Marie Forleo owns a socially conscious, digital empire! She has an award winning show “Marie TV” which is, and always will be, free! For anyone who is connected to the internet to watch. Marie does world class training through ‘B-School’ (her online Business School), working mainly with women, building conscious businesses. Her students are as passionate about being financially successful as they are about using that financial success, to make a difference to improve the world by helping those who need it the most. Marie has also written a book published in 16 languages, and her TV program reaches an audience which spans 195 countries!
A Jersey girl born December 7th, 1975, she was brought up in a working class family, and has risen to her huge level of success through being a dedicated, intelligent, creative entrepreneur. Her focus has always been on building a socially conscious business model. This initial intent sets Marie apart from many other successful people, who wait until they have made their millions, to then decide who to help, if their hearts are directed to share their good fortune with those in need. Marie is quoted as saying:
“Never start a business just to make money, start a business to make a difference.”
Not only has her business success shown that Marie is a brilliant business women, but that she is equally a beautiful human being, kind, empathetic and generous. She has literally smashed most preconceived notions that to be successful you have to be a man who has attended the best Ivy League Colleges, with family money to help you set up, with degrees in business and possessing a ruthless nature putting making money above all. Marie is a young women, with a degree in Business Finance from Seton Hall University (1997) who prior to establishing her empire, worked initially on the New York Stock Exchange. She then moved to Gourmet Magazine and then Mademoiselle Magazine, and once realising that none of these were bringing her joy and fulfilment she started teaching Hip Hop Dance and Fitness Classes and working as a Bartender, after putting herself through Bar School. Hardly your traditional background for a highly intelligent and successful business person in corporate America.
Hopefully Marie has started a business trend with everyone she teaches and who watch Marie TV, that having a socially conscious business, is indeed the way of the future. Marie was named by Oprah as a “Thought Leader” for the next generation. Her business holds the belief that everything you do, makes a difference. With that in mind, they award Scholarships to those in need, and use the Marie TV social platform as a means of delivering world-class content, about social issues and featuring other change-makers who are making a difference in their particular area of influence. As a Philanthropist, Marie’s business donates a percentage of her earnings to many charitable organisations, who do wonderful things with some of the most disadvantaged people in the world.
Organisations that she regularly donates to include ‘Charity Water’, and to celebrate the 4th Birthday of Marie TV, she fundraised from her audience in 195 countries, to raise $63,138 . From this money Charity Water was able to build 7 wells in Ethiopia, bringing safe clean drinking water to over 1,750 people! She has also provided $58,000, in life changing loans to entrepreneurs through KIVA. Marie also gives a proportion of her sales to ‘Pencils of Promise’, who have built 5 schools in 3 different countries, with 3 more on the way. She also supports “Save the Children” through the “Early Steps to School Program” in the USA.
Marie Forleo has dedicated a percentage of the B-School business profits to ‘Sama Source”, helping them to lift 2,800 women out of poverty. They also directly sponsor 9 girls, from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Guatemala, Peru and Gambia, through the “She’s the First” scholarship program. Marie was personally part of the “Compassion Collective”, together with other high profile people, raising more than $560,000 for Syrian refugees and homeless youth in America, and she is a mentor with Sir Richard Branson, through ‘Virgin Unite’ entrepreneurs in South Africa.
I am so proud as a women and a member of ‘conscious’ humanity, to know that women like Marie are out there making the world a better place, sharing her intelligence, drive, passion and commitment, proving that there is a better way to do business and showing that being successful is an opportunity to make a positive difference in this world. I will finish with a quote by Marie Forleo, which I believe sums up why I think she is a Wonderous Women:
“Remember having faith means recognising the value of what you are here to contribute to the world and allowing your actions to be grounded in that truth.”
Sarah Blakely, the founder of "Spanx" the body shapewear company, is America's youngest Billionaire! She was born February 27, 1971 in Clearwater, Florida. After graduating from Florida State University with a communication degree, Sarah out of need and desire for herself, embarked on designing, developing and launching a company which made and tested on women, the body shapewear products that women wanted to wear.
