What do Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott, Origin Energy Chief Operating Officer Karen Moses, Kraft Foods Chief Rebecca Dee-Bradbury, philanthropists Layne Beachley, Carol Schwartz and Debbie Dadon, and Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Leah Armstrong have in common? These strong-willed and leadership-capable women have been included in the first ever conducted 100 Women of Influence awards by the Australian Financial Review newspaper and Westpac Bank.
Handpicked from a list of 350 nominees, the final 100 were chosen based on their attained success in their chosen careers, plus influence in trying to shape up a better and improved Australia, not just economically but also socially. The finalists were selected from across the economy by a panel of leading Australians, the AFR reported.
"Influence often seems so wishy-washy when compared with the assumptions that power is absolute," Wendy McCarthy, judge and director of the 100 Women of Influence awards, said. "Influence is what women can have when they do not have power. If we want to change the world we need both . . . influence can be powerful and change culture."
The women were judged based on 10 categories, including board/management, innovation, public policy, business entrepreneur, diversity, young leader, global, social enterprise, philanthropy and local/regional.
"Women to date haven't spoken out with an open voice in the community and the awards are part of the pathway of encouraging women to be active," Jillian Segal, ASX Director and one of Australia's 100 Women of Influence, said.
"Women are often criticised for not putting their hands up for recognition and are often too busy keeping their heads down doing their job. There are more and more models out there to show women can and need to play a significant role in society."
"It's part of having a dynamic and mature society to have women, who represent half the population and the majority of decision-makers as consumers, to have a voice and play a leading role in different fields and seek to shift society for the benefit of all," Ms Segal noted.
The overall 2012 Woman of Influence as well as the winners of the 10 categories will be revealed on Friday at a ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney .