Outstanding local leaders named winners in North Queensland Australian Leadership Excellence Awards



Celebrated local leaders have been named winners in the North Queensland regional Australian Leadership Excellence Awards (ALEAs) in a ceremony in Townsville on Thursday night held at The Pier Restaurant and Bar. Amongst those with their achievements celebrated were Breece Gevaux IMLa, a Second in Command Officer in the Australian Defence Force currently deployed in Iraq, and Patrice Brown, Company Director and Founder at CQG Consulting.


The prestigious national awards series presented by the Institute of Managers and Leaders, has been celebrating outstanding leadership for 28 years, with ALEAs winners being championed by leadership professionals Australia-wide.


This year, 17 local leaders were shortlisted as finalists across several categories including Leader/Manager, Owner/Entrepreneur, Not for Profit, Community Leader and Emerging Leader, reflecting the diverse professional backgrounds of North Queensland leadership, from the public sector, to small business, to charity organisations. The five winners of the North Queensland ALEAs announced in last night’s ceremony include:


  • Breece Gevaux IMLa, 2IC at the Australian Defence Force | Leader/Manager category
  • Patrice Brown, Company Director and Founder at CQG Consulting | Owner/Entrepreneur category
  • Marsha Zuhorn MIML, CEO at Coast to Country Housing Company | Not For Profit category
  • Michael Gleandow, Chair at Seed Foundation Australia | Community Leader category
  • Don McPhail, Senior Engineer at Energy Queensland | Emerging Leader category


“The consistently high calibre of finalists and winners in regional Queensland shows that great leadership isn’t only found in places like Silicon Valley or New York, and isn’t limited to the capital cities like Sydney or Brisbane,” said David Pich, Chief Executive of the Institute of Managers and Leaders.


“Great leadership is as prevalent in regional Queensland through community leaders and local business owners, as in large multi-national corporations. Regional Queensland’s outstanding leaders are an inspiration to everyday Australians and we are honoured to be celebrating their accomplishments”.


Breece Gevaux, winner of the Manager/Leader award for his outstanding leadership in the Australian Defence Force said, “Seeking recognition for simply doing my job does not come naturally, so my motivation here is to shine a spotlight on the issues facing young leaders both here in Australia, but also in Papua New Guinea and Iraq.


“Leadership is all about influence, and the more we can empower our young people’s leadership skills, the more we can influence our communities to support one another.”


Gevaux dedicated his heartfelt acceptance speech to his wife who is currently 33 weeks pregnant.


“She’s been so supportive of my journey towards enhancing my leadership skills. She’s been resolute as I’ve travelled firstly through Papua New Guinea for 4 months, and now Iraq for 6 months, expanding my knowledge and experiences of leadership in action. And through all of these long periods away, and now being 33 weeks pregnant, she’s been my rock. Our new arrival will have an incredible mother and role model to look up to.


Winner of the Owner/Entrepreneur award for her leadership excellence at CQG Consulting, Patrice Brown said, “I am very proud of my team’s achievements, particularly throughout regional Queensland facilitating sustainable developments and assisting our clients with improving designs and operations to minimise impacts on the cultural, social and environmental values.


“The horizon is bright for Northern Australia as we sit on the doorstep of a ballooning population in Asia and their appetite for our food products and resources. We all have a responsibility as leaders and managers to ensure we maximise these opportunities as we protect our natural environment and our way of life and support our innovative entrepreneurs and start-ups as they lead us into the future of artificial intelligence and technology.”


The regional winners were judged and awarded from a shortlisted group of 17 exceptional local leaders including:


  • Nicole Hynes, Procurement and Contract Manager at the Department of Communities, Child Saftey and Disability Services | Leader/Manager category
  • Baf Kuka, Compliance Manager at First Aid Safety Training | Leader/Manager category
  • Robin Sprott FIML, Principal at Northern Beaches State High School | Leader/Manager category
  • Douglas Dunstan, Non-Executive Director at Yumba Meta Housing Association | Leader/Manager category
  • Sean Johnson, Co-founder and Executive Director at Applied Inspiration | Owner/Entrepreneur category
  • Rachelle Foley, Director at Dexion North Queensland | Owner/Entrepreneur category
  • Tara Parish, Founder and Director at TJIP | Owner/Entrepreneur category
  • Warwick Powell, Founding Chairman at Sister City Partners Ltd | Not For Profit category
  • Patricia O’Callaghan MIML, CEO at Townsville Enterprises | Not For Profit category
  • Joanna Murray, President at Townsville Business Womens Circle | Not For Profit category
  • David Donohue AFIML, Chair Governing Council at The Good Shepherd Home | Community Leader category
  • Lachlan Grant, Planning & Program Manager at Building and Asset Services | Emerging Leader category


Winners from Thursday’s ceremony will become finalists in the Queensland State ALEAs held in September at the Hamilton Lounge in Brisbane City Hall.


For more information about the Australian Leadership Excellence Awards, please visit https://managersandleaders.co.nz/leadership-excellence-awards/


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Contacts of finalists and David Pich are available for interviews upon request.


For media enquiries, contact

Tamara Wright, Signature Events Manager

0439 956 104 | tamara.wright@managersandleaders.com.au