10 Successful Businesswomen in Australia

Just like in many countries, the Australian entrepreneurship industry looked like it was reserved only for men. Not until some female entrepreneurs decided to change the narrative.

It is true that women still have a long way to go before balancing the scale ratio of men to female entrepreneurs, but the good news is that many are rising to the occasion.

An old report in 2015 showed that 34% of business owners, which was a third of the statistics of business operators, were women. The report, however, mentioned that women were increasingly taking up more space. (Source: PMC)

Although we cannot find any recent statistics of Australian women in business, from the report above, it is safe to say that the figures have gone up.

While we can’t wait for the day women will balance the equation, certain women have left their mark in the business world.

We are proud to present you with the list of 10 successful businesswomen in Australia who are revolutionizing the industry:

Table of Contents

Gina Rinehart

Gina Rinehart

Company Name: Hancock Prospecting

Company Founder(s): Gina Rinehart

Year of Birth: 1954

Net Worth: $22.7 billion

Industry: Mining

We start with Gina Rinehart (born 1954), an Australian heiress, mining magnate, CEO, and owner of Hancock Prospecting, privately-owned mineral extraction, and exploration. (Source: Hancock Prospecting)

Gina’s father Lang Hancock started the company, which she took over after her father’s death in 1992 and rebuilt the financially distressed company. Today, Gina is worth $22.7 billion and has been Australia’s richest citizen since 2019. She also has a portfolio of properties and is the second-largest cattle producer in Australia. (Source: Forbes)

She has been honored with numerous awards recognizing her risk-taking, hard work, significant endeavors, and contributions in Australia and beyond. 

Her leadership has seen Hancock Group diversify from just prospecting to becoming a miner and investing in copper, iron ore, gold, potash, cattle, dairy, coal, and properties. (Source: GinaRinehart)

Gina commits to her work daily. There is nothing like sick days or holidays as she does not mind working 365 days of the year.

“Gina Rinehart’s philosophy in life has been to lead by example. She has really brought her late father’s company into a fortune by her sheer sense of hard work.”

Melanie Perkins

Melanie Perkins

Company Name: Canva

Company Founder(s): Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams

Year of Birth: 1987

Net Worth: $8 billion

Industry: Graphics Design

Next on the list is  Melanie Perkins (born 1987), the CEO and Co-founder of Canva, one of the most prominent tech startups in Australia and the world.

Canva is a design app that allows beginners and advanced users to create attractive graphics without any prior expertise. (Source: Canva)

Melanie and her husband, Cliff Obrecht, who is also a co-founder, got married in January 2021 but have been together for many years with Obretch supporting Perkins’ first startup, Fusion Books.

She and Obretch set up Fusion Books, a yearbook publishing company, in her mother’s living room when she was only 19 years old. And today, Fusion Books is one of the biggest publishers of yearbooks in Australia. (Source: CNBC)

After Canva completed its funding round in September 2021, its worth skyrocketed to $54.7 billion. 

The couple who own a 30% share of the company now has a fortune of $8 billion each. (Source: Yahoo Finance)

 Melanie, who was rated as the 487th richest person globally in the billionaire index, took a giant leap to secure the first position of self-made women under 40. (Source: Bloomberg)

“Melanie always believed in starting small and putting in one’s best, and we can’t help but admire how far that belief has brought her.”

Fiona Geminder

Fiona Geminder

Company Name: Visy and PACT Group Holdings

Company Founder(s): Fiona Geminder

Year of Birth: 1965

Net Worth: $3.1 billion

Industry: Manufacturing

The name Fiona Geminder (born 1965) is such that rings a bell in the list of top businesswomen in Australia. She is most notable for her association with Visy and PACT Group Holdings. 

She is also the third richest woman in Australia. (Source: Wikipedia)

 She holds about a 40% stake in Pact Group, a plastics-packaging business with Raphael Geminder. Fiona also owns a significant stake in Visy Asia-Pacific, a family’s paper recycling and packaging business. 

Her estimated net worth stands at 3.1 billion. (Source: Forbes)

Fiona is notably rich and can afford any social lifestyle she desires, but this is not the case. S

he lives a life of acute privacy and secrecy. 

One thing about her is that she rarely grants interviews, so it’s very difficult to come across her picture in public. 

Although she is well-grounded, she did not shy away from leaving a lasting mark in making sure Pact Group thrives. (Source: SuccessStory)

“For an heiress that is worth such an amount to be successful without having to be all out and about in public shows that one doesn’t need self-promotion to be successful.”

