To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are shining a spotlight on some of the inspirational Australian women at the forefront of their industries.

This year, the campaign theme for International Women’s Day is ‘inspire inclusion’. When we teach communities to value the inclusion and contribution of women, everyone benefits and society becomes more inclusive. 

In honour of this important theme, we encourage you to read about these amazing CEOS, entrepreneurs and creatives who make a real difference to the world.

Sharon Nouh, CEO of ProSpend


Women in tech and innovation

The technology and innovation industry can often be viewed as a ‘man’s world’, but this is far from the truth. In Australia, women continue to invent and develop exciting programs which support businesses and make a real impact. 

Sharon Nouh is the CEO and Founder of ProSpend, a business spend management platform launched back in 2011. While working in the travel industry, Sharon was inspired to design an expanse management tool, the first of its kind in Australia. Long nights working at the kitchen table eventually resulted in a successful platform, one which continues to be valued by customers around the country.

Sharon hasn’t had a smooth journey, but she is passionate about innovation and development.

“I hope my success will inspire other women and girls to pursue careers in technology,” she says.

In fact, it is this same spirit for innovation that drives Kate Bezar from Better Packaging Co, who was announced as one of the 2023 Meaningful Business 100 last year. 


Kate Bezar, co-founder of Better Packaging Co


The award recognises individuals who contribute to improving the health of communities and sustainability in the environment. Kate co-founded Better Packaging Co in 2018, a carbon neutral BCorp reducing plastic waste through a range of sustainable packaging. She is constantly developing new ideas and driving her company towards environmental goals, combating pollution, poverty and climate change. Since its founding, Better Packaging Co has removed pollution from the atmosphere equivalent to 2.5 million plastic bottles.

According to Kate, “we are proof that profit and purpose can go hand in hand.”  

Finally, Carly Shamgar is the CEO and co-founder of Shouta, a digital gifting program for Aussie businesses. 

After working in a toxic environment where staff were under-appreciated and under-valued, Carly felt it was important to develop a gifting program for businesses keen to recognise the hard work of their employees. Shouta gives companies the tools to simply send their employees an instant, digital gift in a secure way. Already, the company is receiving international interest, and Carly is currently exploring new avenues of development.


Inspirational Australian women

CEO of Shouta, Carly Shamgar


Women in agriculture

In Australia, agriculture accounts for 55 percent of land use and almost 14 percent of goods and service exports (according to figures from 2022-23). It’s no surprise, then, that the sector is supported by several inspirational women contributing to their communities.

Michelle Leonard is one such individual, who works out of NSW as the founder, artistic director and conductor of Moorambilla Voices, a company increasing creative opportunities for young people in regional communities. Since its establishment, Michelle and her team have provided developmental workshops to over 40,000 students focused on encouraging artistic expression. 

Similarly, Nikki Davey supports small-scale flower growers to reach a larger customer base with her business, Grown Not Flown. As a flower grower herself, Nikki recognised a need for new technologies to help small businesses establish a larger presence. Grown Not Flown is an app that connects customers with their local flower farmers, supporting rural economies and developing a like-minded community. 


Inspirational Australian women

Keri Algar, founder of Soltera, testing her rum © Isabella Borriella


When it comes to working on the land, Keri Algar is as knowledgeable as it gets. Based on a property surrounded by cane fields, she realised that all the ingredients needed to produce delicious rum were right in front of her. After purchasing the necessary equipment, she began experimenting in her garage, working tirelessly until she achieved the desired result. 

Her brand, Soltera, means single female in Spanish. Soltera is Australia’s only solo female-owned and operated rum distillery. 

“Being a woman in the rum industry, traditionally male-dominated, has been interesting and often bemusing because I grew up with a single working mum, and all I’ve ever known to be true is how capable women are,” Keri explains.

Soltera Rum is supplied in local bars and restaurants between Byron Bay and Brisbane. 


Ruby Riethmuller, founder of Womn-Kind


Women in Charity

When it comes to helping those in need, there are several leaders who spring to mind. Australia is home to plenty of wonderful charities, although a couple stick out as shining examples of impactful and inspirational organisations.

Ruby Riethmuller was only 23 when she founded Womn-Kind, an organisation reducing the impact of mental illness on young people. Ruby grew up on a farm in regional NSW and dealt with her own mental health challenges, which inspired her to make a difference in the lives of other young girls. 

“Womn-Kind provides girls with an ally without judgement. Together our mentors are nurturing the upcoming generation of empowered female leaders to recognise their potential, find comfort in their own skin and take proactive charge of their mental health.”

The Womn-Kind app provides on-demand access to wellbeing resources, as well as an inclusive online community. Ruby is proud to see the impact of these programs and is honoured “to be considered a big sister to thousands of girls across the country.”


Inspirational Australian women

Shake It Up CEO, Vicki Miller


Equally, Shake It Up CEO Vicki Miller is the leader of Australia’s largest non-government funders of Parkinson’s research. The organisation is committed to finding a cure for this terrible disease while supporting those with Parkinson’s and their families.

All funds raised by Shake It Up are donated directly to scientific projects aimed at discovering better treatments. Vicki takes her role very seriously, building the company profile so they can continue to fund cutting edge research. The company also supports the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative, the largest dataset and biosample library in the history of PD research. 

“I’ve learned a lot over the past six years,” says Vicki. “I really want to help everyone living with Parkinson’s now and in the future.”

Of course, this is only a small snapshot of Australia’s inspirational women. To read even more stories, check out our interviews with Sarah Willmott, founder of Feel Better Box, and Deb Farnworth-Wood from Issada Skincare.