As businesses continue to grapple with the rate of technological change, the after-effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic and a challenging economic landscape, it’s easy to just keep going without looking back. However, taking the time to stop and reflect on the value that’s been created as a business is a necessary ingredient to moving forward.
What’s sometimes overlooked is that those at the top shoulder most of the risks – and tackle the high-impact decisions alone.
For more than a decade, the Executive of the Year Awards has paid tribute to the extraordinary things that can be achieved in difficult times. The moment when hundreds erupt with elation as a stunned business leader takes to the stage is not easily forgotten. From the most seasoned corporate executives to emerging entrepreneurs and not-for-profit trail-blazers, taking the plunge and applying could be a career-defining move.
While every year has its own surprises in store, the highlight is always gathering and shining a light on the brightest minds from across a broad range of industries. And, what better way than as the sun sets over one of Sydney’s iconic locations?
As one of the most prestigious accolades in business, the Awards gives leaders from different industries a unique opportunity to network, learn, celebrate and exchange ideas on best practice. When else could you unite the movers and shakers from high-growth startups to multinational giants under the same roof, let alone around the same table?
Among last year’s cohort was Stepping Stone House CEO Jason Juretic. While he was unable to attend the event, the industry recognition and exposure that was gained was no less significant.
“The Award has been invaluable in showcasing the work of Stepping Stone House and has helped promote the importance of leadership in the not-for-profit sector,” he affirms. “I am truly grateful for this honour and the opportunities it has brought.”
For Unilever Australia and New Zealand CEO Nicky Sparshott, who accepted her award for CEO of the Year A$100m+ turnover, the accolade reinstated the importance of a united team and shared vision. “The recognition as CEO of the Year was as much about the curiosity and courage of the Unilever ANZ team, to not just take up that vision, but make it happen,” she says.
Transcending the virtual realm
While the world of work today guarantees that we are virtually connected, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with friends, family and work colleagues is something of a rarity.
For Ben Lipschitz, Co-Founder of FoodByUs, who was named Entrepreneur of the Year, putting his name in the hat was a decision that almost slipped him by – if it wasn’t for his persuasive PR representative.
“I am generally focused on the business – I don’t stop enough to reflect and have never been one for entering awards focused on me as an individual,” he admits. “On a personal level, it has been great recognition and has assisted in networking, building relationships and even some business opportunities.”
Lipschitz additionally notes how the Awards elevated FoodByUs’ profile, helping to attract new talent and boosting the team’s morale through the recognition and distinguished trophy.
For some, like Collar Group CEO Ephram Stephenson, who was named Startup Executive of the Year last year, taking home an award provided the confirmation to continue down the path less travelled. It also served as a physical reminder for his son that “anything is possible if you follow your dreams”.
“Leading Australia’s fastest growing recruitment agency has been no easy task, but it’s with recognition like this from The CEO Magazine and the judges that makes the whole startup experience that much more rewarding,” he says.
“It gets lonely at the top when you have a one-director business, and to receive the award from a panel of industry judges who I consider peers, is one of the best forms of feedback an entrepreneur could receive.”
Obviously there is a strong element of competitiveness to the Awards – it wouldn’t be worth entering without it. But, there’s also much more to the event; hearing from inspiring, high-profile keynote speakers and enjoying world-class entertainers, as well as delectable fine food and drinks – plus the chance to get your hands on a lucky door prize.
“I would say remember to enjoy it – even prior to the Awards being announced on the night, I really enjoyed the experience, meeting and hearing from some of the amazing finalists and winners in the room,” Lipschitz reflects.
With The Morning Show’s Larry Emdur hosting the Awards at the Star in Sydney, guests will be guaranteed an evening full of the buoyant razzamatazz it has been renowned for in previous years.
This year we are celebrating the winners at The Star, Pyrmont, Sydney on Thursday 16 November.