Prudence Murdoch MacLeod

Prudence Murdoch MacLeod

Company Name: Times Newspapers Limited

Company Founder(s): Prudence Murdoch MacLeod as a board member

Year of Birth: 1958

Net Worth: $3.1 billion

Industry: Media

 Sharing the same net Worth with Fiona Geminder is Prudence Murdoch MacLeod (born 1958). 

She is an Australian-British media mogul and the first child of Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire media proprietor. She has taken up different roles in News Corporation owned by her father. 

Currently, She sits as a board member of Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary of News Corporation. (Source: Wikipedia)

Prudence has made her presence known in the media industry as she is one of the leading and remarkable women in the media world. 

She has worked her way up after working in different positions to inspire anyone aspiring to reach the top of their career. And as of today, she is worth $3.1 billion. (Source: Wikipedia)

“We now understand that having a rich father doesn’t mean that you have to sit on your oars and do nothing. Prudence’s desire to move her father’s company ahead has earned her the respect she now enjoys.”

Judith Neilson

Judith Neilson

Company Name: White Rabbit Gallery

Company Founder(s): Judith Neilson

Year of Birth: 1946

Net Worth: $1.2 billion

Industry: Arts

Judith Neilson (born 1946) is another Australian philanthropist and businesswoman that has a passion for visual arts. 

Judith was born in 1946 in Bulawayo and was brought up with a strict understanding that money should never go to waste. According to Judith, growing up, they never threw away a piece of paper or string. (Source: Financial Times)

She is very passionate about White Rabbit Gallery, where she is a co-founder. 

She also holds a significant stake in her ex-husband, Kerr Neilson’s company, Platinum Asset Management, that she co-founded with him. (Source: Wikipedia)

Her gallery, White Rabbit Gallery, is regarded as one of the most prominent art galleries that showcase Chinese art. 

As if that wasn’t enough, she went ahead to start another one in Sydney, Australia, called Phoenix. This time, it is not only to display arts but also performance space. 

Her net worth, according to Forbes, is $1.2 billion (Source: Forbes)

Judith has a long standing-interest in various humanitarian causes as well as in architecture. She has pioneered research that seeks to find innovative ways to provide solutions for housing problems for people displaced by conflict and natural disasters. (Source: Judith Neilson Projects)

“Judith leads a simple life and pumps in at least $4 million into White Rabbit every year to make sure it meets the expectation of art-enthusiasts.”

Naomi Milgrom

Naomi Milgrom

Company Name: ARJ Group Holdings

Company Founder(s): Naomi Milgrom

Year of Birth: 1952

Net Worth: $795 million

Industry: Clothing

Another top successful businesswoman in Australia worthy of mentioning is Naomi Milgrom (born 1952). Apart from being a philanthropist, Naomi’s private company, ARJ Group Holdings, retails women’s clothing lines – Sussan, Sportsgirl, and Suzanne Grae.

Naomi started in 1988 as a strategic and marketing planning manager of her family’s business, Sussan. 

The following year, she was made the merchandise director before becoming the Chief Executive in 1990. In 1999, she championed the acquisition of Sportsgirl.

 In 2003, Naomi bought her siblings and parents out of business to assume full ownership of all the brands. (Source: Wikipedia)

Coming from a family of businesspeople helped in nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit in Naomi. Before joining her family business, she set up a publishing company for computer books when information technology was becoming popular. 

Then, in 1980, she co-founded a video game studio in Melbourne, and when she joined her father’s business, she turned it into the conglomerate it is today.

 As of January 2021, Naomi Milgrom was worth $795 million. (Source: Net Worth)

 Naomi has received many awards for her service to her community through her promotion and support for architecture, arts, cultural exchange and design, and business. (Source: WAN Awards)

“Naomi has shown us that with determination, you can aspire and get to any height you desire in life. Her unique working culture and pioneering spirit have rewarded her excellently.”

Maxine Horne

Maxine Horne

Company Name: Vita Group

Company Founder(s): Maxine Horne

Year of Birth: Not stated

Net Worth: $1.4 and $773.1 million in revenue

Industry: Technology

 Maxine Horne is the CEO and founder of Vita Group, an Australian retailer that falls under Telstra, an Artisan Aesthetic Clinics brand. 

