Founder and CEO, Project Futures
At just 22 years old, Stephanie was introduced to the issue of human trafficking after reading the heart-wrenching biography by Somaly Mam, a Cambodian woman sold into prostitution as a child. Stephanie utilized her skills in events and marketing and founded Project Futures in June 2009, after her first event raised $80,000 for Somaly Mam's work in Cambodia supporting victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Project Futures (opens in a new window) empowers and engages a generation of passionate young professionals to participate in creative, innovative and sustainable fundraising initiatives to support long-term project partners in Australia, Cambodia and Nepal. It is an outlet for young professionals to give back in time, skills and talents by leveraging their social calendar and profession in order to raise awareness for this cause and have fun doing it, ensuring that charity is an active, fun and collaborative part of
everyday social interaction.
From a standing start the first five years of which two were run voluntarily, Project Futures raised over A$2.1 million for their anti-trafficking projects. In April 2013 Stephanie became the first full time paid employee and is growing the organisation at a rapid pace.
Stephanie has a Bachelor of International Communication from Macquarie University and in 2014 was named one of Westpac's 100 Women of Influence and in 2013 nominated as Australian of the Year. An inspiring role model for young professionals,
Stephanie is an excellent speaker for school groups, universities and corporate graduate programs.
Director and Co-founder, Food Ladder International
An accomplished and dynamic marketing and communications professional, Kelly is experienced in developing start-ups as well as designing innovative and compelling strategies to deliver growth. Spanning the Indigenous education and employment sectors Kelly has held management roles and overseen important diversifications, before pursuing her dream of addressing food security challenges on a global scale.
Food Ladder International (opens in a new window) is a holistically sustainable organisation that engages disadvantaged individuals in the cultivation of vegetables to address challenges of food security on a global scale.Food Ladder International designs and ships flatpack, scalable and environmentally friendly greenhouse growing solutions for malnourished communities which can be operated as either a social enterprise or delivered as a sustainable aid solution.
Kelly is passionate about creating sustainable solutions for pervasive social issues affecting communities around the world, and galvanising the power and passion of organisations and individuals to the movement. Kelly drives the global growth strategy for the business.
Rise of the Eco Warriors and Conservationist
Ben Dessen is a conservationist and wildlife advocate, writer, media presenter, educator and a UWS graduate.
From an early age Ben knew that all he wanted to do was spend his life learning about and caring for animal's and educating others to do the same. Animal's give Ben's life purpose and provide him with an ongoing source of curiosity and inspiration.
Everything Ben has done with his life so far, everything Ben is doing with his life right now and everything he intends to do in the future, relates to a driving passion to better understand and advocate for the protection of the amazing wildlife we share this planet with.
Ben believes that by truly appreciating the beauty in other creatures we can discover the best part of ourselves.
Ben was also one of the Rise of the Eco Warriors (opens in a new window) team. This group of passionate and adventurous young people leave their known worlds behind to spend 100 days in the jungles of Borneo. Their mission was to confront one of the great global challenges of our time, saving rainforests and giving hope to endangered orangutans.