Tech legends unite to guide growth and foster innovation

22 August, 2023
Tech legends unite to guide growth and foster innovation | News | Pause Awards
George Hedon, founder and CEO, Pause Fest & Awards
George Hedon
22 August, 2023

Tech industry legends come forward to mentor winners at Pause Awards ‘23, unlocking unprecedented growth and transformative insights for the next generation of innovators.

The world of innovation doesn’t just need pioneers; it thrives on the guidance of legends who’ve treaded the path before. This year, the Pause Awards takes a leap beyond mere recognition, offering winners an exclusive chance at mentorship by industry trailblazers. The fusion of honor with unparalleled learning is set to make this year’s edition truly unforgettable.

The Exclusive Opportunity

With the Pause Awards panel almost at its zenith, winners are in for an extraordinary treat. Each victor from the Category Track and the illustrious best-in-show champion will gain access to a golden key: an intense 30-minute chat with a renowned mentor. This isn’t just any conversation. It’s a laser-focused session aimed at addressing your challenges, honing in on pain points, and offering actionable insights.

Meet The Mentors

Paul Bassat stands as a beacon of entrepreneurial prowess. As the Co-Founder of SEEK, he altered the landscape of job search, subsequently leveraging his insights to establish a global investment firm, Square Peg. His wide-spanning contributions extend from the boardrooms of giants like Wesfarmers to the fields of the Australian Football League.

Delving deeper into the fintech domain, Dom Pym, a name synonymous with groundbreaking ventures, graces our panel. His journey is laden with successes, be it the establishment of Australia’s first all-in-one online payments platform, Pin Payments, or co-founding Ferocia, a leading software company. His latest feather in the cap, Up Bank, has become Australia’s most coveted digital bank.

Rampersand’s co-founder, Paul Naphtali, embodies the spirit of fostering innovation. After absorbing the cutting-edge environment of Silicon Valley, he returned home to bridge the funding gap for Aus/NZ founders, making him an invaluable asset to our panel.

Rounding off this group is the fierce and indomitable Kellie Morton. From the bustling streets of New York and London as an M&A lawyer to the helm of Birchal, Australia’s top equity crowdfunding platform, her journey is a testament to her versatility and passion.

The dynamic Kate Gooden leads the pack with her two-decade-long pursuit of perfection in digital and voice experiences. As the Head of Product for Amazon Alexa ANZ, she’s at the cutting edge, transforming the way we perceive AI and smart devices.

Juxtaposing creativity with commerce, Jocelin Abbey stands tall as the Director of Growth at The Guardian AU/NZ. With her vast experience spanning global media, she brings to the table a nuanced understanding of storytelling, underpinned by a commitment to inclusivity.

As the Pause Awards unfold, the Growth Mentors Board brings with them a tank full of experience, insights, and a commitment to excellence. Their involvement ensures that the accolades conferred resonate with authenticity, relevance and foresight.

The Process and the Final Call to Enter Pause Awards

To become the prospect of unparalleled mentorship, here’s what you need to do. The doors to this opportunity close on the 1st of September. That’s right, in just two weeks! So, if you’re on the fence about entering, now is the time to take the leap. Not only could you gain recognition for your innovations, but you could also unlock access to expertise that can shape your enterprise’s future.

With legends at the helm, the future looks not just promising, but transformative for every participant. Step into the world of Pause Awards, where legends guide legends to new horizons of growth and success! Enter today.

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Category tracks

The Culture track seeks entries that exemplify the development of an inclusive and collaborative workplace culture, crucial for organisational success and growth. Submissions should illustrate transformative strategies implemented across core business functions, reflecting expertise, leadership, and a clear vision. These strategies should demonstrate a positive impact on the business, its employees, stakeholders, and customers, showcasing how a nurturing culture contributes to overall growth and innovation.

The Excellence track celebrates businesses that have demonstrated remarkable success and impact within their industry, regardless of their size. Entries for this category should illustrate how the business's strategic execution, guided by visionary leadership and exceptional expertise, has significantly influenced the industry. The focus will be on the tangible outcomes of these strategies, highlighting the company's ability to innovate, lead, and leave a lasting impression in its field.

The Good track is focused on recognising companies dedicated to their mission of creating a positive societal impact. Entries should highlight innovative solutions aimed at addressing global challenges such as environmental sustainability, social equity, and community well-being. Successful submissions will demonstrate how their initiatives contribute to significant changes, tackling issues like gender inequality, social imbalance, and injustice, thereby setting a precedent for responsible and impactful business practices.

Awarded to a single entry in a category, Grand Prix is the top accolade in that category. To win the Grand Prix, the entire Judging Board must unanimously agree that the entry deserves the accolade of being the best in that category.

The Growth track is about showcasing how businesses have enhanced productivity and execution to make a significant impact in their market. Entries should highlight innovative strategies that have optimised the customer journey, leading to increased engagement and commercial success. This track is for those who have effectively used their understanding of the market and customer needs to scale their business and achieve notable growth.

