It was a huge honour to attend the inaugural GirlBoss Awards Celebration Evening on 19 September and truly humbling to be in the room with such amazing young women. The awards were aptly timed to coincide with the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage and celebrated a new, young generation of innovative thinkers, with all 400 entrants aged between 11 and 18 years old.
The inspiring young winners of the 2018 GirlBoss Awards with GirlBoss founder Alexia Hilbertou (centre)
We were also delighted to have Petra Lucioli, our Claims Manager, as one of the judges on the judging panel, and for Delta Insurance to sponsor the Emerging Leader award.
A huge congrats to 13-year-old Greer Wilson from Massey who won our Emerging Leader award for her work raising awareness around mental health, as well as for her work on providing Parliament with recommendations about how the mental health system could be better suited to young people.
Greer Wilson, winner of the Emerging Leader Award with Petra Lucioli, Delta Claims Manager and inaugural GirlBoss Awards judge
It was great to have some of the Delta Force team in attendance to soak up the greatness! From left: Samantha, Megan, Craig, Lucy, Luka, Petra and Antonio.
GirlBoss founder Alexia Hilbertidou said the GirlBoss Awards was about celebrating women who could be New Zealand’s future leaders and CEOs. “These young women are inspirational as they challenge stereotypes and make a difference in their community. We’ve loved seeing such a high calibre of entries from Invercargill to Kerikeri, and selecting six winners was very tough. Our winners were outstanding and are examples of what is possible with determination and passion. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”
GirlBoss founder Alexia Hilbertidou
Rahiri Makuini Edwards-Hammond from Wairoa received the overall supreme Trailblazer Award for her work with developing young Maori leaders. She co-founded Project Rangatahi, which connects young Maori with mentors, internships and opportunities that will help them get further in their career. Each year, the programme accepts 100 applicants and helps them develop and grow in their chosen career path. What’s more, she is also a big advocate for encouraging young Māori to pursue careers in STEM fields and grow the use of te reo.
Mikayla Stokes, a 17-year-old from Western Springs, won the STEAM award (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) for her work inventing an “internet of things” particulate pollution sensor, which she designed, adapted, programmed and soldered herself. The device took more than six months to get the coding right, and measures the air and sends pollution readings through to a laptop. She now runs STEAM events for young Kiwis, teaching them robotics and how to code in a fun and engaging way. She is also in the process of creating a new product – an automated hydroponic vertical garden for smaller properties that have no space to plant a garden in.
Tulsi Lathia, a 17-year-old from Christchurch, won the Innovation Award for inventing a device that helps locate people stuck under rubble following a natural disaster, following the devastating Christchurch Earthquakes. Lathia is also the co-founder of a social enterprise called Spoonful of Spice, which is creating a book filled with recipes and stories from refugees to bridge the gap between their cultures and New Zealand culture. Proceeds from the books sold will go towards helping refugee families in Christchurch.
Zoe Palmer, an 18-year-old from Nelson, won the Community Award for campaigning to save the 24/7 youth mental health crisis service in Nelson after a restructure at the DHB meant the service would no longer be available at all hours, and focus on all ages rather than youth. She also presented a petition to Parliament with aiming to keep the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) crisis line.
Simone Renee Peers, a 15-year-old from Waikato, won the Enterprise Award, for starting her own business at the age of 13 selling hot nuts through vending machines around Hamilton. With some assistance from her parents, she sourced the business on Trade Me and now has a number of outlets in the region. Simone said about the night:
“I had an absolutely awesome day and night filled with so many wonderful things that are sure to be memories that I will cherish for a lifetime! I am still walking on cloud 9 (no it is not my very high heels that make me feel like I am in the clouds) and I have to keep pinching myself that it was all real! The Northern Club was such a lovely setting and I thoroughly enjoyed the networking. Meeting the other winners and spending the day with them was fantastic! They are all such lovely young ladies and I know that I have made friends for life!”