Inaugural bash sets standard

THERE were some famous names and some influential people at WA Business News’ inaugural 40under40 Awards last week.

Harry Perkins, Kevin Judge, Howard Read and Colin Barnett were among those who celebrated the achievements of 40 young business leaders at the event, which was held at Fraser’s Restaurant at Kings Park and was attended by more than 350 nominees, sponsors, supporters, friends and family.

And what a success it was. After an hour of mingling with prominent names in WA business circles, the elegant Tina Alteri began the official proceedings. Following speeches by both Ms Alteri and WA Business News director Elton Swarts, and with heightened anxiety, the winners of the WA Business News 40under40 Awards were announced.

The top 40 were chosen from the 117 nominations, with the final winners’ names read out in random order, making it a very long wait for the Australian Heritage Group’s managing director Sally Capp, the last of the 40.

Mark Barnaba and Manny Papadoulis were announced joint winners of the First Amongst Equals Award. The premise behind the award was to pick someone amongst the group of 40 to act as an ambassador to galvanise this group of highly talented and successful people and create further opportunities.

As it happened, the judges found it painstakingly hard to choose, even after the candidates for this role were narrowed down to the top four. And it was decided that there could not just be one and that Manny Papadoulis, head of WA’s most successful and visible private tourism group, Feature Tours, and Mark Barnaba, co-founder of corporate advisers Poynton and Partners and management consulting company GEM Consulting, would be joint winners of the award.

Mr Barnaba said he has received a lot of recognition since the presentation.

“I’ve received tremendous feedback. I struggled to think how many emails and phone calls I received saying congratulations. I think everyone was surprised about how big it was,” he said.

“Manny and I will be combining forces to make sure we keep this group together. It won’t be too hard to do, it just takes a bit of organising. We will be organising regular events.”

Once the applause had died down the celebrations continued and the networking really began to take effect.

WA Business News director Elton Swarts said the action-packed night and positive feedback has ensured the staging of the event next year.

“To fill Fraser’s Convention Centre in its inaugural year speaks volumes about how the WA Business community have embraced the WA Business News 40under40 Awards,” he said.

“The 2003 WA Business News 40under40 Awards are already well on the way, with potential high-calibre candidates signalling their intention to enter.

“We will announce the opening of the 2003 WA Business News 40under40 Awards entry date in WA Business News or people can check for updates.”

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