2019 Queensland Business Excellence Award finalists


Sam Cardone, Plane Pal

Sam is a mother of 3 (including twins)! Her love of travel began as a child. As a mother, the dream of sharing that love with her children proved to be more of a nightmare! 3 under 3 on a plane…. YIKES! Plane Pal was dreamt up at 30,000ft. Since launch in Jan 2017 Plane Pal has become a global force, available in 13 countries and with a rapidly expanding product range. The brand aims to help families enjoy the journey not just the destination. Travel impacts the traveller, the economy and those we visit and meet. It impacts our view of the world and it brings families together. It helps us to find enjoyment and adventure. Sam says, “I truly believe so many of the World’s problems wouldn’t exist if more people travelled. I want to help families remove the stress of family travel so we can create more global citizens!”



Kendall Morton, Home Care Assistance

Home Care Assistance provides in-home support for people aged over 65 or with a disability. They pride themselves on being on the forefront of industry reform, by offering clients choice and control over their services and delivering a high quality, personalised service with lower fees. Kendall leads the team with a vision of excellence in every aspect of the business.

Home Care Assistance has grown from zero to a team of 75 staff and has supported over 2800 clients and the opportunity to be making a difference to the lives of clients from Redcliffe to Bundaberg. The model is holistic and considers the supports that can enhance life purpose for the ageing population.



Samantha Beckmann, 2 Bent Rods

Sam has been married for 19 years and has 3 children. She loves fishing and camping and spending time with family and friends. When 2 Bent Rods was started in 2004 initially it was offering a few fishing classes. Over the past 15 years this has evolved to fishing birthday parties, weekly fishing school, excursions and incursions for schools and oshc,. As well as contracting to various councils in SE Qld offering free and low cost classes. With a passion for the environment, Sam has been actively educating the general public and participants on the effects pest fish have on our waterways. Sam has worked hard and built relationships with major fishing manufactures and various government departments. She holds a biosecurity permit to run family friendly pest fishing competitions and education days.



Melissa James, Social Care Solutions

Mel James started Social Care Solutions in 2009 simply with a desire to provide high quality independent foster care assessments to ensure better outcomes for children in care. The ability to work from home with flexible hours was a draw card when Mel was considering how she would raise a family while still remaining in her chosen career; a social worker in the child protection industry. Her drive to provide outstanding quality assessments, training and consultancy to government and not-for-profit agencies in the industry led her to where she is today; leading the Social Care Solutions team of more than 35 practitioners across the entire East Coast of Australia, all of whom are equally as passionate as Mel about improving the everyday lives of children and young people involved in the foster care system.



Hayley Allen and Tenille Cooper, Sporty Kids Australia

Originating in Townsville in 2016, Sporty Kids Australia was formed after a casual conversation between two North Queensland friends, Hayley Allen and Tenille Cooper.

Two new Mums, looking for a fun movement-based activity to do with their babies, initiated a conversation about their own love of sport and their desire to instil a love of movement in their own children from an early age. This conversation inspired the Sporty Kids Australia concept and the ‘Start Active, Stay Active’ message. Combining their knowledge and experience in teaching, sports coaching and personal training, Hayley and Tenille created their completely unique programs for children 0-8 years and along with a fabulous team of Sporty Kids coaches, deliver 40 classes to more than 400 children in Townsville, Queensland every week.



Sarah Yip, KEASE International

Sarah Yip is leading the path in future-proofing leadership for the digital age. She is well-respected on an international level as a subject matter expert in Applied Emotional Intelligence, Mindful Leadership and Applied Positive psychology in the workplace. Her organisation, KEASE International, has created a reputation for innovative learning programs that embed learning outcomes.

Sarah is well-respected by C-Suite and Executive leaders and she works collaboratively to ensure that organisations are prepared with the skills for the future of work. She is highly sought after for her keynotes, consultancy and facilitation throughout Australia and SE Asia. Her transformational leadership programs have been sought after by ASX200 listed companies, government departments and elite sporting codes including AFL Queensland.

Sarah is an advocate for inclusion and is also the founder and President of ‘BiAS’ – a not-for-profit sporting and community initiative for children on the Autism spectrum.



