Janine Allis told her fellow executives – all 550 of them who attended the black-tie awards ceremony in Melbourne on 15 November – that life at the top of an organisation can be lonely and high pressure.
There’s no doubt her speech – inspired by many of the Awards applications she had judged – resonated with the room as the conversation and buzz around it continued throughout the evening.
Throughout her own journey as the founder of Boost Juice and Retail Zoo, and as an investor on Channel Ten’s Shark Tank Australia, she said she had learned several important things; that persistence, stubbornness and determination were invaluable qualities.
"It was an opportunity to learn from these extraordinary businesses and exceptional leaders," – Janine Allis
These were also qualities shared by many of the finalists in the 2017 Executive of the Year Awards.
It was, Allis said, a no-brainer when she was approached to be a judge. “It was an opportunity to learn from these extraordinary businesses and exceptional leaders,” she told Peter Switzer during a live cross over during the event.
Allis was one of 10 Australian business leaders to judge applications submitted across 23 categories in this year’s Awards, shortlisting the finalists and then ultimately the winners.
The pinnacle award, CEO of the Year, went to Michael Ebeid, CEO and Managing Director of SBS.
10 things Janine Allis learned as a judge
The entrepreneur found nuggets of inspiration from applications in the 2017 Executive of the Year Awards:
- A leader is a person willing to go against the tide; to be brave enough to do things others have not thought of yet.
- A great leader is someone who continues to develop their mind and skills to advance their business and their people.
- The business and individual needs to be looked after equally. The mantra is not only, ‘How do I grow my business?’, but ‘How do I develop my team?’
- Choose EQ over IQ.
- Never innovate to compete. Innovate to change the rules of the game.
- We are never passengers in the industry; we always operate in beta mode. I foster our culture of breakthrough thinking by encouraging failure, process and learning.
- When you run a business, don’t just do it for the money. Do it with belief, passion, decisiveness, courage, honesty, planning and trust, and the money will take care of itself.
- The six most expensive words in business are, ‘We’ve always done it that way’.
- Leaders need courage, passion, vision and confidence.
- A good leader has a profound respect for their team and recognises that their people are the architects.
After sharing her 10 favourite insights gained from being on the judging panel, Allis finished her speech with a favourite quote from visionary Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “The people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Looking around the assembled crowd, Janine assured everyone it was a room full of crazy people who could, in fact, change the world.
An Australian entrepreneur’s story
Having started the juice and smoothie retailer Boost Juice at her kitchen table in 2000, Allis has earned herself a reputation as an inspirational figure for many aspiring entrepreneurs.
The company was started with little industry backing or experience and became a textbook example of how to identify an underserved market. She drove incredible growth at the company and just five years in, it had achieved 95% customer recognition.
Today, it has more than 500 stores in 15 countries and Allis is one of the most recognisable entrepreneurs in Australia, a position cemented by her appearances as one of the investor ‘sharks’ on Channel Ten’s Shark Tank Australia.
She has since gone on to found Retail Zoo – the umbrella company for four leading food franchise brands.