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Future Leader winners announced

Media Release


Two Auckland women have been awarded the top prizes at the YWCA Auckland Future Leaders Programme Awards Ceremony held on Fridaynight.

The Awards, held in Auckland on 9th December, saw 19 graduates of the Auckland YWCA Future Leaders Programme and their mentors come together to acknowledge their outstanding achievement over the past four years.

The YWCA Auckland Future Leaders Programme is a life changing developmental programme where young women (aged 14-18 years) from low decile schools are given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and confidence.

Mary-Kate Fonua (18 yrs old), 2016 Deputy Head Girl from Mt Roskill Grammar School, was awarded the prestigious 2016 Future Leader of the Year Award. The award highlights her commitment over the last four years to the YWCA Future Leaders programme. As Future Leader of the Year, Mary-Kate also receives a scholarship of $1,000 to go towards her study, kindly donated by the founder of the programme, Di Paton.

Mary-Kate said of the award win; “I have been to all of the YWCA Future Leader graduations over the past few years and to finish off my graduation with this award is an honour. The Future Leaders Programme has helped me become more confident and I have been given the opportunity to do things that I would never have had before walking into the YWCA. I’ve learnt that you can do anything if you work hard and I have been taught to believe in myself.”

Monica Briggs, CEO, YWCA Auckland, said; “The Future Leaders Programme aims to build the leadership skills of young Auckland women and support and encourage them to achieve their goals. Mary-Kate is a very deserving winner and brings to life the values of the Programme. She is an example of everything that is needed to be a leader in her community and has made an outstanding commitment over the past four years, taking every opportunity that has come her way. Congratulations Mary Kate!”

The 2016 Mentor of the Year was awarded to Pip Mehrtens from Birkenhead, acknowledging the outstanding support, participation and commitment by a mentor in the Future Leaders Programme.

“It was a wonderful surprise to be awarded Mentor of the Year. Becoming a mentor has never been about glory or praise, it’s been about helping and supporting an amazing young woman achieve her potential by giving her different experiences, perspectives, views and advice than what she might otherwise have ever had access to.

“Thanks to her and the Future Leaders Programme, I’ve also been exposed to different experiences, perspectives and views than I otherwise would have. Mary & I have finished the four years with a deep love and respect for each other. I will always be there to help, support and guide her, and we will be friends for life,” said Pip Mehrtens.

Monica Briggs commented of Pip’s win; “Pip has truly made an enormous difference in her Mentee’s life. Her relationship goes beyond simply a mentor relationship and she has given an amazing amount of commitment throughout her four years as a Mentor. Her Future Leader has a bright future ahead of her thanks to her ongoing support.”


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