LEADERSHIP, courage, opportunity, passion - these were all words that resonated with the 80-strong audience at last week's Whitsunday Business Women's Awards, held to recognise local women making their mark in business.
"Small business underpins all our industries and the local economy," Denise Kreymborg from Whitsundays Marketing and Development Ltd, who organised the awards scheme and the celebration breakfast at The Palm House on Thursday, said.
"But we need to be providing opportunities for these businesses, a lot of whom are struggling... and that's what today's about - today is about supporting all of you."
While the audience feasted on a gourmet breakfast provided by the Fat Frog Café, they also listened to two inspirational speakers, who have both made it to the top in the business world.
Danielle Duell is founder of People with Purpose, which creates, promotes and activates purposeful people, projects and causes around the world.
Ms Duell, whose projects include the Story Bridge Adventure Climb, in Brisbane, and the creation of Australian Harvard Women for Australian female graduates of Harvard Business School, told the audience she was not just a businesswoman but a mother, wife, provider and homemaker.
"Success does not run in a straight line - sometimes opportunities come from nowhere - it's what we do with opportunities that makes all the difference.
"If you are prepared, you will make the most of them," she said.
Kerry Brocks, founder and CEO of the Institute for Learning Professionals (ILP) agreed, saying there were always reasons to keep putting off your dreams but at some point, you have to "stop talking and start doing".
"Be determined, there will always be doubters, including yourself.
"Also, stay dedicated and turn your dream into a burning desire," she said, using the awards ceremony as an opportunity to launch the Whitsundays branch of the ILP.
The last word went to Mayor Jennifer Whitney, who said to be a true leader you had to "dare to be courageous, not popular".
"Women play a significant role in Australian business, especially small business," she said.
"The contribution that each and every one of you here today makes, is enormous, but we all have challenges.
"When you dare to be courageous, you are taking your business forward and leading from the front."
Community Champion Award: Winner - Margie Murphy, Whitsunday Reef Festival
Business Owner Champion Award: Winner - Allira Griffiths, Renegade Fishing Charters, Runner-up - Kerrie McCallum, Café One3
Exceptional Employee Award: Winner - Debbie Williams, Peak Body Mechanics, Runner-up - Noelene Spurway, Herron Todd White
Community Champion Award: Winner - Karen Vloedmans, Proserpine Chamber of Commerce, Runner-up - Christina della Valle, Whitsunday Beefalo & Berkshire Pigs
Business Owner Champion Award: Winner - Lee Greyvensteyn, Advanced Windscreens & Service Centre, Runner-up - Tanya Bandow, Café Whiskey Charlie
Exceptional Employee Award: Winner - Leanne Fordham, Café Whiskey Charlie, Runner-up - Jacqui Diamond, Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging
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