A leading network CEO has been named the 2013 Telstra Victorian Business Woman of the Year.
Harcourts Victoria CEO Sadhana Smiles was given the coveted title at the Telstra Victorian Business Women's Awards at the Crown Melbourne on Tuesday night.
Ms Smiles told Real Estate Business she was honoured by the award and what it stood for.
“It’s a humbling experience that you’re being recognised for your work not just in business but the work that you do as a total person,” she said.
“It’s a really encompassing award in terms of it’s not just one part of your life, it’s all sectors of your life.”
The published author and philanthropist said she was living proof women could have it all.
“We talk a lot about gender imbalance in Australia,” she said. “It’s a general issue that we have in many countries around the world.
“Traditionally in every culture of the world, men are seen as leaders. Are we ever going to have gender balance? Probably not in terms of workplace but we’ll get pretty close to it.
“Women, like myself, by winning this award we can inspire or motivate other women to achieve what it is they want to achieve in their workplaces regardless of the sector they work in.
“If I can do that for the next 12 months and be the ambassador for that in any industry, that’s just an opportunity for me.
Ms Smiles said her advice to women was to becoming confident at asking for opportunities in the workplace.
“Don’t wait until you believe you’re fully qualified to do a job. Put your hand up and take the risk. The worst thing you’ll do is make a mistake. You’ll learn from it and you’ll go forward, and learn to promote yourself.
“Women don’t tend to promote themselves. If you can learn to promote yourself in a way that’s humbled and not in an arrogant way, you will create opportunity just doing those three things.”
In addition to being named business woman of the year, Ms Smiles was also named the winner of the Private and Corporate Sector Award.
Speaking on the awards, group managing director of Telstra Innovation, Products and Marketing and Telstra Business Women's Awards Ambassador, Kate McKenzie, said: "Judges were particularly impressed by Ms Smiles' ability to balance her business commitments with her international community focus.
"They recognised her achievements in making a name for herself in a heavily male-driven industry and also her involvement in organising community fundraising events," Ms McKenzie said.
Ms Smiles will now proceed to the national finals to be held in Melbourne on November 14.
Read more Ms Smiles' reflections on being a successful businesswoman.