Harvest’s Maree Herath recognised as Business Leader of the Year. 

The prestigious Geelong Business Excellence Awards were held at GMHBA stadium on 27th October 2022. The awards recognise businesses and business leaders that demonstrate excellence in performance amidst their peers.

What stood out this year was the winner of the Business Leader of the Year category. This esteemed award has seen our region’s major CEOs from St John of God, GenU, Avalon Airport and Barwon Health take out the gong. For the first time, since the Business Leader Category was created, a small business leader took out this highly sought after award.

Maree Herath, Director of boutique recruitment firm, Harvest Talent Recruitment and People Solutions was heralded the Business Leader of the Year at the awards ceremony. Maree was recognised for her success in her business, where she and her company often compete head-to-head with national recruitment agencies. Maree and Harvest continue demonstrate capability and value to the region since launching in 2009. Unfortunately, Harvest is overlooked by Geelong’s larger employers who use national firms, preferred “out of town” providers, national procurement panels or master vendors with capital city HQ’s as mandated by the Victorian State Government. “People see me as successful.” Maree states “They don’t know how many rejections and “no’s” I’ve had along the way. It’s about continuing the charge despite this.”

At the awards, Maree has demonstrated that small “is enough” to be a true leader in her business community.

In addition to Harvest’s thousands of technical, specialist and executive recruitment briefs and HR projects worked on with regional businesses in Geelong and Victoria’s South-West over the years, it’s what Maree has contributed beyond her core business that stands out.

Maree has given, over and above to her community.

Whether as presenter at Geelong Small Business Festival, supporting job-seekers at Jobs Fairs to Harvest’s bigger initiatives, hosting the region’s HR Roundtables, the creation of a HR ecosystem – The Geelong HR Nexus and her company’s biggest gift to the region – The Geelong HR Index – a survey of employment and HR sentiments Maree and her close knit team commission, conduct and deliver.

Maree’s win took into account her other piece of work, outside of Harvest; serving the Geelong Business Community as Vice President and President of The Geelong Business Club during and as we emerged from Covid. “During Covid, we needed to do more to assist and serve our Club Members”. Maree reflects on her very hands-on role as President. Maree assisted recruit and onboard new committee members and, in partnership with her esteemed Executive Officer, made some significant changes to see the Club relevant to the region’s business executives and owners today.

“I’m so glad your leadership has been recognised tonight and thankyou for reinvigorating The Geelong Business Club over the past year. You are brilliant.” Geelong Business Club Member, Damien Chappell, Managing Director of Geelong Environmental Services Company, Landserv passing on his congratulations to Maree at the conclusion of the awards.

“Such a well-deserved win” from Coulter Legal’s General Manager, Belinda Perisic

“Sincere congratulations! It’s fantastic to see your hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence recognised!” from Barrister and past Gordon Tafe Board Director, Geelong Councillor and Geelong Club President – Allana Goldsworthy

“Great result and well deserved” Mark Edmonds, Past Chair, Geelong Chamber of Commerce states.

It’s this message from Geelong’s business community that shows that a humble, small, servant leader can achieve greatness.

And as she accepted the award, Maree did not leave without challenging and encouraging the region’s business leaders.

“You are worthy to be here” Maree stated in her acceptance speech as, from the winning podium she encouraged more small business leaders nominate for the Business Leader Category in future years.

Maree is still taking stock of her win and is humbled by the accolades that this award garners.



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