By Presentation Studio

September 23, 2016

What it means to enter the Telstra Business Women’s Awards

Presentation Studio is proud to announce our founder and CEO; Emma Bannister, is a finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards 2016, Entrepreneur category, for the second, consecutive year.

We asked to share her thoughts on the process and what it means to be nominated.

Why are the Telstra Business Women’s Awards important?

Since the day I started my business I’ve had the Telstra Business Women’s Awards on my list of life goals! I believe it’s the most symbolic award for women in business. Whilst generations before me have paved the way for equal rights in the workplace, women are still heavily relied upon for their supporting role in the home and community. Recognising women for balancing this challenge is incredibly important, especially for our future.

Where were you when you got the news?

The Award Team gave me a call last Friday, which was brilliant news and a double celebration as it was also my birthday!!

What does it mean to be a finalist?

The great thing about the Award isn’t just the winning. The process itself makes you a better businesswoman. Last year I was introduced to some incredible women from a range of backgrounds and businesses. We have met a few times for coffee, sharing our ideas and experiences. We all relate to each other’s challenges and as a business owner, that’s extremely valuable.

Plus, the exposure opened doors that enabled me to share my passion for transforming the culture of presentations _?_ some great PR opportunities, speaking events and radio interviews.

Who nominated you and why?

This year it was Carly Chant from Build on Bookkeeping _?_ which was a wonderful surprise! Carly and her team have worked with us for several years and we have a great relationship. It also meant I had to make my application extra awesome so I didn’t let her down!

What’s involved in the application process?

Many of my fellow finalists have commented on how extensive it is. You have to be committed and invest the time in preparation. With over 30 questions requiring in depth explanation, it’s not something you can do the night before.

In 2015 there were over 5000 applications, the majority from NSW. For the Entrepreneur category there are typically 4-6 finalists that make it through the interview stage.

The application form is broken down as follows:

  1. About You
  2. The Business
  3. Sustainability and Inclusion
  4. Leadership
  5. Communication
  6. Values
  7. Business References

The Interview

The panel interviews are held with two judges on one day, in various locations in each state. My interviews have been at the Telstra offices in Sydney. The judges are chosen from a pool of national business experts and successful business people.

Last year I over prepared, which made me incredibly nervous.  This year my goal was to take a different approach: concentrating on my passion and vision.

Of course I was still nervous, I didn’t want to walk out of wishing I’d said things differently _?_ or realised I’d forgotten to discuss something really important. I focused on speaking naturally, rather than reciting answers from my application.

The time flew past! It did feel more like a relaxed conversation this time _?_ I don’t know if that is a good thing or not!

How did you feel after the interview? Nailed it or failed it?

Ha ha. No idea. But I do love the feeling of doing something super scary (like this interview) and then walking out knowing you’ve done your best and there’s nothing more you can do about it.

What are your hopes?

I hope to win! But it really doesn’t matter either way. I’ve already won. To make it as a finalist is incredible and I’m proud of myself and my amazing team, who are equally passionate about the difference we’re making.

What are your suggestions for women considering applying in 2017?

Go for it. But plan ahead and allow enough time to prepare your answers. If you’re entering again, use the feedback from previous years to help position yourself for the future. 

Good Luck!


The winner for New South Wales will be announced at a Gala Dinner on the 11th October 2016. The overall winners are announced at The 2016 Award Ceremony in Melbourne on 16 November 2016. A full list of Telstra Business Women’s Award Finalists can be found here.


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