Meet Geeta. Lucky to grow up in a middle-class home in India, she was allowed to attend school until 10th grade. When Geeta was 20, she married into a new Panchayat (village) and when she arrived, was shocked to see a large number of girls working and not in school. Child marriage was also very common, with many girls giving birth at a very young age. Determined to change this, Geeta decided to run for a position on the Panchayat Council for a seat reserved for women. The community where Geeta lived viewed women as home-makers, rather than changer-makers. So to run for the election Geeta had to go door to door and campaign – including talking to men who were not in her family (usually very taboo). Geeta won the election against 2 opponents by an incredible 1,500 seats! Geeta was then voted as the President of her village – an amazing feat as a woman given that the previous President had held that role for 20 years. During her time in office, Geeta has improved local construction, built a village-changing bridge, built a birthing suite with a nurse, eliminated child marriage in her community, and even plants a tree for every girl born— shining light and celebrating this occasion, rather than the previous focus on baby girl abortions. Breaking stereotypes for women in her community, she is a Strong Woman // Geeta has had many incredible successes— made possible with training, education, and support of The Hunger Project. If you'd like to find out more, or join in supporting their campaign to UNLEASH WOMEN like Geeta, head towww.unleashedwomen.org.au or @thehungerprojectau
Meet Jamie. Despite being mildly dyslexic as a child, Jamie has been writing from the moment she was able to hold a pen. A story-teller at her core, Jamie ceased writing in high-school and only halfway through 2016 did she decide to pick up a pen again. Trying on poetry for size, it fit— perfectly — and Jamie now runs @featherdownsoul— an Instagram account dedicated to the sharing of heart, breath and life through poetry and prose. On top of inspiring thousands with her writing, Jamie is kept very busy in her third year of Medicine at University in New Zealand. Jamie's outstanding talent has led her to publishing her first book, ‘Indigo’, and she aspires to continue to let her life overflow onto a page and into the hearts and lives of readers from all around the world. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Faith. Becoming a single mum at 21 years of age, Faith didn’t want to raise a child with any negative stigma attached to being a young mum. Always loving to cook, she decided to do something that would enable her to look after herself and her son, and chose to work in the food industry. After becoming known in her local area for her cake-making skills, people started coming into the cafe where she worked, asking for her Gluten Free Specialty cakes. With her popularity building, Faith plucked up the courage to leave her job and get her home kitchen license. Starting off with a small range of GF cakes and two Vegan options, Faith has watched the food trends change and has created an innovative range of 56 products catering for all allergen requirements. With the success of her old-fashion cooking 'like Grandma used to make’, Faith’s business ‘HOMEMADE BLISS’ is now the largest wholesale supplier on the Sunshine Coast and now supplies cakes all through Queensland and Northern NSW. From sole home trader to an industrial bakehouse with 6 staff members, Faith had a vision, worked tirelessly to make it a reality and it has really paid off! She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Esther. Having worked in a high-end corporate job for six years, Esther was leading a life many would envy. Despite this, she always felt that she never belonged in an office or chained to a desk. So in 2011 when her brother joined a band, Esther was given the opportunity to leave her job and work with her brother and his new bandmates. Although her corporate job allowed her to be living a very comfortable life, Esther didn’t feel fulfilled and decided to put everything she owned into storage and take the position as Tour Manager for the newly formed singing group, Pentatonix. Going from a job that came with an apartment and a car, into a position that she had no experience in, Esther remained confident she had made the right decision. For the first year as Tour Manager, Esther was without a car, a place to live, and spent most of her time living out of a suitcase, jumping from tour-to-tour. Her leap into adventure and the unknown made no sense on paper, but she worked hard and made sure she surrounded herself with family and friends who supported her. Today the success of her work has swept her off her feet— and not because of the band's professional success, but because she is able to work for and with people she loves and respects. Esther chose to take a great professional and personal risk and in turn it has given her a life overflowing with blessings, love and gratitude. Because Esther gave up so much and just said yes, her life has opened up and given her the most amazing opportunities. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Anna. After being married for seven years, Anna knew her husband loved her, but he never showed it in the ways she wanted him to. In jest she mentioned she needed to create an app that would remind him to be romantic, and give him ideas along the way. So this primary school teacher with no coding or tech knowledge decided to dive into app development. Anna spent six months researching for the app, reading relationship books, and then created the app in her three-week school holiday break. Caveman- Relationship tips App made this mum-of-two realise how much she loves designing apps and is now working toward designing them full-time. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Ruth. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Ruth studied Molecular Biology at university. Two years into her degree, she decided she wanted more ‘people contact’, and left to work for an insurance company as a loss adjuster. After eight years in a position that compromised who she was at her core, Ruth requested a demotion and bought a one-way ticket to Bangkok. Spending six months in South East Asia and Japan, Ruth had come to the end of her funds and went to Australia with the intention of living and working for a year and then moving on to South America. Knowing only a handful of family in Australia, Ruth fell in love with the country and is now celebrating ten years working at the Commonwealth Bank. Loving connecting with people and discovering the inspiration that comes from meeting new folk, Ruth is now the Client Experience Manager at Women in Focus (CBA)— this allows her to celebrate women doing all sorts of remarkable things around Australia. Her bubbly personality is perfect for her role, as any person who's had the pleasure of meeting her knows. