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CEO Hopes National Award Win Will Boost Not-for-profit Future

The 2015 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year hopes her win, coupled with the rise of social enterprise initiative in the not-for-profit sector, will help encourage the next generation of business leaders into community organisations.

Angie Paskevicius – the CEO of leading West Australian alcohol and drug counselling and support services provider Holyoake – was last night honoured at a ceremony in Melbourne where she collected the top Award in the For Purpose and Social Enterprise category, as well as the overall national Award.

Ms Paskevicius has steered Holyoake’s shift to be less reliant on government funding since she took over the organisations reins in 2007 by creating a new strategic plan, recruiting a talented, passionate team, and leading the development of the globally-successful DRUMBEAT social enterprise, as well as two other social enterprises, a world-first computer game called DRUMBEAT Quest and the Wellbeing@Work suite of employee wellness programs.

“Social enterprise programs are positively changing the face of the not-for-profit sector and compelling managers to be as savvy and innovative as they’ve ever had to be. So it’s an exciting space and I hope future business leaders will seriously consider being part of it,” she said.

“Making the shift away from total reliance on government funding to financial sustainability is a challenging journey and social enterprises are just like any other start-up business with inherent risks. For those that succeed, the rewards are enormous both for organisations as well as communities.

“I believe Awards like this, that recognise the life-changing contributions community organisations make to the community, will help to attract highly capable leaders into the not-for-profit sector for everyone’s benefit.”

Ms Paskevicius said despite the growing success and acceptance of the social enterprise model, there were still hurdles, and it wasn’t a business model for every not-for-profit.

“Funding is often scarce and always a challenge for the not-for-profit sector – particularly with the economic climate in Australia right now. There is especially very little money available in the preventative space,” she explained.

“And young leaders need to know that to success they’ll have to be patient because it can take a long time to see the positive impact of changes that are implemented.

“Passion is also paramount so alignment of personal values with business values is critical. It’s also important to acknowledge that doing things alone may not be enough; working in partnership with team members and other organisations can be far more effective.”

Media Statement – Holyoake 2015