“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

Daryl Kootenay

"We must support gender equality in our gatherings by creating spaces in which female leaders can learn, engage, and act on each other’s ideas." -Daryl Kootenay Age: 27 Hometown: Morley, Alberta Currently Residing In: Morley, Alberta Affiliations: Stoney Nakoda Youth Council, Banff Center for indigenous leadership, Mni Ki Waka: Decade of Water Summit Since I was in high school, I have always felt a deep sense of the need and desire to help others. This aligns with my identity as a Stoney...

Janine Heber

"Continually question and re-evaluate how spaces can be made more accessible, and take action to reduce barriers for marginalized folks." -Janine Heber Age: 19 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Queer Flex, Sexual Violence Awareness/Office of Human Rights, Plan International Canada Speakers’ Bureau, Rainbow Alliance Youth for Edmonton, The Quiltbag, MacEwan Office of Sustainability I am a queer, non-binary artist, activist, and student. I have a...

Karl Narvacan

"Be inclusive and accepting of other people’s ideas and habits, and you can be a changemaker for gender equality." -Karl Narvacan Age: 29 Hometown: Manila, Philippines Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre Society, Choosing Wisely Canada As first-generation immigrants from the Philippines, our family faced a common challenge—navigating the health care system. I vividly remember going to the ER one day when I had a severe toothache, only to...

Peter Anto Johnson

"People become change-makers when they work towards a mutually benefiting outcome, one based on tolerance and respect." -Peter Anto Johnson Age: 22 Hometown: Angadical, Kerala, India Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: Run for Support and Health (RuSH), University Infant Toddler Centre – University of Alberta, Student Health Committee, Health & Wellness Movement, Obesity Canada - Students & New Professional I’m a women and children’s health researcher, community...

Sonia Lal

"Reflect on the stereotypes and prejudiced views you may apply to others. Recognize if you’re discriminatory, and rectify your behaviour. Change starts with you." -Sonia Lal Age: 18 Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta Affiliations: John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights (ACGC Member) Students Invested in Health Association, Live Different, Big Brothers Big Sisters From a cheerleader with a bow in her hair to a Taekwondo competitor gearing up to spar on...

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...

Janica Altea L. Echavez

"Encouraging young women and men in STEM is key to gaining more leaders and problem solvers that can address our current concerns in new, innovative ways." -Janica Altea L. Echavez Age: 23 Hometown: Cebu, Philippines Currently Residing In: Calgary, Alberta Affiliations: Next 36 Canada, Canadian Commission for UNESCO Youth Advisory Group, Science Expo Canada, Foundation of Student Science and Technology I was born and raised in the Philippines. While we owned a family exporting business, I was...

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...
Share This