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Calrossy Graduate named Business Woman of the Year

This is a story for every aspiring girl boss, or the country kids dreaming of a global career.

“Just go for it and take that step,” that is the advice of one of the winners from the World’s premier business awards, who also just happens to be a Calrossy girl.

Kylie Hawker is a proud Calrossy Alumni from the Class of 1987. Her story is one of empowerment and inspiration. Kylie’s spent the final two years of her education at Calrossy, as a boarder, with much of her family still living on the farm “Braeside” near Coonabarabran.

She remembers her time at Calrossy fondly, only this weekend past Kylie caught up with several girls from the Class of 1987 in Sydney.

(Kylie pictured below, second from left)

Thinking back to her time in Tamworth, Kylie acknowledges her Home Economics teacher, Mrs Pam Ostle, for providing the initial spark for her career into marketing, after looking at packaging and labelling in the food industry.

That career has seen Kylie travel the world and most recently named a winner in the world’s premier business awards in New York. They are called the Stevie Awards and while you might not have heard of them, the business world sure has. Created in 2002 to honour the achievements and positive contributions of working professionals worldwide.  In short, the Stevie has become one of the world's most coveted prizes. Kylie named Woman of the Year for her work in the Not for Profit sector.

Her acceptance speech a succinct snapshot of her motivation.

“Every woman deserves a seat at the table regardless of where she lives, whether its regional, rural, remote or big city.”

“I’m passionate about empowering and encouraging women, to find a pathway to  a  board role. If a girl from the Aussie bush can do it, you can too,” said Kylie.

The figures are dismal, Kylie explains that 80% of boards globally have no female representation. She is among that minority currently the Board Chair for Better Care Delivered and on the Board for Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation. Both of these organisations are focus on improving health and wellbeing outcomes for Australians in the not for profit space.

After years of working for multi-national companies in the home appliance and food industries in the Asia Pacific region. Kylie’s light bulb moment came in Singapore as she was working on a campaign for an energy drink company in 2018.

Kylie says it was a realisation that she needed to work in an area she was passionate about and that was not for profit. She calls them “for purpose” organisations.

“I was emboldened to use my knowledge to help build organisations that make a difference.”

“It is incredibly rewarding to see the impact on someone’s life and wellbeing.”

Besides her current board appointments Kylie has also represented on the National Breast Cancer Foundation, she is the Head of Communications and Corporate Services for the Australian Water Association and runs her own consulting company.

In  her very little downtime she volunteers at Foodbank Australia, helping eliminate food waste and ensuring people in need receive food to feed their families.

But with all success and accolades Kylie’s advice to current Calrossy students is uncomplicated.

“Take that first step and do what you are passionate about… you might fail the first time, build a network of people and accept every invitation or opportunity.”

For the girls it goes further, Kylie says don’t ever “underestimate yourself”, or ever tell yourself that “you are not good enough.”

From there the possibilities are endless… from the Country Music Capital to the Big Apple and named a Business Woman of the Year. Just keep an eye out for the lightbulb moments.