Best in business celebrated at Excellence Awards

Date posted: 12 July 2019

Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Award winner Jade Chislett didn’t have to look far for her entrepreneurial inspiration.

Ms Chislett’s daughter, Bella, was born in 2012 with ‘moderate to profound’ hearing loss, requiring cochlear implants from just nine months of age.

“Bella always had a fascination with dolls and for years we searched for a doll that was just like her,” Ms Chislett said.

“We knew a relatable doll would help Bella to understand her devices better and help with device compliance. It would help her with self-confidence and feeling included within her community.”

With nothing suitable on the market, Ms Chislett’s idea for her company – Just Like You Dolls – was born.

The concept has flourished to become a highly successful Lake Macquarie-based business, selling dolls accessorised with a variety of medical devices to customers around the world.

Ms Chislett was one of more than a dozen emotional winners at Friday night’s Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards, which recognise top performers across the City’s thriving business community.

Speech pathologist Jess Kiely, from A Growing Understanding Speech Pathology, took out the night’s Outstanding Young Employee award, while osteopath and ATUNE Health Centres Managing Director Simon Ashley won the Outstanding Business Leader category.

Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows won the award for Excellence in Retail, Hospitality and Tourism, and Downer EDI Works won Excellence in Sustainability for overhauling its Teralba asphalt plant to incorporate recycled plastics, glass and other materials in its manufacturing process.

Deputy Mayor David Belcher, who presented awards at Friday night’s packed ceremony at Belmont 16s, said all 14 winners were worthy of recognition and praise.

“A closer look at the recipients of this year’s awards provides an insight into the diversity of corporate talent and potential in Lake Macquarie,” Cr Belcher said.

“They demonstrate what is possible with hard work, creative ideas, passion and persistence. They showcase our City’s growing reputation as a force to be reckoned with in the State’s regional business community.”

Lake Macquarie City Council CEO Morven Cameron congratulated not only the winners, but all Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards finalists.

“These companies, and the thousands of other small and large businesses that call Lake Macquarie home, make a huge contribution to the lifestyle and wellbeing we enjoy in our City by creating employment and driving our economy,” Ms Cameron said.

Winners of all but two categories progress to next month’s Hunter Business Awards, with success there leading to the NSW Business Awards in November.

The 2019 awards are proudly supported by Dantia, Service NSW and media partners – Newcastle Herald and NEWFM & 2HD.

2019 Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards winners

Outstanding Young Employee

Jess Kiely - A Growing Understanding

Outstanding Young Entrepreneur

Jade Chislett - Just Like You Dolls

Outstanding Business Leader

Simon Ashley - ATUNE Health Centres

Excellence in Social Enterprise

Allambi Care

Start Up Superstar

Integrated Environmental Management Australia

Excellence in Innovation


Excellence in Sustainability

Downer EDI Works

Excellence in Micro Business

Evergreen Energy Consultants

Excellence in Small Business

Design Anthology

Excellence in Business

ATUNE Health Centres

Outstanding Employer of Choice

Toronto Private Hospital

Excellence in Export

R&R Murphy

Excellence in Retail, Hospitality and Tourism

Caves Coastal Bar & Bungalows

Contribution to the City

Allambi Care

Page last updated: 12 July 2019