Oil and Gas News

Women in Industry winners announced

The 2020 Women in Industry Award winners have been announced, recognising Shell Australia’s turnaround engineer, Alicia Heskett as this year’s Rising Star.

The 2020 Women in Industry event received a record number of nominations this year, with these awards recognising the contributions of women in the industrial sector.

Humbled by the award, Heskett strives to be a professional that others in the industry can look up to as inspiration to pursue their own goals.

“So often, we’re told to find a mentor and create networks within the industry, and I hope that being recognised through this award, that I can continue to reach out to others as a mentor to share my own experiences while assisting others in reaching their full potential,” Heskett said.

“Winning this award will also reaffirm that I’m not only paving my way towards my goals, but also will silence the nay-sayers who didn’t believe I could do it because of my gender.”

Heskett is in charge of the turnaround excellence lead portfolio, which includes local assurance ownership of turnaround processes.

As the excellence lead, Heskett is also central to stakeholder management within Shell as well as global collaboration across the company’s turnaround teams.

Since joining Shell, Heskett’s passion for driving sustainable change in diversity and inclusion saw her presenting to peers, managers and the senior leadership team as the keynote speaker for QGC’s International Women’s Day events. 

Commenting on what her biggest achievement in her career has been, Heskett said it would be the commissioning of a new facility alongside an “incredible team out in the field”.

“I vividly remember being out in Western Queensland, turning the manual isolation valve to introduce first gas to our flare system, of which I’d helped lead the commissioning checks,” Heskett recalled.

“Myself and the team of operators watched with bated breath as the flare started up and we proved our first gas in the system. That period, while working extended (21-7) shifts in the field, was an incredibly exciting and challenging time in my career and those moments have really stayed with me.”

Highlighting the importance of the energy industry, Heskett views it as an incredibly exciting sector due to its constantly innovating and evolving environment.

From the physical construction of new facilities, the development of new systems and processes, the digitisation of the industry, to the increasing importance of renewable energies integrating with Shell businesses, Heskett said she was constantly “amazed by the changes” she was seeing and contributing to.

“It’s also exciting seeing more and more females coming through the ranks and striving to not only make a difference within their careers, but also to support each other and work towards gender balance/equality within the energy and resources industry,” Heskett said.

Below is a full list of winners and finalists for the 2020 Women in Industry Awards.

Rising Star of the Year

Proudly sponsored by by Atlas Copco

“At Atlas Copco we believe that diversity in business is a critical driver for long-term success. The Women in Industry awards is a special way in which we can show our commitment to advancing the gender balance in industry. As a global company Atlas Copco recognises the link between diversity and innovation and as we say, ‘there is always a better way’ and contributing to these awards is just one way that we can show that Atlas Copco recognises the talent and achievement of females across our industry”.

Winner: Alicia Heskett,  Shell Australia (QGC)


  • Helen Vu, BOC
  • Kate Robertson, Geological Survey of SA
  • Kate Stanbury, Stantec Australia
  • Keren Reynolds, BAE Systems Australia
  • Louise Azzopardi, WesTrac
  • Nima Sherpa, BHP
  • Rose Lindner, MMG
  • Vera Milutinovic, Inenco
  • Noriko Wood, Fulton Hogan

Social Leader of the Year

Winner: Jackie Lewis-Gray, BAE Systems Australia


  • Alanna Vial, BlueScope
  • Althea Papinczak, Women in Design and Construction (WIDAC)
  • Elizabeth Taylor, RedR International
  • Gemma Murphy, QBE Insurance
  • Jane Tiller, Monash University
  • Sarah McSwiney, Boeing Aerostructures Australia

Business Development Success of the Year

Winner: Rachael Ashfield,  ifm efector


  • Caroline Murray, APS Industrial
  • Jackie Thew, Abrasive Media Supplies
  • Marika Logan, Elgas
  • Stefanie Frawley, Colliers International
  • Sonia Turner, Scope Systems

Industry Advocacy Award

Winner: Rose Read,  National Waste & Recycling Industry Council


  • Elizabeth Molyneux,  AGL Energy
  • Hayley Jarick,  Supply Chain Sustainability School
  • Jacquelene Brotherton, Transport Women Australia
  • Jodie Sainsbury, Kickass Women
  • Joy Marrocco, AGL
  • Shay Chalmers, Strategic Engineering
  • Sonja Malcolm, Sydney Metro

Safety Advocacy Award

Proudly sponsored by BOC

“BOC has been proudly supporting the Women in Industry awards for the past six years. The awards encourage and recognise the success of women in industries that have traditionally been male-dominated, including road transport, logistics, rail and bulk handling, infrastructure, mining and engineering.

The calibre of nominees and winners each years demonstrates considerable leadership and commitment to their various sectors and aligns with BOC’s focus on the pursuit of excellence in industry.

BOC believes the awards are an important event and it’s critical companies continue to support the participation of women in industry and shine light on the women who are true role models in leadership.”

Winner: Nadine Youssef, Sydney Trains


  • Annastasia Denigan, Cement Australia
  • Lyndal Denny, Women In Trucking Australia
  • Maddy Holloway, CITIC Pacific Mining
  • Natalia Trewin, WesTrac 
  • Noelani Reardon, Transport for NSW
  • Terese Withington, Weir Minerals Australia
  • Tracey MacDonald, BAE Systems Australia

Mentor of the Year

Winner: Dale Steven, AGL Energy


  • Clytie Dangar, CRC ORE
  • Kylie Jones, Diageo Australia
  • Marie Varrasso, Officeworks

Excellence in Manufacturing

Winner: Rochelle Avinu, Leica Biosystems


  • Josie Costanzo,  Brickworks Building Products
  • Marina Melik, Boeing Aerostructures Australia
  • Rebecca Parnell, Artisan Food Company
  • Samantha McDonald, Bluescope

Excellence in Mining 

Winner: Sarah Withell, Whitehaven Coal Limited


  • Carlie Hayward, BHP
  • Clytie Dangar, CRC ORE
  • Jacqueline Madsen, Caterpillar
  • Kim Parascos, iVolve Industrial Technology
  • Rose Lindner, MMG
  • Terese Withington, Weir Minerals Australia Ltd

Excellence in Engineering

Proudly sponsored by BAE Systems Australia

“The Women in Industry awards provide a unique platform to celebrate the achievements of women in Australia. As one of the largest employers of engineers in the country, BAE Systems is particularly proud to sponsor the Engineering Excellence category in 2020. We have female engineers to thank for many of the world’s greatest innovations, yet they make up only 12 per cent of engineers employed in Australia. Awards such as these are important to not only celebrate achievement but to also provide inspiration to others to break down barriers and excel in the engineering industry.”

Winner: Elizabeth Taylor, RedR International


  • Jane MacMaster, Engineers Australia
  • Jo Withford, Transport for NSW
  • Lesley DeGaris, Boeing Aerostructures Australia
  • Lidija Dumbaloska, Sydney Trains
  • Mandy Petrides, Bosch Australia

Excellence in Transport

Winner: Melissa Strong, Lindsay Australia


  • Agnes Leeson, Elgas
  • Camilla Drover, Transport for NSW
  • Danelle Kempton, Dananni Haulage
  • Jane Gillespie, Arup
  • Lyndal Denny, Women In Trucking Australia