Remote store operator Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) has announced this year’s winners of its Annual Awards at a special ceremony in Cairns.
The awards, which were the culmination of CEQ’s three-day Annual Managers Conference, celebrated achievements in CEQ’s service across North Queensland, including its remote stores in Cape York and the Torres Strait, and on Palm Island.
The 2022 winners recognised for excellence in service were:
• Leadership Award – Jahya David (Mona’s Bazaar, Thursday Island)
• Best Customer Service – Ivy Billy (Cairns Support Office)
• Most Resilient Manager – Peter Kratzmann (Lockhart River)
• Most Improved Store – Kowanyama Supermarket
• Community Service Award – Waiben Supermarket (Thursday Island)
• Most Inspirational Team Member – Esther Passi-Iosia (Napranum)
• Company Most Improved – Vasenai Dabea (Palm Island)
• Most Valued Team Member – Harriet Bani (Waiben Supermarket, Thursday Island)
• Store of the Year – Bamaga Supermarket
• Store Manager of the Year – Debbie Blair (Napranum)
There were also tenure awards presented to long-term employees, with one team member – Patty Mosby from Col Jones on Thursday Island – receiving an award for 25 years’ service to her community.
Genevieve Fauid also received her 20-year tenure award, together with three recipients of the 15-year award, six recipients of the 10-year award, and 18 receiving their five-year award.
Chief Executive Officer Michael Dykes said CEQ team members had helped achieve some outstanding results in 2022 for remote communities across Queensland.
“The awards are a great opportunity to recognise team members who have gone above and beyond this year,” he said.
“Success within our organisation is not only measured through financial results.
“Local employment and the investment in our people will make our organisation stronger in the future, and our annual awards are a way to celebrate that.
“Delivering retail services to remote communities is a source of great pride to our organisation, and delivering them with local managers and team members strengthens our sustainability.
The Annual Conference in Cairns centered on this year’s theme of ‘Together for Tomorrow’.
The event focused on delivering CEQ’s new four-year strategy, vision, mission, values and promises, followed by training and development for the CEQ team, before culminating at the awards evening.
Almost 90 per cent of CEQ remote store managers, as well as the management team of CEQ’s Cairns-based team, attended the conference, with training on operational excellence and managerial development.
Mr Dykes added that CEQ was passionate about providing training opportunities for its employees, the majority of which are Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal people.
“This year’s managers conference theme of ‘Together for Tomorrow’ focused not only on the Indigenous cultures that we deliver services to in our remote stores, but also our workplace culture,” said Mr Dykes.
“Investing in further training for our team is a great opportunity to build on that workplace culture to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers.
“Innovation was also a strong feature of the conference. New technology has been introduced to bring the remote and central support teams closer together, bridging the challenge of distance to improve communication.
“I’d also like to sincerely thank the support of our partners and sponsors, who helped make the event possible.”
CEQ is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), mainland Aboriginal remote communities, and Palm Island through its 28 stores.
CEQ’s Store Support Office is based in Cairns and manages Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) and Aboriginal Business, Industry and Service (ABIS) mainland stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island (CHH).