Meet our entrepreneurs of the year

Roz Shaw

If there’s one thing this year’s winners are, it’s varied! Be inspired by our favourite entrepreneurs of the past 12 months and learn from their real life challenges and triumphs.

Roz Shaw, CEO of Moreton Island Adventures, Hawkins Road Transport and Hawkins Fuels, is a woman who likes to keep busy. To pardon the expression, this woman has balls, and we like that!

As head of three successful businesses, she has had to learn the ropes the hard way from the day she started working for the family business to reach her current position; from Girl Friday to CEO. She is one of Brisbane’s most impressive business leaders.

Hawkins Road Transport was established in 1921 by Roz’s great grandfather TB Hawkins, as a freight carrier from Brisbane to Ipswich. When Roz became CEO of the company at 31, it was a successful small family business with her parents at the helm. Today, it’s a large business with far different needs and responsibilities. This has meant Roz has had to cope with many challenges, including one of her toughest decisions yet: choosing to do away with the general freight side of the business to focus solely on fuel transportation.

“I’ve learnt a business has to diversify to survive, and this was a particularly tough decision for me because freight was the backbone of the business for almost 90 years, however it became clear this was no longer profitable, and I needed to make a decision that would keep us in business,” she says.

Growing up in a family where there were no jobs that girls didn’t do, it was difficult at times but also brought a sense that there were no boundaries. At the age of 42 she embarked on an executive MBA and achieved best in class in some subjects.

One of the most rewarding goals Roz feels she has achieved in her business, is achieving the reputation that her companies are great places to work: “The dedication people have to our companies because they feel like one of the family never ceases to amaze me.”

Her advice for other business owners? “I have found that integrity outweighs any motivational speeches or preaching. If you treat others the way you would like to be treated, they will return the favour tenfold. Maintain a ‘can do’ attitude! Positive outlooks from management attract positive outlooks from their people and without that your business will suffer.”