of the economic value of migration.

“She has demonstrated resilience and ingenuity in finding new revenue streams to keep the mission alive and make an impact, and has pioneered new initiatives including the Ignite Small Business Start-ups initiative which facilitates entrepreneurship among refugees and asylum seekers,” said Joe Pollard, Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, Group Executive Media and Chief Marketing Officer.

Roumeliotis has set an ambitious course for SSI’s growth and development, investing heavily in three major social enterprise projects. One of which is The Staples Bag, a retail store and pop-up shop providing affordable groceries to approximately 750 families every week.

She also received the For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award.

The national winners of the 2017 Telstra Business Women’s Award are:

  • Business Woman of the Year and For Purpose and Social Enterprise Award: Violet Roumeliotis, CEO, Settlement Services International Limited, (NSW)
  • Entrepreneur Award: Hana-Lia Krawchuck, founder, Love to Dream, (NSW)
  • Public Sector and Academia Award: Professor Leah Bromfield, Co-Director: The Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia, (SA)
  • Corporate and Private Award: Jennifer Franceschi, Managing Director, Fresh Produce Alliance, (WA)
  • Young Business Women’s Award: Elise Apolloni, Managing Partner, Capital Chemist Wanniassa, (ACT)
  • Business Woman in Asia Award: Saskia Groen-in’t-Woud, COO, Damco (Singapore)

Pollard said that the Telstra Business Women’s Awards play a vital role in raising the profile of women in business.

“For more than two decades, we’ve championed women from diverse industries. Women are instrumental in driving better organisational performance, increased competitive advantage and, more generally, a thriving economy.

“It is our belief that the Awards lift up the women they champion, and in the wider community, they can play a part in advancing gender parity in business.”


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