Her company is ASX-listed and has employed 1600 people in its various network brands, which has generated $773.1 million in revenue. (Source: Wikipedia)

She established a mobile retail company, Fone Zone, in 1995, which was one of the first in Australia. 

Her company, Vita Group, was listed in ASX in 2005 and became one of the fast-growing businesses in the country. It also occupied a position in BRW’s Fast 100 consecutively for four years. (Source: Arete Executive)

 Maxine’s compensation as the CEO of Vita is $1,468,210, making her the highest-earning executive in the company. 

She has been at the forefront of the company’s evolution and growth to see it grow from just a single store to being publicly listed nationally. Another aspect of the company she oversees is the wellness of the company. (Source: wallmine)

“Maxine Horne’s story is one of ambition and tenacity. Even with no formal tertiary qualifications, she still pushed her way into the fast-moving and thriving telecommunications industry.”

Katie Page

Katie Page

Company Name: Harvey Norman Holdings

Company Founder(s): Katie Page

Year of Birth: 1956

Net Worth: $80 million

Industry: Retail

Also operating in the retail industry is no other than Australian CEO and business executive of Harvey Norman, Katie Page. Born in 1956, she is a notable businesswoman who earned her position as the fourth out of 50 most powerful women in business in 2015. (Source: Wikipedia)

With an estimated net worth of $80 million in 2021, Katie achieved this through her income, money and assets.

 Even with her good fortune, she is known to lead a quiet and modest lifestyle. (Source: Wiki)

Katie has chaired Harvey Norman Holdings for 21 years and has been the brain behind the growth and success of the company.

She also acts as the company’s Retail Council Director and has expanded the business line to over 280 stores in eight different countries. (Source: Gold Coast Bulletin)

“According to Katie, she learned at an early age that failure and the willingness to deal with it was part of life. She, therefore, is never one to be afraid of failing and would not hesitate to get up and dust it off.”

Sarina Russo

Sarina Russo

Company Name: Sarina Russo Group

Company Founder(s): Sarina Russo

Year of Birth: 1951

Net Worth: $100 million

Industry: Recruitment

Sarina Russo (born 1951) is the owner of The Sarina Russo Group, an international training, education, and recruitment business. (Source: Wikipedia)

Sarina has spent 36 years running The Sarina Russo Group, which at the initial time was just a small-scale typing school. She set it up after she lost her secretarial job. 

With the example her Sicilian parents set her up with through hard work, Sarina has tirelessly worked to lift her business to an international business with seven companies, which helps 46,000 job seekers and trainees yearly.

She also is a lover of property acquisition. (Source: Financial Review)

She may be occupying the 12th position in BRW’s Rich Women’s List with her net worth of $100 million. However, Sarina doesn’t regard being referred to as a rich woman as an accolade. 

Instead, she chooses to measure her success by her passion, capabilities, and willingness to attain greatness. (Source: SarinaRusso)

“For someone that rose to greatness after being fired from her job eight times, Sarina Russo sure knows what the word resilience means.”

Janine Allis

Janine Allis
Company Name: Boost Juice

Company Founder(s):
Janine Allis

Year of Birth: 1965

Net Worth: $66 million

Industry: Food

 Last but not least on the list of successful businesswomen in Australia is Janine Allis (born 1965).

Jannie is an Australian businesswoman who owns Boost Juice and co-owns Retail Zoo, the parent company. 

She started the business from her house back in 2020, but the company has become a franchiser in 13 countries. (Source: Wikipedia)

 Janine’s net Worth as of 2021 is $66 and comes from her business and career as an entrepreneur. 

She is also the author of the book – The Accidental Entrepreneur – The Juicy Bits and a director of Micheal Hill Jeweller. (Source Wiki)

She is never the type to shy away from emphasizing the importance of leadership. 

Little wonder she led her company from the confines of her home into the dynamic company it is today.

 She began working at the young age of 17 and has worked as a media assistant, nanny, publicist, stewardess, touring agent, to mention a few. (Source: Insider Growth)

 “Janine initially may have looked like a Jack of all trades, but perhaps, the experience she garnered in the process has made her earn a spot on our list of 10 successful businesswomen in Australia.”

As with most things in life, there is still room for improvement.

Women in Australia may be doing well, but there is still a call for women to be more involved in the workforce. (Source: PMC)

The list of successful women in Australia goes a long way, but we only settled for the top ten actively involved in the business.

Perhaps, this will serve as a motivation for more women aspiring to take over whatever industry they found themselves in.

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