Gail O'Neill recognised as GC businesswoman of the year
GAIL O'Neill has been named as the Gold Coast businesswoman of the year at the inaugural Gold Coast Women in Business Awards.
The long-time resident of the region was recognised after more than a decade on the executive of the Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce and three years as its president, and involvement in many other business and community organisations.
Ms O'Neill said she was surprised and overwhelmed to win the award from a highly-qualified field.
"There are so many fantastic women (in business)," she said.
"I've met so many of the finalists over the last few weeks. They're a very impressive bunch.
"I think they were looking for someone who is passionate about the Gold Coast and who sees the vision for the Gold Coast."
Ms O'Neill has been a tireless advocate of the Gold Coast, not least in her prominent role as chair of the Cooly Rocks On festival, which has grown over the last three years.
She has also served as vice president of the Combined Gold Coast Chambers of Commerce, as well as servicing with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry Queensland regional board, Connecting Southern Gold Coast, Southern Gold Coast Light Rail committee, Coolangatta Christmas Carols and New Years Eve fireworks committee, and the Coolangatta CBD Centre Improvement Project.
Ms O'Neill, who has run the Beach House Seaside Resort since 2001,
GC as a place for women to do business - I think it is a fabulous place to do business. There are lots of women at the top of business on the Gold Coast. The statistics are still not as high as we would like but they're getting up there.
Ms O'Neill said the Gold Coast was a terrific place for women to do business, with the best person for a job generally getting the job and gender rarely playing a role in that.
Asked if her win would inspire others, Ms O'Neill said an atmosphere where people were rewarded for their abilities and efforts was itself inspiring.
"If you've given it your best shot and you've been encouraged to give it your best shot that's inspiration in itself," she said.
Connecting Southern Gold Coast chief executive officer Peter Doggett said the award was recognition of Ms O'Neill's commitment to the region.
"I know that she has been very committed to her cause and I know she loves the southern Gold Coast and has given her all," Mr Doggett said.
"I hope that it inspires others to take on the challenges that she has taken on."