Seven Women, Stephanie

Stephanie Wollard, Seven Women Founder & CEO will be a keynote speaker at the Humans in Geelong Expo 2017. Stephanie Woollard is a Melbourne-born social entrepreneur, Rotary Foundation Peace Scholar and Rotarian who has created the international aid organisation Seven Women, tour-company Hands On Development and the International Training and Hospitality initiative.

Stephanie Woollard Bio Photo (002)

Stephanie started her Seven Women project when she was only 22 years old, after visiting Nepal and meeting seven disabled women making soaps and candles in a small tin shed. In Nepal, disabilities carry a strong social stigma, believed to bring bad fortune. The women were consequently able to sell only a fraction of what they produced at market and lived in dire poverty.

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Anti Fracking, Alison

Alison Marchant tells us why she was passionate about stopping Fracking. ‘The past 4 and half years, I have dedicated my time to a community campaign that was concerned about unconventional gas mining which is known as Fracking. Throughout that time, I have joined my local community group to create awareness and act to protect our water, environment, agriculture, tourism and community health. I have become very passionate about communities having a voice and being a part of the wider decision-making process.’


What inspired you to try to make a difference?

My community inspired me. When the Western Victorian community were faced with Fracking, it was a very stressful time, especially for rural farmers, but I saw people step way out of their comfort zone to fight. I firmly believe there is no use complaining unless you’re willing to be a part of the solution. Communities as a united voice, can drive the change we are after.

What have you achieved?

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Cycling Geelong, Helen

‘There are so many reasons why we should advocate for cycling; there are recreational benefits, benefits to mental health, one’s fitness and for the environment.’ We hear from Helen Lyth, webmaster for Cycling Geelong. ‘We are more than a riding club and advocacy group. Our website links people with most cycling clubs throughout the region and even wider. We are affiliated with groups such as Bike Safe Geelong and Barwon BUG (Bicycles Uses Group). We all have similar focuses and work together.

Cycling Geelong

‘Cycling Geelong is a diverse group of like-minded people. Our members range from an Ex Vice Chancellor to tradespeople and retirees. For example, there is one member who worked at the cemetery. The club started around 2000 with a focus on advocacy in the Geelong region. There are now over 80 members.

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Kokoda Track, Andy

Walking the Kokoda Track for the 5th time with young people who are facing challenges in their lives is  Leading Senior Constable Andrew Brittain. He is the Youth Resources Officer for the Geelong Region. He has a total of 28 years police service across Western Victoria, including general policing and time in the Air Wing and has been in his present role for 10 years. Between 2010 and 2014 he was seconded to the Education Department and worked with a leading teacher running the Operation New Start Program in Geelong, working with young people at risk. He was awarded “Policeman of the Year” by Highton Rotary and “Worker of the Year” by the City of Greater Geelong.

Andy Kokoda

As part of his current role he is the police facilitator for the Geelong Kokoda Youth Program. This program involves taking young people who are facing challenges in their lives on a life-changing experience walking the Kokoda Track. This year [2017] will be Andy’s fifth year of taking a group along the Kokoda; 47 young people have done the trip so far, 45 of whom are back at school, university or holding a steady job.

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Helping Homeless, Jessica

‘Saturday, it was late, windy and freezing, I picked up a chap making a bed against his wheelchair and took him home to one of the houses I’ve provided in Geelong.’ Jessica Pearce. This week is Homelessness Week. Everybody’s life and past experiences help to shape who they are as people and what they end up doing. Many wonderful people are inspired by their experiences – good and bad – to make a difference in the lives of others. Jessica is one of these people.

Jessica Pearce

Jessica experienced a less than easy childhood, that involved moving out of her family home as a teenager and moving into a house that was run by a local church that provided accommodation to young people who were homeless but wanted to finish high school. It was entirely run by volunteers; Two young adults studying youth work lived in the house with four girls, herself included, who had come from difficult circumstances. There was also a single mother with two young children upstairs. Even with her unfortunate circumstances, Jessica considered herself to be in a “much better state than the other girls living there” as she hadn’t been subjected to some of the things that they had been.

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Decluttering, Marion

There is help out there if you are living in a cluttered environment. I was interested to hear that Aged Care providers might suggest the service of a Professional Organiser to our aging population as part of their home care packages. We hear from Belmont’s Marion about some of the experiences she shares with those she is passionate about helping.


‘Helping others, particularly our aged population in this way, has been a real eye opener. I’ve walked into places where the kitchen benches and stove are covered with packaged food, rubbish, and dirty dishes. Scenes like this are unhygienic and may present as a fire hazard for the client however, I know not to be judgemental, I’m there to help. You find everyone has a story. It is such an amazing journey as each person and situation is different.

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Film Makers, Jesse and Taylor

What film makers, Jesse Leaman (22) and Taylor Adams (26) lack in age and experience they certainly make up for in enthusiasm and talent. There is a strong bond between the two collaborators. ‘We are like two sides of the same coin, laughs Taylor, Jesse visualises and I write. Together we are like one really talented person.’ ‘Yes, you complete me’, jokes Jesse. They first met in 2013 and five hours later, found themselves still chatting.’ Finding their ideas compatible and inspiring they entered the 2014 Los Angeles, 48 Hour Film Project under the banner of Leaman Films. This film competition allows competitors 48 hours to write, film and submit a short movie. Each competitor is given a specific line of dialogue, a character and prop to include. Leaman Film’s Exscriptus, was placed second in the competition. Although Jesse had been making films since Grade 7, this was Taylor’s first foray into scriptwriting.

Jesse Leaman on the left and Taylor Adams

Jesse, the ‘shyest kid in school’, struggled with reading and writing. Although he loved acting, he didn’t believe in his talent. ‘I never trusted a compliment, entirely. I thought my mum contacted everyone to encourage them to say I was good.’ Weekends and holidays were spent making films with family and friends and by Year 10 film-making became the career of choice. Taylor, an avid reader since beginning school, ‘fell in love with the idea of using words to shift emotion. I was driven by the need to move people, change the way someone feels, the power in feelings and emotions and the ability to manipulate them.’

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