Jo Thomas named Telstra Queensland Business Woman of Year

30 April 2020: Jo Thomas, Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director of contemporary art house Metro Arts, is the 2020 Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year.

Ms Thomas supports and mentors artists to help them realise their creative potential, present their work to audiences and build their careers.

Boasting a colourful career of producing, acting, mentoring and advocating, Thomas’ driving force behind her work is the belief that everyone should be exposed to culture. She is passionate about seeing more diverse voices and stories reflected in contemporary arts.

“My particular leadership approach is one of entrepreneurship, calculated experimentation and nimbleness, taking advantage of opportunities but always balancing these with the needs of our clients and the arts community,” said Ms Thomas.

Thomas also won the For Purpose & Social Enterprise Award, which celebrates leaders and employees of organisations making a positive difference to the world around them

For 25 years, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards have recognised more than 3,000 exceptional women in leadership, who are transforming the way we lead businesses from all corners of Australia and across all industries.

Alex Badenoch, Telstra’s Group Executive of Transformation & People and Telstra Business Women’s Awards Ambassador, congratulated the Queensland winners, who are all inspiring examples of leaders challenging the status quo within and beyond their industries.

“Ms Thomas’ approach to leading Metro Arts demonstrates an optimistic focus where the arts are a powerful medium to bring about change and influence access, inclusion, participation and outcomes for all. She is a clear and visionary leader who has much to give not only to the arts sector, but also to the future of advancing women in leadership,” Ms Badenoch said.

Also recognised as winners of the 2020 Telstra Queensland Business Women’s Awards were:

  • Small Business Award: Julie Verner-Mackay, Founder and Human Success Director, aXcelerate Julie Verner-Mackay founded cloud-based student management system, aXcelerate. She is passionate about establishing a flexible and positive workplace culture.
  • Medium & Large Business Award: Yinzhu Quan, Pioneer Lab member, Rio Tinto Joining Rio Tinto as an engineer, Yinzhu Quan was selected to be one of just six members on its Pioneer Lab – a panel working on 10-20 year-long strategies and new visions for the company.
  • Public Sector & Academia Award: Jeanette Allom-Hill, Group Executive Business Performance, Sunshine Coast Regional Council Working at the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Jeanette Allom-Hill is responsible for a portfolio including finance, IT, human resources, procurement and property management.
  • Emerging Leader: Onica Mhaka, Project Coordinator, Height Dynamics Onica Mhaka’s passion, vision and leadership has seen Height Dynamics, a safety equipment supplier, achieve great success.

    “For a quarter of a century, the Telstra Business Women’s Awards have advocated for women in business, helping to promote gender equality in the workplace and recognising the women who are paving the way for future generations,” Ms Badenoch said.

“These women are setting new benchmarks for what it means to be a successful business person, championing inclusion and innovation as they do so.”

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