Cake queen kicks off quest for young talent

NOMINATIONS are starting to roll in for the Business News 40 Under 40 program.

The first received was from Cake Box managing director Tanya Stolk.

The former chef has been a partner in the Cake Box – a business founded by Clough Engineering boss Harold Clough’s daughter Sue Townsend – for the past four years.

Ms Townsend nominated Ms Stolk for the program and Mr Clough is acting as one of her referees.

Ms Stolk said her most significant business achievement to date was learning how to delegate – a skill that can prove difficult for many small business owners.

Another achievement was winning the WA section of the Young Australian of the Year in the career achievement category.

Ms Stolk said her biggest business disaster came from her naivete towards others.

“I’ve come to realise that not all people have good ethics,” she said explaining how one former employee fled to a rival with the Cake Box’s client list and some of its recipes.

Meanwhile, Perth lawyer John Groppoli says age is becoming less of a barrier to going into business.

A managing partner with Deacons Lawyers, Mr Groppoli says a lot of his firm’s clients are aged under 40, particularly those in small to medium-sized enterprises.

“One thing we’ve noticed over the past five years, with the change in the social and technological landscape, is that people are entertaining business ideas at a much younger age,” he said.

“There is a greater enthusiasm and confidence in their own abilities.

“We’re seeing a lot of women go into business. A lot of them are in their mid 20s to mid 30s. And if they’re not in business they’re holding senior places in management.”

Mr Groppoli said his firm decided to sponsor Business News’ 40 Under 40 program because his firm had a young partnership base.

“We’ve been fortunate in that good planning and good luck have come together and we’ve been able to recruit good young people,” he said.

“These young partners have been prepared to take on a leadership and mentoring role within the firm.”

Mr Groppoli believes leadership means having a vision and selling it to your team.

“It’s an ability to implement that vision – not just for the good of yourself but for the good of the group as a whole,” he said.

Mr Groppoli ranks Wesfarmers managing director Michael Chaney, Challenge Bank CEO Tony Howarth and former Australian Medical Association WA branch president Dr Rosanna Capolingua-Host as leaders he admires.

“Chaney’s done things with Wesfarmers that most didn’t think he could do,” he said.

“But at the same time he always pushes Wesfarmers and does not take credit for his successes.

“Tony Howarth is someone I respect in terms of what he’s done to keep Challenge Bank as a financial institution here despite the Westpac takeover.

“Rosanna has always struck me as a competent leader who is passionate about the health of the community and the quality of medical care in this State.”

To nominate a person for the 40 Under 40 program visit

Add your comment

BNIQ sponsored byECU School of Business and Law


6th-Australian Institute of Management WA20,000
7th-Murdoch University16,584
8th-South Regional TAFE10,549
9th-Central Regional TAFE10,000
10th-The University of Notre Dame Australia6,708
47 tertiary education & training providers ranked by total number of students in WA

Number of Employees

BNiQ Disclaimer