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Monique. Actor, producer and Global Youth Advocate, Monique exists to inspire and empower others. She is most recognised for her role as Taylor Mckessie in Disney’s High School Musical franchise, however she has since used her platform to be a light and impact the lives of others. Among several phenomenal achievements, Monique was not only the first United Nations Youth Champion, but she is also the Founder of GimmeMo-- a multi-platform community that amplifies youth voices. Monique’s heart for humanity overflows into every facet of her life, and although her passion is acting and entertainment, she is constantly visioning about how to impact and inspire the youth of the world. She is a Strong Woman. 📷 @herronre
Meet Maria. An only child to immigrant parents, growing up Maria was very close to her father. When she was just 22, Maria’s father died of lung cancer and although her family had been through trauma with her mum overcoming breast cancer 12 years earlier, nothing could’ve prepared them for the shock of his passing. During the time her father was ill, Maria spent months working and taking her mother to appointments, supporting her as English is her second language. Owning her own beauty business, Maria decided that her studies were more important and persued an Arts Degree then went back to study her Master of Journalism Communications. During her studies her mum was diagnosed with cancer again— this meant Maria was a full time student, full time carer, and worked part time. After her mum beat cancer for the second time, she was then diagnosed a third time, which again, called for Maria to support her through the stages of treatment and surgery. After four years in a job that was going nowhere, Maria realised that she has spent her entire life working in jobs to support her family. Now with her mother in good health, earlier this year Maria left her job to follow her dreams of being a writer. With a passion for travel and entertainment and after nearly two decades of putting herself last, Maria is well on her way to making that dream a reality. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Kristy. Vibrant mother of three, and serial creative, Kristy is no stranger to justice in the community. With a background in youth work, Kristy’s experience across New South Wales' Central Coast spans over 20 years, and includes work and collaboration with many organisations and not-for—profits. When she shifted into her role as stay-at-home-mum, Kristy co-founded Circle Movement; hosting events and campaigns both online and in-person, with the aim of equipping and mobilising women to make a difference. Kristy's passion for ethical design and fashion has moved her to co-launching her own clothing line which continues to support causes both locally and internationally. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Whitney. Originally from Tennessee, Whitney has always been an advocate for women’s rights and religious tolerance. With her Master in Global Affairs and International Cooperation, Whitney has spent the past 10 years working on these issues, and has lived and worked in Cairo, Berlin, and now Istanbul. Her love of cultural fusion and passion for storytelling led Whitney to found the Middle East Collective. MEC is an initiative that promotes the understanding of the Middle East and North Africa region and tolerance of Islam, while embracing Muslim communities in the West. Helping to build a bridge between the worlds she loves most — the Middle East and USA, Whitney’s vision brings light to the rich stories of the MENA region. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Karen. With over 30 years of engineering and business experience, Karen’s professional profile is nothing short of extraordinary! However her journey with her personal life has been one of tenacity and true inspiration. Despite the collection of well-groomed images found on her website and online, Karen is authentic, and isn’t ashamed of her ‘frizzy hair and her tummy that often pours over her trousers’. Mother of two daughters, Karen’s circumstances unexpectedly changed almost 19 years ago shaping her career— trying to keep up with the pace and sometimes grind of the professional world, as well as the busy lives of her growing daughters. Karen is committed to living her life as real as she can, and wants people to recognise that despite the profile or lifestyle, we all can be faced with adversity (it just may not be surfacing through Instagram). Karen says that it’s only when we reach in and out, lifting others up can we truly change the world. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Hannah. Diagnosed with anxiety and depression in middle school, Hannah's mental health severely declined three years ago. While still in high school, feelings of isolation and weakness overcame her; her grades slipped, and her positive outlook was shrouded with darkness. Making the decision to take control of her learning and life, Hannah transferred to online learning from home. Although she missed social interactions, Hannah was able to focus on looking after herself— her grades improved and she even was able to volunteer at her old preschool. During this time Hannah attended a hospital program for teens and took part in group therapy, art, yoga and many other activities. These skills she integrated into her daily life and continues to strive for greatness. Although some days she still feels the pressures of life, Hannah remains hopeful and is looking forward to attending college later this year— something she never though possible! She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Heather. Mother of three gorgeous children, aged 8, 5 and 3; Heather’s journey has been one of faith, courage and tenacity. Heather and her husband never planned to adopt, however after years of infertility they decided to venture down that path.They initiated the process by joining the long line for a healthy child who looked just like them, however all their reasons to adopt only ‘that type’ of child were simply not good enough. They decided instead to pursue and love a child that no one was in line for. Their first daughter Macy has Downs Syndrome and when they brought her home, required ‘round-the-clock’ care, with emergency heart surgery, and having to be on oxygen and heavy doses of medication. This experience radically changed Heather’s view on adoption, and they decided to adopt two more children between 2008 and 2013. A stay-at-home Mom and writer, Heather’s background in Special Education has provided her with the compassion and drive to bring a beautiful love and light into these sweet children’s lives. Her book ‘The Lucky Few’ is due to be released in March, and her online presence continues to be a support and inspiration for women and families all over the world. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Fern. Born and raised in the UK, Fern’s fascination with PR started early. Working as an intern at the age of 15, and spending her school holidays gaining experience in PR agencies across London, Fern worked toward her dream job with every waking moment. Climbing the PR ladder to a tough but fun and glamorous role, she made changes to her life when she realised that the late nights, weekend events and always on-mode that had become the norm, were detrimental to her relationships with her closest friends and family as she missed many milestones, celebrations and simple everyday moments. Fern took a new role in Global Communications Strategy and Creative for big brands, she travelled a lot, but put time with friends first for a change. One of those friends lived in Australia, and when Fern visited, she felt as though she found her spiritual home but couldn’t yet make the leap due to ties in the UK. Her tipping point came when she separated from her partner of 14 years, which in time gave her a new lease of life and freedom, placing a strong value on honesty and loyalty. During this time, Fern stripped back to her most authentic self, and started to invest in her heart, soul and health. Now living in Sydney, married to an Aussie beau, and working as the Managing Director of Edelman Australia, Fern’s journey of love and life has lead her to this beautiful intersection of passion and gratitude. The passion she has for her job is evident in all that she does, and her intentional focus on self-awareness and love of others is inspiring. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Erin. Wife and mother of two, Erin has a background in photo-journalism. With a degree in art, majoring in fibre arts and digital media, Erin has been creating things from a very early age. Learning to sew from her grandmother, Erin’s creative passions have evolved, and she now runs @imjanesdaughter, an online store specialising in the production of fibre arts, screen printing, sewing and lino block printing. Last year Erin and her husband decided it was time for both of them to be full-time artists, so they are now working from home. Erin is committed to doing what she loves, proving she can do it as a woman, mother and artist. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Genesis. At the age of 15, Genesis is already making her mark. Discovering her love of make-up when she was just ten, she started watching SFX and beauty make-up tutorials on YouTube and saved all of her money to purchase make-up of her own. Recreating these looks and posting her own interpretation on social media, Genesis’ skills are phenomenal and she loves the concentration and creativity involved. With still a couple of years left of high school, she is planning on going to college to study business and dance, however make-up will always remain a passion. Currently looking into studying make-up in her home city of Los Angeles, Genesis continues to take every day as a gift and tries to learn as much as she can to improve her craft. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Marisa. Writer, producer and actor in the film industry, Marisa employs the power of film to address issues she cares about. She also co-owns a production company that produces content she has written. Marisa believes humour to be a fundamental part of human connection, and is currently working on a female driven comedy which exemplifies the dynamism a woman can bring as a protagonist. As a producer and entrepreneur she interacts daily with investors, talent, agents and crew which demands a high level of creativity, problem solving, fearlessness and of course— a sense of humour! Her vision and passion is something to be admired as Marisa calls on every part of herself to show up in every situation. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Sammi. With an avid love of music, Sammi has always gravitated toward music and movement, and was training to be a professional ballet dancer in her teens. However in 2009 she was diagnosed with Anorexia and Depression and was hospitalised for six weeks. During her time in hospital, Sammi realised just how therapeutic music can be, and started writing her own songs as a way of expressing and healing herself. Embarking on a musical journey, Sammi knew she wanted to share her story with others, so made the move toward pursuing music professionally. Until recently she owned and ran a coffee van for over six years, and has also been working in hospitality and as a music teacher to make ends meet. Today she is touring and working on music in a full-time capacity— her passion evident in her drive to succeed. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Chynna. Born and raised in America, Chynna met an Aussie beau, got married, and moved to Tasmania in 2012. With her one-year-old daughter in tow, Chynna and her husband moved back to Alabama to work in a shared foster home. Being a foster mom to 10-12 children aged between 5-16 years old, she provided these kids with a home filled with maternal love. Last year Chynna became pregnant and has recently moved back to Australia into a one bedroom apartment with her husband, daughter and another married couple who are also expecting a child. Her faith has played a huge part in her journey over the past few years, and Chynna continues to inspire and pour love into everyone she meets. She is a Strong Woman.
Meet Kita. During the day Kita divides her time between the running of an eco-friendly housekeeping business in Los Angeles and and being the supervisor of a vacation rental company. Her passions however, come out at night, as Kita works as a DJ. Her love of dance and music allows her to connect with a wide array of people. Kita's dedication is evident through her hard work during the day, and constant practicing in her bedroom whenever she has a free moment. Kita really is chasing her dreams. She is a Strong Woman.