The Operators track seeks entries that showcase leadership in fostering innovation within their ecosystems. Ideal submissions will highlight how your initiatives have catalysed the creation of new products or services, bolstered by a culture that uplifts internal teams and the wider community. This track celebrates those who drive progress by empowering voices and forging transformative connections in their industry.


  • Always Evolving New

    Acknowledges a culture of continuous learning and improvement within a company, encourages employee development, and always looks for ways to optimise and innovate operations.

  • Big & Mighty Culture New

    Recognises companies (51-1000 employees) for their exceptional efforts in cultivating a culture that champions innovation.

  • Diverse Co.

    Celebrates workplaces dedicated to fostering innovation through a vibrant tapestry of diverse talents and perspectives.

  • Small & Mighty Culture New

    Applauds small teams of fewer than 50 employees for their remarkable ability to foster innovation and set new benchmarks in their domain.

  • Work Sweet Work

    Acknowledges companies that have achieved extraordinary employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, creating an exemplary workplace culture.

  • Company of the Year

    Honours an outstanding company that not only showcases exemplary leadership and resilience but also demonstrates a clear, quantifiable impact over the past year.

  • Customer Obsessed New

    Applauds prioritisation, understanding and meeting the needs and expectations of their customers, including feedback, personalised services and ensuring high satisfaction.

  • Defiant Ones

    Recognises firms that lead technological innovation, setting new standards and defining the future of their industries.

  • Hammer

    Celebrates companies that have not only defined success on their own terms but have also concretely demonstrated their triumphs over the past year.

  • I Wish I'd Done That

    Applauds ingenious, simple solutions in niche markets that spark a universal sentiment of admiration.

  • On the Rise

    Celebrates early-stage startups, under 4 years, that have shown remarkable progress and success in their initial years.

  • Prodigy

    Recognises young visionaries under 30 with outstanding talents and achievements, setting them apart in their fields.

  • Singularity

    Highlights AI-driven companies that are pioneering new services or integrating AI to create innovative products.

  • Women in Business

    Celebrates female entrepreneurs and leaders who are forging paths for future generations by creating more equitable opportunities.

  • B-Good

    Recognises businesses that redefine commercial success by positively transforming our economic system for the benefit of all stakeholders.

  • Circular Pioneer

    Celebrates companies at the forefront of circular economy practices, making substantial and sustainable differences.

  • Ethical Leadership New

    Commends companies exemplifying leadership in environmental and social governance, setting standards in corporate responsibility and ethical practices.

  • Going Green

    Acknowledges companies leading large-scale sustainable initiatives, addressing critical areas like clean energy and environmental justice.

  • Collab New

    Honours strategic partnerships and alliances with other businesses to leverage complementary strengths, access new markets, and share resources for synergistic growth and innovation.

  • Design First

    Celebrates companies where design is the heartbeat of innovation, engaging the whole team in crafting groundbreaking products.

  • Going Global New

    Applauds companies that have expanded their reach globally, showcasing exceptional growth and international success.

  • Great Pivot

    Acknowledges companies that adeptly navigate change, leveraging insights to pivot towards delivering outstanding products.

  • Movement

    Recognises unforgettable event experiences that resonate emotionally, drive social change, or achieve viral status.

  • New Model

    Honours businesses revolutionising markets with elegant and disruptive business models.

  • Next Level New

    Applauds companies which had successful strategic acquisition and integration of another entity, staff or an asset that allowed them to further grow and scale their services.

  • Wildfire

    Celebrates companies that have rapidly and significantly impacted their marketplace, online and offline, setting new standards for success.

  • Angel

    Honours visionary angel investors who've significantly contributed to early-stage startups, guiding them toward success.

  • C-Suite

    Recognises exceptional leadership qualities in high-ranking executives, showcasing their management and interpersonal excellence.

  • Creative Maverick New

    Honours unconventional thinkers with exceptional abilities to execute typically unimaginable initiatives, expertly coordinate teams, secure funding or successfully launch multiple ventures.

  • Ecosystem Star

    Celebrates individuals who energise and nurture their communities, fostering engagement and advocacy.

  • Future Builder

    Recognises the determination and resilience of founders who've embarked on the challenging journey of starting their own ventures.

  • Quiet Achiever New

    Applauds the unsung heroes whose behind-the-scenes efforts have led to flawless project executions and exceeded expectations.

  • Splash Down Under New

    Acknowledges international companies making a noteworthy entrance into the Australian market, enriching the local business ecosystem.

  • TopCoder

    Recognises developers for their outstanding technical skills, clean code, and collaborative spirit.

  • Venture Cap

    Salutes venture capital firms with a track record of backing transformative businesses, contributing significantly to Australia's economic growth.

  • Visionary New

    Recognises effective leadership by setting a clear vision, motivating the team, and making strategic decisions that guide their business towards its goals.

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