Illawarra Women In Business award winners announced

Celebration: Georgia Kollaras is the centre of attention being surrounded and congratulated by some of her fellow cast from Legally Blonde the Musical after being named IWIB Illawarra Young Achiever. From back left Tanya Boyle, Megan Spillett, Georgia Kollaras, Laura Jackson and Anali Duncan. In the front are Kelly Duroy and Megan Cracknell.Picture: GREG ELLIS

Celebration: Georgia Kollaras is the centre of attention being surrounded and congratulated by some of her fellow cast from Legally Blonde the Musical after being named IWIB Illawarra Young Achiever. From back left Tanya Boyle, Megan Spillett, Georgia Kollaras, Laura Jackson and Anali Duncan. In the front are Kelly Duroy and Megan Cracknell.Picture: GREG ELLIS

Friday was a big day for many Illawarra businesswomen and emerging female leaders.

Illawarra Women In Business (IWIB) director Glenda Papac and Delyse Del Turco have initiated a broad range of award categories to provide a great mix of winners from businesses of all sizes and people of all ages.

Among the many highlights on Friday were a performance by Katherine Akele, an impromptu song by Mindblank founder Ally Kelly when she accepted a highly commended award for outstanding service to the community, and an exciting sneak preview from the cast of Legally Blonde. But within minutes there was a big surprise for one member of the cast, Georgia Kollaras, when she was named winner of the 2014 IWIB Illawarra Young Achiever Award.

Ms Kollaras said it was amazing to be recognised in such a way.

She works in Brisbane as the Queensland manager for the Kollaras Trading Company and has been notching up plenty of frequent flyer points so she can attend rehearsals in Wollongong with local theatre company MoonGlow Productions.

The company won the rights to stage the Australian amateur premiere of the hit Broadway musical.

Ms Kollaras's citation spoke of how she had been actively involved in the performing arts from a young age and had performed in productions such as Dorothy in The Wiz, and Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray, where she won best lead actress in a musical at the CAT awards.

"Georgia, through her talents, has been able to give back to the community through performing at large-scale charity events including Bandage Bear Ball for Children's Hospital Charities, The Daffodil Ball for the Australian Cancer Council and The Cancer Carers Beach Banquet, to name a few," judge Stacey Gow said. Last June, Ms Kollaras was named 2013 Illawarra Vocational Student of the Year for outstanding achievements in vocational education and training.

She also graduated from the Australian Careers Business College with an Advanced Diploma of Marketing.

Legally Blonde is being directed by Wendy Glover and tickets can be booked at www.ticketek.com.au.

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