MEET THE SPEAKERS
Stephanie Woollard is an Australian social entrepreneur known for founding aid organisation Seven Women as well as Hands on Development and the Kathmandu cooking school. Stephanie speaks on and inspires people to adopt responsible business practices as the demand for ethical production booms in conjunction with the proven positive impact of social enterprise. Steph began Seven Women at 22 after visiting Nepal and meeting seven disabled women making soaps and candles in a tiny tin shed. Being disabled and living in a superstitious community, the women lived in dire poverty. Steph wanted change and paid $200 for trainers to up-skill these women empowering them to sell products abroad. Ever since Nepal, Steph has devoted her work to changing the lives of the marginalised. Her organisation has trained and employed over 1,000 disadvantaged women in remote Nepali villages. She shares her knowledge and ethics during tours through Nepal, Indigenous Australian communities as well as China. Steph’s vision underpinning all her work, is to create a more tolerant and compassionate world knowing that this is possible in our lifetime.
From day one at Thankyou, Kirk’s raw passion for eradicating global poverty has not only been his motivation, but motivation for our whole team. Having seen the first-hand effects of poverty during his childhood in India, to say Kirk is driven is an understatement. With an MBA (Masters of Business Administration) and a next level ability to build relationships, Kirk brings so much to his role and to Thankyou. An all-round nice guy, we know there’s nothing he wouldn’t do for anyone – especially if that someone is after an opponent for an impromptu table tennis tournament.
In 2012, Jason Ball harnessed the national spotlight when he became the first Aussie Rules player at any level of the game to come out. With no openly gay players at the elite AFL level his announcement was a game changer in the hyper-masculine sport and Jason’s story quickly captured the media's attention and the public's imagination. Jason was met with overwhelming support and used his platform to shine a light on the prevalence of homophobia in sport. Since then, Jason has marched in Pride March Victoria alongside his teammates from the Yarra Glen Football Club. He kick-started the Pride Cup – an event that celebrates diversity and inclusion in sport, and was the inspiration for the AFL's Pride Game between St Kilda and Sydney. He’s trained AFL draftees on inclusive language, and has represented beyondblue and the Safe Schools Coalition Australia, speaking at schools, sporting clubs and conferences about mental health and inclusion. With tremendous courage and conviction, Jason has elevated the conversation about homophobia in sport.
Hearts Above The Sea is a start-up not-for-profit organisation with an aim to provide projects and solutions to the low lying nations in the South Pacific who are affected by Global Climate Change. Kiribati is a tiny island nation in the South Pacific that may have only 10 to 20 years before the entire island nation is forced into displacement, due to rising sea levels as a result of Global Climate Change, making them the world’s first Environmental Refugees.
Hearts Above The Sea’s first project: a Virtual Cultural Exchange Program for Kiribati and Australian School Aged Children. The aim of this project is to empower and inspire the children of Kiribati about a possible future after displacement, and provide Australian students with cultural insight and education around the immediate impact of Global Climate Change in parts of the South Pacific.