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The Weekly

Catching up with the 2018 Women of the Future winners

Meet the inspiring women using their power for good.

The Women of the Future Awards help young women achieve their dreams.
Bronwyn Phillips checks in with our 2018 winners to see where the award has taken them.

Sarah Moran, 35

Co-founder Girl Geek Academy, 2018 winner Entrepreneur & Business category.
Standing onstage at the 2018 Women of the Future Awards accepting her Entrepreneur & Business category prize, Sarah Moran issued a challenge to the media in the room.
"They have the biggest potential to change the mindset of young girls," Sarah says now.
"So I asked them why they always present the stereotypical IT guy."
Sarah's boldness paid off when Georgie Gardner approached her after her speech. "She said, 'Yes, exactly that!'"
And Sarah tells The Weekly, "I've had multiple spots on the Today Show as a result."
Since winning, Sarah has secured a publishing deal with Penguin Random House to produce a series of books for girls aged nine to 12.
"Girl Geeks is like The Babysitters Club for young girls in tech," says Sarah. "The books launch on July 2." The Women of the Future cash prize helped Geek Girls establish a progressive work experience program.
"Work experience is usually a young person following someone around and getting coffee," says Sarah.
"It hasn't changed in 30 years."
Sarah plans to bring groups of students to companies to work on set problems and projects.
"Then we bring professionals from that industry in to give them talks," says Sarah.
The prize money has been used for research and development, and prototyping.
"Now we have a package to present to corporates," says Sarah.
The programs have been rolled out in Melbourne, with 120 girls taking part so far.
In June, Geek Girls will be represented at London Tech Week.
"And in Bristol on June 10 – the Spice Girls are performing," says Sarah excitedly.
"We will be there, in the front row."

Caitlin Figueiredo, 23

Co-founder Jasiri Australia, 2018 winner Community, Health & Charity category.
When The Weekly first met Caitlin Figueiredo, Jasiri Australia had trained 900 women.
The organisation, which aims to empower a generation of fearless women and girls, and teach resilience and self-defence to women who have suffered domestic and gender-based violence, has now passed on those skills to 2,500 women.
"It's skyrocketed," says Caitlin, a dynamic young Canberra woman who sits on three United Nations task forces and was named a Changemaker for Gender Equality by Barack and Michelle Obama.
"Jasiri's goal was to work with 100,000 girls and women by 2020. We feel we will definitely achieve that."
A survivor of childhood violence, Caitlin co-founded Jasiri Australia to help young women in similar situations.
Apart from self-defence, the Jasiri programs include mental health, building positive relationships, goal setting, advocacy, leadership and gender equality.
Jasiri has also expanded internationally this past year.
"Through The Australian Women's Weekly, some young women in Tonga saw what we were doing," says Caitlin.
"They have high rates of domestic violence in Tonga, and they asked if we could bring Jasiri there."
Jasiri has been running self-defence and leadership programs in Tonga with local youth leaders for the last nine months, and further expansion is planned to Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Through distance education, Caitlin hopes to roll Jasiri Australia out to young women in regional and remote Australian communities too.
Caitlin has a simple message for young women considering entering the Women of the Future Awards.
"If you're doing something you are passionate about and want people to know about it," she says, "give it a go!"
WATCH BELOW: WOTF judge Lisa Wilkinson on her greatest achievement. Story continues after video

Ally Mclean, 25

Co-founder The Working Lunch, 2018 winner Innovation & Technology category
When Ally McLean won the Women of the Future Innovation & Technology prize in 2018, she admits she was surprised.
"I didn't realise how much getting women into gaming resonated with women outside the industry," she explains. "It was very validating."
Ally, a gaming professional, is determined to increase the representation of women in the industry, which is characterised by sexism and misogyny.
She is the founder and director of The Working Lunch, a mentorship program which partners entry-level women with experienced women in the gaming industry. Winning her category has had a huge impact on Ally's enterprise.
"Previously we ran Working Lunch out of Sydney, and had one cohort of about 10 mentors, with 10 mentees and a few guest speakers," says Ally.
"Now, with programs also in Brisbane, Adelaide and Wellington, NZ, it's four times the size."
The prize money helped to develop the program and create a Working Lunch handbook for the courses.
Recently returned from Belarus, Ally says having her Women of the Future win on her resume has had an impact.
"I was offered a job with the largest gaming company in Australia," Ally says.
"It's based in Russia, so I travelled there. I'm learning so much from the professional development programs, which also contributes to The Working Lunch."
Ally's advice to anyone wanting to enter this year's competition is to "dream big. The Working Lunch started as women in the industry getting together for lunch whenever they could to share experiences and network," says Ally.
"The lunch became a program, which became a company and then went international. I didn't think I would win, with all the women doing incredible things that I was up against. Then, the next thing I knew, I was sitting at a table next to Ronni Kahn and I'd won this award!"

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