In her first year of production her company made $4 Million and then $10 Million in it's second year. In 2001 she started on QVC, a home shopping channel, selling 8,000 products in the first six minutes! In 2012, Times magazine listed her on their 'Time 100' list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Then in 2014, Forbes listed her number 93 of the most powerful women in the world. Not a bad achievement for someone whose first job was selling fax machines door to door.
In 2005 she appeared on a reality TV program called 'The Rebel
Billionaire' where she met Sir Richard Branson, who helped her both as
an Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. In 2006, Sarah set up 'The Sarah Blakely Foundation" designed to help women through education and entrepreneurial training, and Richard Branson gave her a cheque for $750,000 in order to get it started!
Since the launch, the Foundation has funded scholarships in South Africa. Not forgetting how Oprah Winrfrey's personal endorsement on her TV show of Sarah's 'Spanx' had helped her get known worldwide, in 2016 she donated $1 Million to Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls'. In 2013, Sarah was the first female Billionaire to join 'The Giving Pledge' set up by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, where the richest people of the world pledge to donate at least half of their wealth to charity!
Sarah married her husband Jesse Itzier when she was 38 and she has 4 children. Her Spanz company now has a range of over 200 products and even a few for men, and they are sold in 54 countries. Sarah is a fantastic example of what a Wonderous Women, with intelligence, creativity, determination and integrity can do for herself and how by being a mindful entrepreneur with a social conscience, can make a huge difference in the world. We thank you Sarah for being such a brilliant role model for women worldwide, by showing us what we can achieve.
Layne Beachley is the only person, women or man to hold 6 consecutive World Surfing Titles between 1998 and 2003! She then went on to win a 7th World Surfing Title in 2006 and finally retired from the ASP World Surfing Tour in 2008. Layne is widely recognised as the most successful female surfer in history and is an Australian Icon.
I wonder if anyone could see that a future champion was in their midst when Layne was born on the 24th May, 1972 in Sydney Australia; arriving prematurely and spending her first few weeks of life in a humidicrib? Layne was adopted as a 6 week old baby by Valerie and Neil Beachley. Her father, a Manly Beach Lifesaver, introduced Layne to surfing as a well balanced and co-ordinated 4 year old. Layne’s life was not easy though, losing her Mother at aged 7 was heartbreaking, however by 14, she had entered her first surf contest, and then turning professional straight after finishing school.
Layne’s surfing prowess, was spotted by world surfing champion Pam Burridge, who was to become Layne’s mentor. After 4 years on the circuit and getting to number 6 in the world rankings, she contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had to drop out of surfing, with the syndrome returning again in 1996. By the time Layne was 26, she had fought her way back from illness, and took out the World Surfing Championship, the first of 6 consecutive titles she was to win!
Layne retired from surfing in 2008 and became the first former World Champion in any sport, to take on the role of Chairperson in a National Sporting organisation, Surfing Australia, and she is now on the Board of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Travelling the world competing in any sport is expensive, and it prevents you from holding down a permanent job. Layne knows this only to well, as she was forced to work 4 jobs, working up to 60hrs a week, just to be able to pursue her passion and utilise her amazing talents. Her financial struggles in fact almost ended her career, until a $3,000 cheque was given to her by her generous employer, which finally allowed her to fund her international travels to compete.
This formed the inspiration for Layne to start ‘Aim For the Stars”; an organisation which provides much needed financial and moral support for young girls and women. It allows them to maintain focus on their goals, so they can pursue their dreams, achieve their potential and aim for the stars. Layne has also produced a series of surfing videos and has been a long term promoter and spokesperson of ‘Planet Ark’ an organisation that promotes recycling to keep planet earth clean and safe.Layne has also become known as a renowned International motivational keynote speaker, sharing her story of overcoming challenges, sustaining excellence and maintaining that winning mindset, with many of the worlds top companies like Telstra, Commonwealth Bank, Surfing Australia and Wyndham.
