“Never underestimate the effect that your actions have on other people. Follow your interests and skills, and use them to make a positive impact.”

-Stephanie Southgate

Age: 28

Hometown: Ipswich, United Kingdom

Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta

Affiliations: CAWST (ACGC Member)

what influenced you to become a change-maker?

I have always been driven to make a positive contribution to others and the world. However, during a university internship in rural India, my resolve to shift my career path towards education was solidified upon seeing the power that education had in changing young women’s lives. I spent two years working as an elementary teacher in the UK before moving to Calgary, where I was fortunate to find an opportunity that harnessed my passions for education and international development: running the Youth Wavemakers program with CAWST. The students I work with, whether they are high school students I work with throughout the school year or elementary students I teach for just an hour, continually inspire me. Young people are so open to new ideas, unintimidated by challenges, and full of innovative ideas for making a positive impact. I feel so privileged to work alongside them.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

Through the Wavemakers program, I work to raise youth’s understanding of global and local water issues, working alongside and supporting inspirational students as they take action on these issues. One key issue is raising awareness of how water, sanitation, and hygiene challenges impact gender equality. Students are often surprised to find that it commonly falls to women and girls to collect water and that many children miss an education in order to fulfill their families’ basic needs. I believe taking meaningful action on SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, will help us to achieve a number of other goals, including SDG 5: Gender Equality.

What valuable lesson have you learned through your experience?

You will make the biggest impact if you are working towards a goal that means something to you personally. The biggest lesson that I have learned is to take things one step at a time. The bigger picture can be daunting, especially when you are working towards one of the Sustainable Development Goals. I believe it is important to remain optimistic about the changes we can make, and the action we can take, to change the world. Start taking action on something that you are passionate about, and keep working towards that goal.

More 2019 Top 30 Alumni

Alex Wong

"As an advocate, it is important to recognize your own privilege and help elevate the voices of others, rather than replace them with your own." -Alex Wong Age: 22 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: MD Admissions Initiative for Diversity and Equity, Medical Students’ Association - University of Alberta, Canadian Federation of Medical Students, Net Impact My passion for medicine stems from my belief that good health is one of the cornerstones of...

Elizabeth Roden

"You don’t have to do something on a grand scale; just live your values and stand up for what you believe in." -Elizabeth Roden Age: 29 Hometown: Glendon, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Operation Eyesight (ACGC Member) From an early age, I’ve always believed that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. I helped form a leadership group at my high school and was eager to learn more about world issues. In 2007, I moved to Calgary to pursue a degree...

Hamila Al-Turk

"Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, but a human rights issue, and we all need to be part of the conversation." Age: 21 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: City of Edmonton Youth Council, Social Equity Subcommittee, Diabetes Canada Club One of the wisest teachers to have taught me once said, “Compassion is the basis of all morality, so live your life as if you were a mirror that reflects the good back to people.” Being a student under her...

Adam Goodwin

"Incorporate changes to address gender equality in your daily life. This can be in your own community, at the regional level, or through an international opportunity." -Adam Goodwin Age: 29 Hometown: Red Deer, Alberta Currently Residing In: Red Deer, Alberta Affiliations: Sport4one I spend a considerable amount of my personal time investing in the sport for development and peace industry. The industry employs sport as a means for economic, environmental, and social development. I became a...

Hannah Mercader

"You don’t have to do something out of the ordinary to make a special impact. Be mindful of how to make the small moments count." -Hannah Mercader Age: 27 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Mama na Mtoto, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary From a very young age, I have always had an interest in the health of vulnerable populations. Being born in rural Philippines and growing up in a low-income immigrant family in Canada, I understand...

Amber Rai

"To be a change-maker, you must identify an issue that needs to be addressed, think of ways to bring about the change, and evaluate your efforts to ensure you are making the impact that you hoped for." -Amber Rai Age: 20 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Sherwood Park, Alberta Affiliations: Learning Beyond Borders, HEAL International Ever since I joined the Learning Beyond Borders club over five years ago, I have been working on programs to help students in rural Uganda....

Tina Guo

"As young individuals, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to advocate for marginalized populations, and strive to effect positive change in our communities." -Tina Guo Age: 22 Hometown: Calgary, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Students Against Domestic Abuse Association, Outrun the Stigma Calgary, Student Run Clinic Born to a poor, first-generation immigrant family, I understood at a tender age the irreplaceability of diligence and tenacity. However,...

Nicole Jones-Abad

"It’s important to honour people’s pronouns, have physically accessible all-gender washrooms at events, and talk about gender in less binary terms. It’s also important to check in on your trans and non-binary friends, and make room for them."     -Nicole Jones-Abad Age: 23 Hometown: Quito, Ecuador Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Shades of Colour, RAYE (Rainbow Alliance for Youth of Edmonton), QWTF (Queer Women and Trans-folk Fest), The Edmonton Shift Lab While I’ve lived...

Ameer Farooq

"To improve gender equality, we need to understand the issue through data and research and make informed decisions that get at the heart of the problem." -Ameer Farooq Age: 29 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Alberta Health Services The corridors of Mohammad Ali Jinnah Hospital are smeared with the stains of spit-up paan. There are people everywhere—under the stairs, in every chair, in every bed, some moaning, some simply staring with large...

Bryce Thomsen

"I invite all youth in our community to identify opportunities to create change and to not be afraid to pitch their ideas to mentors for support." -Bryce Thomsen Age: 23 Hometown: Camrose, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: TEC Edmonton, Health City, University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine Growing up in a small town in rural Alberta, I always wondered what life was like on the global stage. I was fascinated with various cultures and their ways of life, but soon...
Share This