Insights and inspiration

Stephanie Woollard

Stephanie Woollard

Founder and CEO, Seven Women, Nepal

At the age of 22 years, on a trip to Nepal, Stephanie stumbled across 7 disabled women living in a tin shed and heard their stories of suffering and stigma.

Using her last $200, she paid for trainers for the women to learn new skills, which in turn empowered them to earn money, become independent and transform their lives. Her visionary leadership led her to start an organisation called Seven Women, which has now educated, trained and employed over 5000 disabled and marginalised women in Nepal through education, skills training and employment pathways.

Women have been employed by the enterprises Steph has created including a manufacturing business which exports fair trade products made by the women internationally and a cooking school and guesthouse which target the tourist market in Nepal. Stephanie also has a responsible tour company leading life-changing tours to Nepal, which allow travellers to make a difference in the local community and train marginalised women as tour guides.

Stephanie believes in ‘trade not aid’ when seeking to empower and gives examples of how all businesses can make a difference using the framework of the sustainable development goals. Stephanie’s impact in making difference reaches far beyond Nepal. Steph has shared her story on a global stage to audiences of all ages in over 20 countries. In 2016 Steph was presented at the United Nations New York with the Rotary International Responsible Business Award, followed by the Woman of the Decade Award at the Women’s Economic Forum in New Dehli in 2017 and an award from the Governorette for entrepreneurship in Bahrain. This year Steph was awarded an Order of Australia.