Chantal Gerardy, Facebook Strategist

Chantal Gerardy is a qualified and award winning facebook strategist who empowers business owners with the skills and strategy to grow their business using ORGANIC facebook. Facebook saved her business (and I’m talking about free Facebook) She went from broke in a new country, with 3 kids under 5yrs old, to now abundant with an effective facebook marketing strategy. Chantal now works with business owners, who have no marketing budget, to come up with an income producing facebook strategy.

Business owners can learn how to stand out, get found, generate leads, create compelling content, sell their products or services, monetize their groups, run successful events or network, all using unpaid Facebook.



Geri Davie, Adminovate

Geri Davie is tri-vocational. First and foremost, she’s a mum. Second, she’s a business-owner and world-changer in the making. Third, and in all her spare time, she’s also a pastor. Her business, Adminovate, provides business support to small and micro businesses, especially in the allied health sector. Her goal is to help give small business owners back a family life by taking care of the admin and give people in her local area the option of being able to work and be parents. She believes in giving people the opportunity to work and provide for their families in a safe, family-friendly environment where family comes first in actions as well as words.



Kaitlin Hague, Bayside Dance

Kaitlin Hague is the Director of Bayside Dance in the seaside suburb of Wynnum, Brisbane, Australia. She began her dance studio in 2014 after a portfolio career in the creative industries spanning performing, dance teaching, adjudicating, choreographing, writing and delivering education programs in some of South East Queensland’s major performing arts venues. A self-described “dance nerd”, Kaitlin has a Bachelor of Creative Industries in Dance (Distinction) and in 2017 completed a Master of Arts (Research) investigating talent identification and development in ballet.

Kaitlin started Bayside Dance in 2014 in a small hall with seven students. She now employees 17 staff and has 600 students attending class every week, ranging from ages 2 to adult. Bayside Dance is driven by its values of Positivity, Community, Respect and Safety, Quality and Service.



Abbe Bradbury, Dynamite Studios

Abbe is the Creative Director and founder of what has become one of the most successful Performing Arts Schools in Australia today. A boutique studio, Dynamite Studios Australia, began in 2007 when Abbe. A mother of four with a dream that the Gold Coast could offer pathways into the industry she was so passionate about, Abbe has worked tirelessly to build this unique business now offering a broad and exciting range of opportunities for six hundred (600) students. In 2010 Abbe was awarded Young Business Woman of the Year in International Women’s day awards and has in 2019 again been shortlisted as a finalist in similar awards that recognised her contribution to education. A high school facility for students Year 7 – 12, a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) offering national accredited vocational training to the Diploma level and casual classes from beginners to professional.

Abbe’s passion, dedication and commitment to excellence in the Performing Arts Industry is as strong today as it was when it began in 2007 and most certainly contributed to the powerhouse Dynamite Studios Australia has become.



Elle Roberts, Artful Business Events

Elle Roberts has been running two successful businesses for the past decade, while growing and raising a family, struggling with health issues, and dealing with a myriad of personal challenges. Her business coaching/consulting business has helped hundreds of women realise and grow their own businesses and achieve their dreams, while she has empowered even more women through the Artful Business Conference & Retreat.

Elle believe that gender equality and more equality for all is possible through the power of entrepreneurship and online business. Many of her clients and attendees at her events suffer chronic illness, mental health or are recovering from trauma, making traditional employment difficult, and for some impossible. Empowering them to build financial freedom, to a set of rules they get to write, is lifechanging.



Brooke Maree Allen-Rhodes, Brooke Maree Babywearing 

Brooke Maree is mum to two beautiful children under 5 and a Babywearing Educator based in Brisbane who passionately connects with parents in her local community and around the world assisting them in using one of the most practical parenting tools available- a baby carrier or sling! She works tirelessly to educate parents and professionals on Babywearing best practices to see them carrying their children safely, comfortably and confidently. She has big visions to continue advancing her industries standards to see Babywearing become a more commonplace practice that’s normal and accessible to all. In doing so, she speaks up for the babies who can’t, and advocates on their behalf for more cuddles and connection; building future generations of children who feel safe, secure, loved, and grow up thriving.