2019 Service Business Award finalists


Caroline Kennedy – Empowering Ambitious Women

Caroline Kennedy came from humble beginnings growing up in adversity, to become an accomplished CEO. She’s an author, entrepreneur, keynote speaker, mentor and coach.

Caroline is the founder of Empowering Ambitious Women, she’s led start-ups to companies with annual revenues from $55 million to more than $250 million. She’s a pioneer, as the first female CEO to lead a network of builders and Australia’s largest building franchise. Caroline’s now the CEO and founder of Empowering Ambitious Women. Caroline’s vision is to see over 1 million ambitious women in our community by 2022, and she’s on a mission is to see women running the world.

Through EAW’s program of online education, one on one mentoring and aspiring content our purpose is to create a community where we move beyond inspiring women to empower women and organisations to become changemakers by turning talk into action to bring about change.



Cassandra Kalpaxis – Kalpaxis Legal

Kalpaxis Legal is a boutique Surrogacy and Family Law firm in Parramatta NSW. We service clients Australia wide. We are a young innovative firm having been in business since September 2017. We are committed to changing the way society views separation and divorce. We believe that separation should be treated holistically, and we work together with a number of professionals in order to treat a separation. We have established strong networks for referrals, created a podcast called Simply Separated targeted towards people who are separating, have separated or are interested in Family Law.

We are strong advocates for reform in the family law space. We practice Collaboratively, are accredited Collaborative Practitioners, and encourage early resolution. We are accredited Mediators and offer Mediation services as part of our business.



Kerry Spina – Kids in Harmony

Kids in Harmony is a wellbeing program in the heart of Townsville, Qld. The 45 minute weekly classes plus their empowering online school and resources help families raise the next gen to be the resilient, kind and connected gen.



Fiona Stubbings – Mind Design Coaching

Fiona is an author, speaker and coach who is passionate about helping women and mums to live their best lives. Fiona recently published her book #WarriorWomen – Find your tribe and live your best life. Her book is all about women supporting and uplifting each other, caring for their own needs and getting the support they need through major life transitions. Fiona is also a children’s life coach, helping kids to build their resilience, confidence and self-esteem through developing their growth mindset. Fiona plans to take her growth mindset work to the corporate world to support organisations to develop growth mindsets that lead to greater success.



Jessica Byrnes – Jessica Byrnes

Jess is an overachiever in all areas of her life. From 10 years service in the rural fire service, to relaunching her business and a becoming a mum to her adorable Lillianna in July 2018. Her passion for helping others paired with her corporate background make her foray into entrepreneurship a natural step. Jess now provides services to business owners all over the globe from the United Kingdom to the USA to Australia. When she isn’t working, Jess loves to read, snorkel and spend time with Lillianna. She strives to be a role model in her community by taking the lead as event coordinator with Mums in Business Lake Macquarie, as well as the Head Brand Ambassador for Australia/New Zealand within The Wedding Industry Supplier Network.



Megan Mander – Urbane Commercial 

Megan’s Commercial Real Estate Career began almost 20 years ago when she started working as an Assistant Property Manager. Eager to learn and become an expert in her field she spent hours reading the Act and Leases to understand the legislation. Following her initial role in the industry and given her continued desire to learn the next 7 years were spent working with two other specialist Commercial Agencies one a global leader in the field.

Prior to opening her own Commercial agency Megan had an opportunity to manage a Commercial Department for Australia’s largest independently owned Real Estate Business. As owner operator of Urbane Commercial Megan is responsible for all facets of the business including lease, lease administration, asset management, compliance, trust accounting and budgeting. Her client’s needs are paramount and she aims to add value as a trusted partner to ensure long term investment success.



