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NEXT Woman of the Year Winners 2015

NEXT Woman of the Year Winners 2015

Introducing New Zealand's Women of the Year
Tonight New Zealand’s most inspirational women have been honoured at the NEXT Woman of the Year awards ceremony. The six winners have all made an outstanding contribution in their fields and NEXT in association with Pandora is proud to showcase their achievements.

The supreme NEXT Woman of the Year winner is digital trailblazer Claudia Batten, also the winner of the Business and Innovation category. At just 41, Claudia has created and sold two multi-million dollar start-up businesses; Massive and Victors & Spoils, and is now committed to helping other entrepreneurs find the tools to chase their own business dreams. She does this through her new role as New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s head of North America, as well as offering her considerable skills as a mentor to budding entrepreneurs around the globe. Louise Upston, Minister for Women and Woman of the Year judge, says “Business is stitched into Claudia’s DNA – and the energy and enthusiasm with which she makes great ideas happen is beyond impressive.“

This year’s Community category winner Ruth Money volunteers 40-60 hours a week to support victims of crime. As an advocate, Ruth is there for the survivors of some of New Zealand’s most heinous acts in their hour of need, but also remains an important part of their recovery process well after the headlines have faded from memory. Described by the judges as selfless, determined and persistent, Ruth deserves recognition for her work in arguably one of the toughest areas of community life.

The Mind Lab founder Frances Valintine is our Education category winner. Recognising the gap between the modern world and traditional teaching methods, Frances set up purpose-built labs for her technology-based workshops to inspire school children. A partnership with Unitec has taken her vision to the next level by empowering teachers through postgraduate study to apply these same principles in the classroom, helping keep the curriculum updated to prepare our children for the jobs of the future. Some 40,000 students will benefit from the workshops in 2016, and over 10,000 teachers within the next five years.

Screenwriter and director Fiona Samuel is responsible for some of the most varied and interesting roles for women on our stages and screens today, and it’s this dedication that’s seen her become this year‘s Arts & Culture winner. With a passion for telling women’s stories, Samuel has worked to ensure there are more opportunities for women both in front of the camera and behind it. Her award-winning telefeature Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story is just one example of Fiona’s powerful work in our arts scene today.

Proving age is no reason to slow down, 86-year-old World Masters athlete Marcia Petley is the Sport category winner. Leg injuries, a broken wrist and even open-heart surgery have done nothing to deter Marcia, whose most recent competition in France saw her pick up three medals at the 2015 World Masters Athletics Champtionships. In her 30-year sporting career, she’s won over 22 medals and her team holds the world masters record for the 4 x 400m relay in their age category. But she’s not one to rest on her laurels and is currently training for events in 2017 and 2018, stating, “If I’m alive, I’m going.“

The Health and Science category was won by Dr Catherine Mohr, who’s currently trailblazing her way through the male-dominated field of surgical robotics in America’s Silicon Valley. By reducing patients‘ recovery time dramatically, as well as time spent in the hospital, her work as vice-president of medical research at Intuitive Surgical is already benefitting patients the world over.

The judging panel for this year‘s awards included Minister for Women Louise Upston; Geoff Ross, Chairman of Trilogy International and CEO of Moa Brewing Company; and NEXT editor Sarah Henry. “Every year, we’re blown away by the calibre of the entries we receive,“ Sarah Henry says. “The aim of the NEXT Woman of the Year awards is to shine a spotlight on women whose tireless efforts in their chosen field often go unnoticed or unrewarded. It’s a privilege to give these women the recognition they deserve. As our supreme winner, Claudia embodies the ethos of these awards – she truly is a trailblazer who looked at the world differently and believed in her own talents.“

The category winners and overall NEXT Woman of the Year were announced at the awards ceremony in Auckland on October 8, and are featured in the November issue of NEXT magazine, available in stores fromMonday, October 12.

NEXT Woman of the Year Category Winners 2015
Arts & Culture - Fiona Samuel, Screenwriter/director

Business & Innovation - Claudia Batten, Entrepreneur

Community - Ruth Money, Victim and survivor advocate

Health & Science - Dr Catherine Mohr, Engineer and vice-president of strategy, Intuitive Surgery

Sport - Marcia Petley, Masters athlete

Education - Frances Valintine, Founder, The Mind Lab by Unitec

ENDS

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