SA Venture Capital Fund Portfolio Manager and InDaily 40 Under 40 awards panel head David Rohrsheim said while a historical culture of “waiting your turn” existed among South Australian business leaders, the awards were a chance to celebrate people who were making change in the state.
“It’s very South Australian to be humble and it’s very South Australian not to be the tall poppy,” the former Uber Australia boss said.
“I know there are lots of business leaders who aren’t doing it to win prizes, they’re doing it to run their business.
“They wouldn’t think to apply and don’t feel the need to put another trophy in their cabinet.
“To those folks, I’d ask them to appreciate what Solstice Media are doing by unearthing stories about South Australians doing great stuff, so that others can read about it.”
Begun in 2018, the 40 Under 40 Awards bring together South Australia’s top business people under the age of 40 – as of July 1 – with previous winners, forming an influential group of alumni, convened by judge and event sponsor Carmen Garcia.
Rohrsheim said the leaders highlighted the diverse range of business people in the state through a special 40 Under 40 print edition in CityMag in June.
“These are business awards but we know there are people who are doing business in the not-for-profit sector, in the research sector and in the arts sector who might not think of themselves as business leaders – but are raising money and running those organisations that are vitally important,” Rohrsheim said.
“You don’t have to work in an old fashioned corporation to apply and to be a business entrepreneur.”
He said the panel of nine judges would feature two new faces, Peregrine Corporation head of marketing Andrea Ingham and Piper Alderman projects partner Kathryn Walker.
The top 40 leaders are selected from a pool of completed nominations that is narrowed down to InDaily’s 40 Under 40.
Nominations for the awards close on April 2, and the achievements, diversity and innovation of this year’s 40 winners will be showcased at a gala presentation at the Adelaide Convention Centre on June 10.
New judge and Piper Alderman Partner Kathryn Walker said she had “jumped at the chance” to be involved in the awards.
“It’s such a great platform for innovation and success and showcasing those who want to put the state of South Australia first with innovative ideas, so I was just really keen to get on board,” she said.
The energy and infrastructure specialist lawyer said she would be on the hunt for businesspeople “disrupting the norm” and “challenging the way things have always been done”.
She said she was particularly excited to hear how entrepreneurs were contributing to their communities.
“It’s great to be wonderful at your role and your job but it’s also great to give back and to look at how what you’re doing could benefit the state as a whole,” Walker said.
Echoing Rohrsheim’s comments, Walker urged young leaders to come forward and highlight the state’s innovation.
“It’s good to show others that there are people thinking beyond what is being done the same way every day and that might inspire others to build on those ideas or to come forward with new ideas,” she said.
“It can encourage others to continue with their own goals when they’re looking at doing something … because it is hard. You get a lot of closed doors and a lot of rolled eye looks before you get someone who is willing to listen and give you their mentoring time or help financially to get projects off the ground.
“It also shows people that as a state we are forging ahead with innovation.”
The nominations for the 2021 40 Under 40 Awards are now open. You can nominate yourself or another worthy person under the age of 40.
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