Jessica Symes – Symes Group 

Jessica Symes is the founder and CEO of The Symes Group, which is a leadership and coaching consultancy. SG combines the principles of creativity, the science of personality and the foundations of evidence based coaching psychology. SG designs and delivers development programs within organisations, providing the skills, knowledge and practice in the ‘people skills’ essential today and tomorrow. SG also produces and magazine focused on the future of work and showcasing incredible women doing amazing things inside and outside of work. SG manufactures a product called ‘Career coaching cards’ for anyone wanting to change, transition or supercharge their career. SG is currently in the development stage of the creation of a digital coaching platform called ‘Coach me digital’. SG is a service based business, a content and publishing producer, a product producer and a digital platform with one common focus – ‘To support individuals to live and work at their best’.



Nicol Heard – Courageous You

Nicol is best known as the Biz Bestie®. She holds an array of credentials under her hat which work alongside her unique abilities to lead with conviction and an admired down to earth approach. Nicol has been in business since 2000 with her husband in the time she gave birth to 3 amazing children until 2016 when she created her business. She is a courageous soul and someone who loves being her boss alongside the highs, lows and excitement that come with being self-employed.

Nicol helps women who love their business build trust with their audience — encouraging her clients to connect with them by communication consistency and clarity. Her clients are ready to stop watering down their expertise by scattering their message. Nicol wants women to embrace their brilliance by genuinely serving a group who align with them. It’s time to see it as a blessing, not a constraint.



Emma Harrison – Millthorpe Little Learning Centre

Emma Harrison is the owner and director of Millthorpe Little Learning Centre, an exceptional early childhood centre in Millthorpe, NSW. Emma obtained a Bachelor of Education (early childhood) in 2009 and has a background in teaching primary school. She was lucky enough in her early career to have spent some time as an assistant director in an amazing early childhood centre in Sydney. Millthorpe Little Learning Centre has been in operation since January 2018, employs 14 local people and cares for over 40 local families. Converted from an existing cottage the service has a beautiful home-like feel while providing thoughtful and provocative educational experiences and caring and nurturing reciprocal relationships with the children, families and with each other. The team are passionate, dedicated and committed to ongoing professional development to ensure their practice is current and of the highest standard.



Kanwaleen Bhelley – Mon’s Driving School

Kanwaleen Bhelley owner/instructor of “Mon’s driving school” and is best known by her loving Aussie name “Mon”. Mon is a people’s person and loves to help people achieve their goals in life. The best thing she loves about this business is that she becomes a very important part of someone life journey by helping them to get their mobility/ independence and making safer drivers for life. Mon is a proud mum of two little monsters 4 & 6. Mon is surrounded and pampered by her 3 boys in the house including her very loving and supportive husband.



Emma White – Empower Resolve

About a year after the birth of her first child Emma had been back at work part time for 6 months. She liked legal work but she didn’t love it anymore. And she found that finding balance between her creative side, her lawyer side, and her mum side was really tricky. She thought there must be a better way. And she had SO MANY ideas on what to do, she was paralysed with indecision. Around a dinner table one night, friends were talking about getting married and asked if she would officiate. But she wasn’t a Celebrant. So she studied to be one, studied how to run a business from home, and she worked out how to stay being a lawyer. Then she quit. 3 weeks later, she married her friends. And a month after that, someone paid her legal business for the first time.



Lauren Bennie – Ausbrandrepsearches

Lauren opened her first business, Australian Brand Rep Searches, while on maternity leave with her first child. It started with helping other mums on Instagram grow their own accounts and secure influencer / brandrep positions. However, it didn’t stop there – from structured giveaways to website development, the ideas kept coming and it soon became a marketing platform that not only helped other mums grow their online audience, but businesses too. It was at this point Lauren took on her business partner, Ebony, and since then have not looked back. Their original goal together was to turn the business into a stable income so they could stay at home with their children, and have now successfully achieved that goal.

In late 2018, Lauren and Ebony decided to open a second business, a children’s concept store. This was obviously of a completely different nature to their first business however they continued to strive to make it work. After a bunch of mistakes, lessons were learned and a complete rebrand soon followed which has lead to now yet another successful business.

Lauren is also the face behind @somethingabout_thekings who shares her journey of motherhood & life while trying her best to empower other women.