Layne also won the Laureus World Sports Award, for Action Sportsperson of the Year. In 2015 Layne was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia, for distinguished service to the community; by supporting a wide range of charities, being a mentor for women in sport and a world champion Surfer many times over. The one thing I have noticed when writing about these Wonderous Women, is how difficult it is to decide whether to include them in the Inspirational Stories, or Philanthropists section of the website, as many of them like Layne really belong in both areas. Thank you Layne for being yet another example of a beautiful Wonderous Philantropic Women, who has shone her talents and light throughout the world, and yet always calling Australia home.
Alicia Keys was born Alicia Cook, on January 25th 1981 in Hells Kitchen, Manhattan, New York USA. Alicia, is a famous and very accomplished singer, songwriter, record producer, pianist, actress, a New York times best-selling author, an entrepreneur and she is also a philanthropist! She is a loving wife to Swiss Beats and has two beautiful children. Her style of music is R&B, Soul, Jazz, Hip Hop with vocals, piano and keyboard.
Alicia released her first unplugged live album and stepped straight into history, as the first woman to have an MTV unplugged album debut at No.1. Over the course of her career so far, she has been awarded 15 Grammy Awards, 17 NAACP Image Awards and has sold over 35 million albums and 30 million singles worldwide. She has acted in Smoking Aces, The Nanny Diaries and The Secret Life of Bees.
Billboard Magazine named her the top R&B artist of the 2000’s decade and number 10 on their list of the top 50 R&B/Hip Hop Artists of the past 25 years. VHI included her in their 100 Greatest Artists of all Time list, while Time magazine named her in their 100 Most Influential people in 2005 and again in 2017! She was described as not only a great singer, but it was noted that her level of musicianship was rarely seen.
In May 2016, Alicia began a ‘Make-Up Free Campaign', explaining
“I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing!”
Alicia is the co-founder and Global Ambassador of ‘Keep a Child Alive” a not for profit organisation that provides medicines to families with HIV and AIDS in Africa, and helps children whose parents have died from HIV. She has visited African countries such as Uganda, Kenya and South Africa and spoke to teens and young adults who have lost their parents to AIDS and are now the head of the household, looking after themselves and remaining siblings. She promotes care for children affected by AIDS, which was documented in a film called “Alicia in Africa : Journey to the Motherland” in 2008.
In her charity work she has recorded many songs with artists like Bono and Keith Urban, to raise money for World AIDS Day. Alicia also sang at Live Earth and Live8 concerts, as well as several concerts to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. She was the Musical Director for the 2006 “Keep a Child Alive Charity Gala” and gave a private concert as a prize in an auction to benefit the charity.
As spokesperson for the charity “From The Ground Up”, which is dedicated to helping American youth to achieve success on all levels. Alicia says:
“I am passionate about my work, in love with my family and dedicated to spreading light”
She obviously walks her truth, because she is also a supporter of 27 other charities including Global Poverty Project, Music Cares, Oxfarm, UNICEF, Wellness in Schools and Youth Lifeline America to name a few.
Alicia Keys is an amazing women with a huge heart, who is ready and willing to apply her talents to good causes all over the world in any way she can. Alicia you are an amazing talent and a truely Wonderous Women. Thank you for the beautiful light you shine on the earth.
J K ROWLING
J K Rowling, is the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series of books, which has sold over 450 Million copies worldwide, and has been translated into 78 languages and turned into eight blockbuster films.
Having left an abusive marriage, penniless and with a young child, she found herself in a very difficult situation. From writing in a coffee shop to keep warm and save on electricity bills, came the amazing stories of Harry Potter the young wizard. Joanne's life was never to be the same, with huge success and amazing financial resources at her disposal. However Joanne Rowling never forgot just how difficult those days were as a single mum, and she has made it a mission to help where ever she can.
