TWO women with links to Cairns have won prestigious businesswomen’s awards.

Fiona Jose, of Cape York Partnership, won the purpose and social enterprise category of the 21st Telstra Business Women’s Awards announced in Brisbane last night, while former Far Northern police chief Katarina Carroll was the government and academia section winner.

Telstra chief operations officer Kate McKenzie said all the winners had achieved impressive results in their areas of business.

“The 2015 Queensland winners are brilliant business women who are passionate, courageous and are willing to challenge the accepted way of doing things,” she said.

The judges said Ms Jose, an indigenous woman from Cape York, was dedicated to empowering her people as general manager of Cape York Partnership, an indigenous policy reform and leadership organisation that had stood up to lead a comprehensive reform agenda.

“Fiona has demonstrated real leadership in her community by making connections with local businesses to influence the employment of local people, and running successful programs for indigenous women in Cape York,” they said.

Mrs Carroll is the first woman to be appointed Commissioner of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES). She was a former assistant police commissioner based in Cairns.

“Katarina Carroll has carved an impressive career within a largely male-dominated workplace,” the judges said. They said through her position at QFES and her previous role leading the Queensland Police Services G20 security operation in Brisbane last year, Mrs Carroll was reinventing the safety and security space by implementing systems that promoted collaboration between different government bodies.

Judges also described her as “an accessible leader and a mentor to many women”.

Earlier Mrs Carroll said her achievements “establish the path for women to achieve as a norm, not as something unusual”.

Ms Jose said she dreamt of an Australia where there was “no exclusion based on race or gender”.

READ:The Cairns Post