40 Under 40 winner of the day: Carmen Garcia

As the daughter of Filipino migrants, Carmen Garcia grew up with strong values and a passion for community. The 38-year-old South Australian has risen to the position of managing director but still holds those same core values close to her heart.

Jun 20, 2018, updated Aug 29, 2019

The founder of national company Community Corporate, Garcia operates in the niche space of corporate social responsibility. The company’s clients include Woolworths, Spotless, Costa Group and Workskil Australia.

This month the entrepreneur was awarded the State Contribution Award as part of InDaily’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Awards, which aim to recognise South Australia’s emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“One of the most precious resources we have in this country is not what we find in the ground, as important as that is … it is the people that walk above it that made this country great and will continue to,” Garcia said when receiving her award.

“It really is about building a community around your business and that’s what I love about South Australia.”

Garcia’s award was supported by KWP!

We asked her some more about doing business in South Australia.

What do you believe are the strengths of doing business in South Australia?
Doing business in SA is aided by a sense of community. There is a real sense of collaboration in our state that I believe is unrivalled. We genuinely want to see each other succeed and create innovation and opportunity for our state to thrive. I feel that I am lucky to have built a community around my business, which gives us a leading edge.

What do you believe are the weak points of conducting business in South Australia?
Our decision-makers are somewhat risk-averse and show reluctance to back our local businesses until they see the appetite in the eastern states. For me running a business operating nationally, it is disheartening when we have solutions here that are not pursued until someone else says it’s a good idea. I am optimistic, however, with our new state government that there is the leadership to back us in and lead from the front – we want to be pioneers, not followers. We are better than that!

Do you see your future in South Australia?

Absolutely, my home base is SA and I don’t imagine that changing. I love coming home to Adelaide where we really have an excellent quality of life here and especially with my young family – SA is where I want to be. I hope that our new state government will be more open to seeing the benefits of building an ecosystem of support around our small business community and value the role we play in contributing to the state’s future prosperity.

How can the state encourage more of its young leaders to stay?
It’s all about opportunity, job creation and raising the profile of our state as a powerhouse for business growth. Backing innovative small businesses that will play a pivotal role in new ways of working, offering young leaders job satisfaction, flexibility and a sense of accomplishment is key. My team is young, ambitious and highly qualified but I have a responsibility to grow opportunities for them that align to their development and aspirations – people are the cornerstone of my business and having the right people makes all the difference. Investing in mentoring and development locally will go a long way to keep our best and brightest here in SA.

More about 40 Under 40

An assessment panel representing the South Australian business community judged hundreds of nominees for the inaugural 40 Under 40 awards, which aim to identify and promote a new generation of local leaders under the age of 40.

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The final 40 includes a hugely varied collection of South Australian talents, who are making a mark in fields such as health, technology, the media, property, social innovation, agriculture, finance, the law, and much more.

For the full list of 40 Under 40 winners go here.

40 Under 40 is an InDaily initiative supported by the following partners:

  • Deloitte
  • Piper Alderman
  • Australian Institute of Business
  • KWP!
  • Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Underwood Executive
  • City of Norwood, Payneham and St Peters
  • Local Government Association of South Australia
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