The West's Winning Women

Winning women in uniform.

Barbara Etter and Siobhan Bacon are two women passionate about protecting us, at home and abroad.. both in commanding positions.Barbara's one of Australia's most senior police officers.. an assistant commissioner in WA. She's also one of the fittest forty-eight year old's in town. "I think it gives you credibility with the men if they see you look after yourself.. I think it gives them confidence to see someone who's strong and assertive and doesn't mind doing it tough".

Barbara loves a challenge.. from triathalons, to dancing competitions on Telethon. Barbara's certainly not your average cop.. she's a qualified pharmacist, a barrister, she holds two masters degrees, a raft of other qualifications.. and was last year's Telstra West Australian Business Woman of the Year."Proving yourself involves maybe going those extra yards and collecting degrees and qualifications along the way to enhance your credibility.. although there's still a bit of anit-intellectualism within policing and in some respects, you need to play down your qualifications". Unless you're on national television. Barbara was a winning contestant on Sale of the Century. So how did this spirited women, who enters quiz shows and dancing competitions, become a police woman... well, her dad was a cop.. she had a thirst for forensic science.. and a desire to take-on the blokes. "I was lucky that I had some male mentors.. but it's still a little bit of the boys club and you don't get access to the informal networks". Barbara wouldn't mind becoming a police commissioner, for now, she's considering writing a book and breeding Golden Retrievers with her husband Colin.

The Anzac Class frigates, vital to Australia's defence.. the person in charge of making sure the ships do what they're supposed to.. is Siobhan Bacon. Siobhan's a naval captain.. the equivalent of a full colonel in the army. "What I do is manage and oversee their maintenance, their logistics, which included inventory and sparing and things like that, but also looking after the personnel and training side". "I've got a lot of really good staff around to assist me to do that and I've got a number of years experience, so it's not like I was chucked in the deep end and left to sink or swim". Siobhan's got a number of degrees under her belt, too.. economics, politics, bachelor of arts.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing for this Sydney born pocket dynamo.. she's had to prove herself. "There are some people that feel you can't do certain jobs and things like that, but interestingly enough, for every one of those people who've had some misgivings, there's probably been double the amount that said, no, she can do it, she's got the skills, off she goes".On the horizon for Siobhan is a possible promotion, maybe a doctorate.. and she'll remain a vital member of the team protecting us.

Winning women in a man's world.

Toni Lehaney, Heather Jones and Min Stokes are three Perth women taking on the men on their turf. Toni Lehaney is thirty-eight, a mother of two, WA's only female dealer principal and is now one of WA's top young business executives.. along with Range Ford, she owns dealerships in Karratha and Port Headland.. annual turnover - more than a hundred million dollars. "We've grown up a bit in our industry now days and we're matching the product to our clients".

And that, Toni says, is where women have the edge. "Seventy to eighty percent of the purchasers decisions are made by women today". Toni's been in the industry seventeen years and knows a wrong decision doesn't just affect her.. it affects her seventy staff, their families, and her customers. "I'm a great believer that if it's morally and ethically right, the end result will be good".

For Min Stokes, there's NO room for error.. her office is four and a half thousand feet above the ground.. at the helm of Minovation.. a flight training school. Min used to be a farmer in the UK.. now she's Jandakot's only female chief flight instructor. Min's taught students from eleven to seventy and have a fleet of eight aircraft. "You make a lot of sacrifices, anyone who's self employed does".

From planes, to road trains. Heather Jones is another Perth mum working in a man's world. Heather's a truckie. "Mind you I haven't always been a truckie, I've been a legal secretary, lab assistant, a few other things in between". Heather now owns her own transport company, Success Transport. At any one time she'd have thirteen to twenty trucks on the road, and as often as she can, Heather's back where she began, behind the wheel.

Heather's passionate. There's a lot at stake. "My entire family's life is on the line with the risk that I've taken". Heather's teenage daughters help at the office. Eighteen year old Kersti is Heather's right hand girl. Younger sister Chelsea completes the family business. "She's a good boss though, she keeps that family environment with everybody, so she knows everybody and knows everything about everybody".

Heather's known to collect her driver's kids from school, if a job takes longer than expected.. and it's this constant concern for truckies welfare, that's seeing Heather turn this spot, into a place where tired drivers can park their giant rigs. "Pretty much like a caravan park, they drive in, they stay over night, they use our services and they leave the next day". It's an ambitious project.. but for this woman of the west, anything's possible.

Winning women in fashion, food and media.

They say all things good to know are difficult to learn.. but for Kate Lamont, Liz Carberry and Linda Wayman, it comes naturally. "I love my food and wine and I love talking, so those three things make for me a very interesting life". Kate Lamont is a legend in WA's food and wine industry. After twenty years in the industry, her resume is impressive. Consummate chef.. winemaker.. author of two books.. owner of three restaurants.. and she oversees two cellar doors at the Lamont family wineries. "It all dovetails together and that's what makes it such an interesting challenge". Kate also teaches master classes and lectures at food and wine conferences around the country. Kate's also Chair of the Board of Tourism in WA.

Liz Carberry is passionate too. She's been at the forefront of Perth's modelling scene for the past thirty-eight years. A successful model and owner of her own modelling agency. Carberry's doors were open for twenty years. Now Liz is a stylist with Scene Model Management. "Finally Perth has come of age and that is fantastic". Liz looks back on her heydays with obvious pride, but counts her two daughters as her greatest achievement.. both following in their mothers footsteps. "I think it was an obvious choice for them.. but I think that they're cleverer than I am.. and they've got more strings to their bow". Liz has added another string to her bow, too.. taking over Chutney Mary's in Subiaco. "And everyone said how can you go from modelling to Chutney Mary's, they're so similar, it's about me being on the floor and making sure that people are getting the best product possible and that's exactly what modelling is".

Subiaco's also home to Mix 94.5, Perth's top rating radio station.. and it's stablemate, 92.9. When Linda Wayman was appointed general manager five years ago, she'd had no experience in radio. "That had not happened before, the managing director at the time said to me no-one's ever done this in Australia before.. and that risk was driven by the need for change".One of the biggest changes Linda's made is moving the studios to a swanky new office on Roberts Road down the road. "We wanted something that was light and airy and that connected with the community, that our on-air guys could see out into the street and they weren't in a dark box".

At the end of each day, Linda spends precious time her with her two teenage sons.. it can be tough juggling motherhood and a career.. but Linda says she follows her heart.. takes calculated risks.. and guides, rather than directs her staff."Although I now or then keep asking the music director to put more Bob Dylan on Mix, but sadly he wont".Even power players have their limits...