TELSTRA QUEENSLAND BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR

Written on the 5 October 2010

TELSTRA QUEENSLAND BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR

THE leader of a Brisbane company that strives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from homes today won the 2010 Telstra Queensland Business Woman of the Year award.

CitySmart CEO Megan Houghton (pictured) won top honours for leading a program that aims to reduce 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from Brisbane’s atmosphere, through the company’s EzyGreen initiative that helps residents change energy consumption habits.

“We launched EzyGreen and why it’s so amazing is that we did it in nine months,” she says.

“We took it from the back of a napkin to a reality in people’s homes where it’s helping them save on their energy consumption and as a result reducing significant greenhouse gas emissions across Brisbane.

“My biggest pleasure is that I am the leader of a group of 10 people who I consider individually amazing, they are truly great to work with, they’re fun, they give it their all, they like to have a party which is always handy, and together we have achieved an Australian first in an environmental program.

“My daughter said to me this morning when I dropped her off at school, ‘I bet you’re going to win mummy’, and you know, she really doesn’t understand what I do so she has no reason to say that – she thinks that we’re the greatest company on earth because we have a mascot in the shape of a green heart.”

In a pink suit she made herself, Houghton told the audience at the Sofitel Ballroom Le Grand that businesses are made on their people and ‘you need to be yourself in a way that collaborates with others’.

“During my whole career I have been myself, I haven’t pretended to be anybody else, I don’t put on airs and graces, I’m very straightforward, I call a spade a spade and I always will do that, and I always value the people who work with me,” she says.

“We started with seed funding of $600,000 and we turned it into a $25 million project – we couldn’t have done that without all the support of the corporate partners.”

Telstra chief marketing officer Kate McKenzie says the winners of the different categories were successful business women with inspirational leadership qualities and achievements.

“After a long leadership career in consulting, energy and water utilities, she (Houghton) has established the team at CitySmart and built up its business model and financial position,” she says.

“The EzyGreen program was a challenging initiative that brought together local and state governments and partnerships with the private sector to back CitySmart’s sustainability goals.”

The winners of the other categories included Maroochydore-based The Creative Collective owner Yvette Adams, Toowoomba regional council tourism and events manager Debra Howe, James Cook University's Dr Kirsten Heimann and Moranbah-based BHP Billiton maintenance and engineering manager Melanie Gordon.


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