Shining a light on the extraordinary achievements during yet another challenging pandemic-hit year, many of Australia’s finest executives convened to celebrate the highs and lows of the business world – and the inspiring leaders fuelling it.
For the 10th year, the coveted industry raised a glass to all the extraordinary finalists for The CEO Magazine’s 2021 Executive of the Year Awards at the annual cocktail party.
Hosted at the glamorous Beta Bar in the heart of Sydney, finalists were given the unique opportunity to network with the talent judges including Maserati Australia and New Zealand General Manager Grant Barling, La Prairie Group Managing Director Australia and New Zealand Rosi Fernandez, Sweat CEO Tobi Pearce, Illawarra Hawks Co-Owner and President, and DKM Blue Managing Director and Co-Owner Dorry Kordahi, and Work Club Global Founder, Chairman and CEO Soren Trampedach.
As beautiful electronic harp melodies by Jake Meadows and Champagne-filled coupes floated through the room, guests mingled with like-minded finalists, some even capturing the moment against the cascading floral rose-hued photo wall by White House Flowers.
For many, the Executive of the Year Awards creates an optimal networking opportunity, while for others, it’s a moment to reflect on the magnificent achievements of the vital cogs behind every business – their teams.
Speaking with guests during the evening, The CEO Magazine Founder Chris Dutton reflected on the awards’ gold milestone.
"It was my crazy idea to come up with these awards 10 years ago now and what an absolutely incredible 10 years it’s been," he shared. "The sole purpose of these awards is to highlight its people. A company really is nothing without the best assets that it can ever have, which are its people.
"I personally have read through thousands and thousands of applications throughout the 10 years. The judges and myself have seen so many success stories of businesses, but the success is down to the people driving the companies, and not the companies themselves.
"I’d like to say congratulations to all of the finalists this year, and secondly, to everyone who’s really navigated through the COVID-hit waters in 2021. Well done everybody, it’s been another incredibly tough year, but we will all emerge stronger."
Armed with one of the toughest jobs of the event are the esteemed judges, who are tasked with crowning the pinnacle accolade, the CEO of the Year. With more than 200 years of expertise between them, the talented 2021 judging panel includes: Grant Barling, Maserati Australia and New Zealand General Manager; John Karagounis, The CEO Circle Managing Director and CEO; Louise Adams, Aurecon Group Chief Operating Officer; Tobi Pearce, Sweat CEO; Rosi Fernandez, La Prairie Group Australia and New Zealand Managing Director; Dorry Kordahi, Illawarra Hawks Co-Owner and President, and DKM Blue Managing Director and Co-Owner; Tim Gurner, GURNER Owner; Lynette Phillips, MAXMEDIALAB and MAXCONNECTORS Founder and CEO; and Soren Trampedach, Work Club Global Founder, Chairman and CEO.
And recognising the marvellous achievements of the finalists wouldn’t be possible without the support of the Executive of the Year Awards’ sponsors: Work Club, BWX, Ulysse Nardin, KOL Group, The CEO Circle, Textron, Parramatta Eels, PRO IT, Precision Group, Westpac Private, James Hardie, EO Brisbane, City of Gold Coast, Hustle Property and Maserati – which has supported the accolades for the past nine years.
Not only was the evening a phenomenal milestone for the business industry, it also marked a very special anniversary for Maserati.
"We’re 107 years old today," Barling shared. "Maserati has an amazing history that started in the north of Italy with the Maserati brothers, and while we’ve had a great history, we’ve got an amazing future.
"It’s certainly been a challenging year for our businesses, our family, our loved ones and our friends, and somehow we got through it.
"Maserati as a brand is driven by passion. We’ve got a passion for our history, our heritage, our technology, our craftsmanship, and it’s wonderful to be associated with The CEO Magazine.
"To see the nominees has been absolutely incredible. I want to thank the elite group of finalists. It’s incredible to be one of the judges and look at the quality of what you do. It’s really impressive and the future’s very bright."
Sipping the night away with ‘Maser-tinis’ in hand (very special Maserati espresso-infused martinis) and delectable canapes, the energetic atmosphere and bubbly chatter was proof that people are well and truly ready to explore a brilliant new world post-COVID.
The evening was just a small snapshot of what’s to come at the 10th annual Executive of the Year Awards, where the 2021 edition will be hosted at The Star, Sydney, on 24 February 2022.