Our industry is well represented in the 2012 Victorian Telstra Business Women’s Awards with two finalists, Kim Calcatjicos and Michelle Loader. The finals event will be held on 20 September.
Kim Calcatjicos of Shining Knight Facility Services, Cheltenham (Victoria) has been named as a finalist in the Commonwealth Bank Business Owner category. Her one-stop shop includes cleaning, maintenance, waste management, security and pest control services.
AHS Hospitality’s chief executive officer Michelle Loader has been short-listed in the Hudson Private and Corporate Sector Award. Described as a visionary leader, she joined AHS in 2006 and took on the CEO role in 2010.
‘Michelle leverages her hotel and hospitality experience of the last 18 years to lead the business, she has held a myriad of hotel management positions including general manager roles in major brands,’ notes the company’s website.
Kate McKenzie, group managing director Telstra Innovation, Products & Marketing and Ambassador of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, said the Awards were a celebration of the enormous diversity of amazing business women in Victoria.
“For 18 years, the Awards have shone a spotlight on the achievements of inspirational women. In 2012, the 20 Victorian finalists range from women who have shown courage and determination to start and grow their own businesses to others who are influential leaders in local business and community sectors. The innovation in ideas and technology that they reveal is vital to the future of the State’s economy,” McKenzie said.
Calcatjicos pointed out that, “as an environmentally certified organisation, we are expected to be environmental leaders in our field so our vision is to reduce our footprint and that of our clients at every opportunity.”
Armed with a degree in biochemistry and following stints with a pharmaceutical company and a health business, CSL, Calcatjicos decided to strike out on her own. Today Shining Knight Facility Services offers a huge range of services to allow customers to focus on their core business.
The company has retained long-term clients due to their innovation and customer service culture. For example, one client operated in a noise sensitive environment, so Calcatjicos sourced a near-silent vacuum cleaner from Denmark to win the contract.
The Cheltenham-based company is also working with the CSIRO on a range of environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals and has introduced iPads in the office to cut paper usage. Staff morale is key to on-going success, so Calcatjicos has introduced a rewards program, including overseas trips, and all personnel benefit from tertiary training programs.
Loader surrounds herself with smarter people
“I take the time to surround myself with people that complement my skill set, that challenge me and in many cases are simply smarter than me,” emphasised Loader.
Growing up on a farm in Ballarat in a large family instilled a hard work ethic and the importance of self-reliance and team work in Loader. That grounding has propelled her through the ranks of the hospitality industry from a room service waiter to CEO and board member of AHS Hospitality.
Earlier this year, Loader guided the company through its sale to a new parent group. AHS was formed in 1994 as Australia’s first provider of fully outsourced hospitality housekeeping services. Since then it has grown to service seven million rooms a year across 150 hotels.
After being appointed CEO in 2008, Loader instigated a robust workplace safety improvement program. Her role includes managing all the company’s financial-related matters, risk and compliance issues and ensuring all legislative requirements are met. Her future vision includes remodelling AHS to create a transferable service model to overseas markets, in particular the burgeoning Asian sector.