Macarthur women named as finalists for prestigious awards

Kylie Pussell, Louise Sparkes Howarth, Maxine Colligan, Vanessa Morschel and Corrine Blight are Macarthur's Western Sydney Women's Awards nominees
Kylie Pussell, Louise Sparkes Howarth, Maxine Colligan, Vanessa Morschel and Corrine Blight are Macarthur's Western Sydney Women's Awards nominees

The Covid-19 pandemic has stopped a lot of things.

One thing it can't stop is Macarthur's determined and passionate business women.

Five locals have been nominated as finalists across several categories in the Western Sydney Women awards.

Kylie Pussell, Louise Sparkes Howarth, Vanessa Morschel, Corrine Blight and Maxine Colligan are among 36 finalists across 12 different categories.

Miracle Babies Foundation chief executive and co-founder Kylie Pussell is a finalist in the Community Woman category at the Western awards.

Mrs Pussell is a mum to three surviving miracle babies and has drawn on her personal experience with miscarriage, neonatal bereavement and extreme prematurity to develop vital programs and resources in Neonatal ICUs and Special Care Nurseries (SCN) across Australia including western Sydney hospitals - Liverpool, Campbelltown, Westmead, Fairfield, Nepean, and Blacktown.

The Covid-19 pandemic has added an extra layer of difficulty for families of premature and sick newborns.

"It's such a traumatising and emotional place when you have a premature or sick baby... it doesn't go to plan and it's a whole new world," the Harrington Park resident said.

"It's very technical; it's full of equipment you don't know much about.

"Increased anxiety, risk of depression and isolation have been exacerbated with the pandemic with hospital limits and parents are not together which is hard when you're dealing with difficult conversations with doctors and nurses about the health and care of your baby.

"We have moved a lot of our programs online so parents can have a secondary form of connection to reduce that isolation.

Kylie Pussell is a finalist in the Community Woman category at the Western Sydney Women awards.

Kylie Pussell is a finalist in the Community Woman category at the Western Sydney Women awards.

"Sometimes knowing you are not alone and you have got someone you can talk to openly about your fears and concerns is enough for some parents."

And what about being a finalist for the Western Sydney Women awards?

"It's always nice to be a finalist for an award, especially when you are nominated by your team members," she said.

"It's a real honour to know you have that that respect for your leadership."

Fellow nominee and recent Ausmumpreneur award winner Louise Sparkes Howarth echoed her sentiments.

"I feel incredibly humbled to be nominated this year in the category of Small Business Growth for the Western Sydney Women Awards, particularly in 2020," the Spring Farm resident said.

"When Covid hit, many businesses paused or cancelled their marketing commitments due to the uncertainty of the unprecedented times brought on by the pandemic.

"To be acknowledged for business growth in 2020 is like a little hug from the universe cheering me on for my commitment to my clients, my business and being a resilient woman in business."

Louise Sparkes Hpwarths husband John and son Jonathan attended the finalist presentation to accept her award.

Louise Sparkes Hpwarths husband John and son Jonathan attended the finalist presentation to accept her award.

Mrs Sparkes Howarth launched Pineapple Marketing and Promotions in 2018 to help businesses 'stand tall and stand out' through social media and strategic marketing.

"We really are all in this together - everyone has been impacted to varying degrees by the pandemic," she said.

"Use this time to expand your knowledge, speak to like-minded business people that inspire you to push through and keep going.

"Business and 2020 as a whole really has turned out to be 'the year of the pineapple' - sweet, sour, bumpy and sometimes prickly - but incredibly enjoyable when sliced into bite-size chunks."

Maxine Colligan has been nominated in the trades category of the awards for her work as an automotive refinishing technician.

"I left high school not really knowing what I wanted to do but when I spoke to a friend of mine who is a spray painter, they recommended a free course for painting and panel beating hosted by Campbelltown TAFE," the Campbelltown resident said.

Maxine Colligan

Maxine Colligan

"I loved the painting side of the course and I fell in love with it. That's when I decided to pursue an apprenticeship in the industry."

Ms Colligan said she was "super excited" to have been nominated as a finalist.

"My biggest hope is that this award is a beacon for women in trades or male-dominated industries to show that they can do this," she said.

"Despite all of the negativity and people telling you that you can't do it, know that you can do it.

"Trades are very successful career pathways for both men and women."

Picton's Vanessa Morschel said she felt "elated, humbled and grateful" to be nominated for the Western Sydney Women in Construction award and Western Sydney Executive of the Year award.

Ms Morschel said her executive career started at Camden Council and just five years later she was appointed as a board director with housing provider, BlueCHP.

"I started out volunteering and doing casual work in the education sector, then I transitioned to urban planning on the eve of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008," she said.

"Despite pressures to stay in a stable job and avoid the risky world of property development, I pursued further qualifications and experience in the property industry.

"Whilst I worked in stable local government town planning departments, I pushed myself to complete postgraduate qualifications, commute long distances to attend events and put my hand up to volunteer for many Western Sydney-based advisory panels, groups and committees after work."

Vanessa Morschel is nominated for 2 awards.

Vanessa Morschel is nominated for 2 awards.

Ms Morschel encouraged other businesswomen to seek support while the world grapples with the global pandemic.

"Do not feel abashed to reach out to other business owners and workers in western Sydney," she said.

"During this time of uncertainty reduce the amount of time dwelt on the negatives, invest in social media platforms, consider diversification and use this time to evaluate all aspects of your business plan."

Fellow nominee Corrine Blight said she felt "completely overwhelmed with gratitude" to be a nominee this year.

"It was so unexpected - Limitless Fitness and Nutrition is such a passion for me," the Macquarie Links resident said.

"I just love every second of working in my business and being surrounded by our amazing community.

"To be recognised for something I'm so passionate about and something I put a lot of time and effort into, it's just so reassuring that the work done is making a difference and hopefully inspiring people to be their best, happiest and most limitless selves."

Corrine Blight said she felt "completely overwhelmed with gratitude" to be a nominee this year.

Corrine Blight said she felt "completely overwhelmed with gratitude" to be a nominee this year.

Limitless Fitness and Nutrition is an online group fitness community offering daily, live-streamed workouts, personal training and more.

Ms Blight said she was pleased to see so many locals being recognised in the awards.

"I know so many incredible woman who are extremely passionate and talented in what they do, all of whom have so much to offer the western Sydney business community," she said.

"I hope through amazing awards like this, these woman are inspired to chase their dreams, follow their passions and start their own businesses too."

  • The Western Sydney Women award winners will be announced via livestream on September 15.