A speech pathology service for children with communication and feeding difficulties has taken out the top gong at this year’s Lake Mac Business Excellence Awards.
Warners Bay-based business, A Growing Understanding, was named 2023’s Business of the Year at the Friday night gala hosted at Belmont 16s, with judges commending its innovation, contribution to the city, community support and work culture.
It was a stellar night for the company, which also won the Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion Award, and its Founder Lauren Haskins, who took home the Outstanding Business Leader Award.
Lake Macquarie Mayor, Kay Fraser said A Growing Understanding was a prime example of how passion, dedication, expertise, and business nous could breed success.
“Over an extended period of time, and in many different ways, Lauren and her team have demonstrated the very best qualities of doing business in Lake Macquarie,” Kay said.
A Growing Understanding Founder and Practice Director, Lauren Haskins, said she was humbled to receive the awards, and grateful for the recognition of the team’s hard work.
“We’ve had a clear vision to provide industry-leading speech pathology services,” Lauren said.
“I’ve been able to build a team of amazing humans who share our values of care and ensure ongoing excellence in speech pathology services and client experience.”
Lake Mac’s growing reputation as a hub for allied health also echoed in the Outstanding Employee category, won by Sensational Start Occupational Therapy Practice Manager, Kathryn Barker.
Gateshead’s firefighting equipment supplier, Fire Response took out the Excellence in Small Business Award, winning accolades for its move to transition to next-generation sustainable firefighting foam, and its drive to bring international best practices to the region.
CoastXP won the revamped Outstanding Tourism Experience – Tourism and Hospitality category for its popular small-group tours of the Lake Mac coast and around Lake Macquarie, while the non-profit Business Growth Centre at Gateshead was named Outstanding Community Organisation.
This year’s awards featured a first-ever People’s Choice Award, determined by popular vote online.
Kay said The Wholesome Collective, a social enterprise addressing poor nutrition and low home-cooking rates in disadvantaged communities, was a deserving winner.
“I’m thrilled to see such a diversity of finalists and winners for this year’s awards,” Kay said.
“These companies and organisations work so hard to succeed, often in very challenging circumstances. The measure of that success is not just in their financial bottom line, but in what they do to enrich and improve our community.”
The Lake Macquarie Business Excellence Awards were proudly supported by gold sponsor Dantia, media partner Newcastle Herald, silver sponsors Allambi Care, Newcastle Permanent, Oasis Media, Charlestown Square by the GPT Group and the University of Newcastle, and bronze sponsors Hunter Water, Kent Conveyancing, Lake Mac Holiday Parks, Ramsay Health and Weekenda.