Go Back
Meet the 11 expert judges rolling up their sleeves to deliver their verdict on Australia’s most inspiring leaders for 2024.

How can we define outstanding leadership in 2024? And, importantly, what does it take for today’s leaders to prepare their teams for tomorrow’s challenges? As we announce the incredible judging panel for the 2024 Executive of the Year Awards in Sydney, it’s worth noting their unique approaches to leadership that have earned them recognition and respect within their industries.

This year, we are excited to have a diverse panel representing a wide range of sectors from fashion and media to not-for-profit and transport and more. Collectively, the expert judges bring a breadth of experience and expertise to their decision-making.

And they will be the ones who ultimately decide who is named the Overall CEO of the Year, so it is worth taking note of the qualities and attributes they will be looking for from applicants.

Critiquing the achievements of CEOs and executives is no easy task, particularly as businesses navigate shifting priorities and technological change. By honoring the ways in which business leaders manage and adapt to change within their organizations, the business community as a whole can benefit. Their stories serve as a barometer for business excellence and empower other organizations to elevate their game.

This year’s judging panel comprises:

Chris Dutton, Founder, The CEO Magazine

Anna Dutton, Co-Founder and Executive Director, The CEO Magazine

John Karagounis, Founder and Executive Chair, The CEO Circle

Ronni Kahn, CEO and Founder, OzHarvest

Colleen Callander, Former Sportsgirl CEO, Author and Keynote Speaker

Mark Nielsen, Global CEO, Talent International

Travis Auld, CEO, Australian Grand Prix Corporation

Christine Holgate, CEO, Team Global Express

Jose Da Silva, Group CEO and Executive Director, Wilson Group

Lorna Jane Clarkson, Founder, Lorna Jane

Miles Wilson, CEO, O’Brien Glass

With nine sector awards set to attract a broad range of talent, the judges have the difficult task of deciding on one winner for each category based on their responses to five key themes. This year the categories span across health care; banking, financial services and insurance; property development and real estate; consumer and entertainment; information technology; not-for-profit; public sector and energy, construction and mining.

A Positive Ripple Effect

For Lorna Jane Clarkson, who strives for innovation and vision, the Awards are about more than celebrating success and an exclusive evening of entertainment.

“The Awards help analyze and assess CEOs and their companies within an industry criterion such as leadership, innovation and impact,” she reflects. “I believe having these qualities within a business is important as it will help promote growth and excellence, as well as drive positive change within businesses and greater industry.”

Meanwhile, The CEO Magazine’s Anna Dutton is keen to highlight the achievements of women over the past year. She emphasizes the importance of doing for yourself what you would want others to do for themselves in order to move the needle on gender equality.

“Being a finalist, let alone a winner at The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards, has changed and skyrocketed women’s careers in ways which they never thought possible,” she shares. “Take meaningful action by applying for the Awards, knowing that not only are you more than good enough, but you will also be shining the light for other women to shine.”

“Being a finalist, let alone a winner at The CEO Magazine’s Executive of the Year Awards has changed and skyrocketed women’s careers in ways which they never thought possible.”

– Anna Dutton

This sentiment is echoed by former Sportsgirl CEO Colleen Callander, who is a returning judge and previous Award recipient with a proven track record for cultivating winning cultures throughout her three decade-long retail career.

“The Awards establish an inspiring benchmark for excellence, foster a community of top-tier executives, and promote the sharing of innovative practices and ideas, highlighting the transformative power of visionary leadership,” she says.

Speaking of culture, Talent International Global CEO Mark Nielsen says that some of the indicators of a world-class culture are evident when employees are encouraged to voice their thoughts and show up as their authentic selves at work.

In a similar vein, Jose Da Silva, Group CEO at Wilson Group, favors a beginner’s mindset as the basis from which to create long-term value and to motivate teams.

“I am a leader who wants to lead with empathy, is engaging and energizes teams to get results, which not only deliver for today but create enduring value,” he says.

“Identifying that path in the ever-evolving world through the collective strength of your people can only be achieved by encouraging a spirit of entrepreneurship, being curious and making decisions, taking learnings from success, but more importantly failure.”

Balancing Head and Heart

Leading with empathy is a recurring theme, with a handful of judges noting this as a key attribute of their leadership style.

“Ultimately my goal is to lead with authenticity, empathy and a focus on long-term sustainability,” says Miles Wilson of O’Brien Glass, who adds that continuing to learn, actively listen and embrace diversity enables him to meet the ever-evolving demands in the business world.

“But most of all I try to do it with a smile on my face,” he says.

In light of the fears around AI and job uncertainty, Anna Dutton adds that kindness doesn’t cost a cent and can go a long way toward cultivating a beneficial and trustworthy work culture.

“The world needs leaders who are able to tap into their heads and their hearts.”

– Ronni Kahn

Among the familiar faces is previous Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ronni Kahn, whose heart-felt mission of tackling food waste is a testimony to her ability to bring her thoughts, words and actions into alignment – the foundation, she says, of good leadership.

“The world needs leaders who are able to tap into their heads and their hearts,” she says. “My leadership philosophy is purpose-driven, visionary, striving to inspire and be inclusive, encouraging learning and development and bringing out the best in my team and organization.”

But, while every leader has their own take on what good leadership looks like, one thing can be collectively agreed on: Individuals who inspire their teams to rise above mediocre thinking and challenges will be held in high esteem.

In Callander’s words: “Great leaders navigate their organizations through challenges and inspire everyone around them to excel, effectively transforming challenges into opportunities for growth.”

Winners for all categories will be announced during the awards ceremony held at The Star in Sydney, Australia on Thursday, 14 November 2024.

Are you ready to showcase your most noteworthy business achievements?

• Click HERE to apply/nominate a deserving individual.

• Click HERE to find out more information about the Awards.

Back to top