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Awards recognise stars of Lake Mac business community

Lake Macquarie Cruises has taken out a coveted business award for its agility and achievement during the COVID pandemic.


The local tourism operator was among an outstanding line-up of 42 Lake Macquarie business finalists, in categories ranging from Excellence in Sustainability to Start Up Superstar.

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Kay Fraser said Lake Macquarie Cruises highlighted the importance of a strong culture and delivery of services to staff, tourists and the local community.

“COVID has been a tough time for many of our local businesses, and it was no different for Lake Macquarie Cruises,” Cr Fraser said.

“But they took the downtime as an opportunity to invest in renovations and modify vessels, helping keep staff employed and paving the way for growth.”

Cr Fraser said all 13 category winners and finalists demonstrated fantastic efforts in their field, despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

“It’s amazing to see what our local businesses can achieve when faced with adversity,” Cr Fraser said.

“We have a fantastic corporate community in Lake Macquarie, and it’s been great to be able to provide some positive recognition for their accomplishments over the past year. I extend my congratulations to all our finalists and award winners.”

Lake Macquarie Cruises General Manager Peter Hanrahan said despite the challenges of COVID, the past 18 months had been a learning curve to open new doors and seek opportunities for growth.

“It was great to see a strong group of award entries this year – a fantastic representation of businesses contributing to our city, economy and future,” Mr Hanrahan said.

“I encourage the Lake Mac community to get behind local businesses and show support where you can – we greatly appreciate it.”

Ramsay Health Care Chief Transformation Officer Leah Gabolinscy took out the Outstanding Business Leader award for her role in helping Lake Macquarie Private Hospital navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

Judges also recognised her achievements in improving patient pathways across Ramsay Health’s local facilities.

“Bringing together the hospital leadership team to plan and develop COVID-safe operating plans was a huge undertaking in a challenging environment,” Ms Gabolinscy said.

“Ensuring the safety of our patients, staff and doctors was the absolute priority, and being able to lead our teams to design and deliver a COVID response plan which is continuing to be applied in the current environment is something I am really proud of, as a team effort.”

All winners were notified by Cr Kay Fraser via telephone. The Business Excellence Awards ceremony had to be cancelled due to COVID restrictions.

A total of 11 Lake Mac Business Excellence Awards winners will progress as finalists to the Hunter Business Awards later this year.

The 2021 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards are proudly supported by Dantia, Kent Conveyancing, The Newcastle Herald, ATUNE Health Centres, Jodie Harrison MP, Ramsay Health, University of Newcastle, Lake Mac Holiday Parks, Hunter Water and Allambi Care.

Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards 2021 Winners

Outstanding Young Employee – Emma McDonald, Matt Hall Racing

Outstanding Young Business Leader – Jonathon Power, Empowered Community Services

Outstanding Business Leader – Leah Gabolinscy, Ramsay Health Care

Outstanding Employer of Choice – The Rainbow Clinic

Start Up Superstar – Compeat Nutrition

Excellence in Business – ATUNE Health Centres

Excellence in Small Business – Fire Response

Excellence in Micro Business – Psyborg

Excellence in Retail, Hospitality and Tourism – Lake Macquarie Cruises

Excellence in Innovation and Adaptability – Design Anthology

Contribution to the City – Spotlight Group

Outstanding Community Organisation – Charlestown Youth and Community Centre (The Place)

Excellence in Sustainability - Imaginelle


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