It is Joanne who we look to for inspiration, when it comes to overcoming hardships and showing us that hard work and creativity does pay off. Her writing of Harry Potter propelled her from poverty and living off welfare, to fame and fortune, gaining her Billionaire status and putting her on Forbes list of the world's richest people. In the same year as making the list, she lost her position on the list because she donated so much money to charity. She gave away in 2011, 11% of her net worth, or $160 Million dollars to charitable organisations!
Here is a list of some of the causes that she has donated money towards: Aids & HIV, Cancer, Children, Creative Arts, Education,Family/Parent Support, Health, Homelessness, Human Rights, Hunger, Literacy, Mental Challenges, Poverty, Refuges, and Women. The names of the Charities and Foundations she has supported are Book Aid International, Catie Hoch Foundation, Children with Aids, Dyslexia Action, Ambassador of 'One Parent Families" known as Gingerbread, Haven Foundation, Heifer International, Lumos- Children's High Level Group (CHLG), Make a Child Smile Appeal, Multiple Sclerosis Society, PEN, Raise Gorbachev Foundation, Women's Fund for Scotland, XP Support Group, Look to the Stars and finally JK Rowling and Victoria Beckham unite against sexual violence in conflict.
Finally Joanne also has her own charitable trust called 'Volant', which supports organisations to fight social deprivation, especially for women and children. She has also supported 'Comic Relief', The Maggies, Centre for Cancer Care, and Doctors without Borders.
Anyone can see that JK Rowling is indeed a Wonderous Women, amazingly creative, and so very kind, generous and she is a total inspiration to anyone wishing to live their life in integrity and to it's fullest. Thank you.
Dolly Parton- Songwriter, Singer, Musician, Actress,Philanthropist.
Dolly was born January 19th, 1946, in Locust Ridge in the Tennessee Hills. She grew up where money was always an issue, as one of 12 children, but she was always surrounded by music & love. Her Father was a Tobacco share cropper and was also illiterate, something which would shape her future endeavours. She moved to Nashville after finishing high school to persue music, but she never forgot where she came from. In 1999, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
She is the star of many movies, the singer of huge hit songs & 100 albums & singles. Although talented, pretty & known for her warm personality, she is also an astute business women. She protected her publishing rights to her catalogue of songs, including "I will always love you", sung by Whitney Huston, earning her millions in royalties. As soon as she could, she started her own publishing company & got her own record label.
Thank goodness Dolly was so smart & kind, because out of this came the creation in 1986 of Dollywood, a theme park she opened in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It is still a popular tourist destination & has brought millions to Tennessee, as well as being the largest employer in the small town she once called home.
In the recent Tennessee bushfires, although many people lost their homes, the firefighters managed to save Dollywood. At first glance it would be easy to think, why would they do this, but by saving Dollywood, it saved the majority of the area's jobs & tourism which would allow them to rebuild quicker & better.
A known Philanthropist, Dolly established her own Dollywood Foundation in 1996. From this she started the "Dolly Imagination Library", a program which donates more than 10 Million books to local pre-school children, with the aim of improving literacy. Each registered child gets a book posted to them once a month, completely free of charge.
Dolly has also provided scholarships for local children, donated thousands to hospitals & provided technology & supplies for classrooms.
Dolly Parton is a truly Wonderous Women & is a very worthy first, of our recognised Philanthropists.
OLIVIA NEWTON -JOHN
Olivia Newton John was born in England and moved to Melbourne, Australia when she was six. She is a beautiful Singer and Songwriter and she has worked with the music greats in Europe, America and Australia, where she is considered a legend of Australian Music. She also had huge success as an Actor, of both Film and TV, with her major film fame rising from the hit musical Grease where she played the leading role of Sandy. She also made the soundtrack for the movie, which was at Number 1 in the USA for 12 non-consecutive weeks and also gave her 3 top number 5 singles!
However, Olivia Newton John was not just a multi-talented artist, she was also a passionate activist for nature and the environment, and in particular dolphins. This activism causing her to cancel a tour to Japan in 1978, until the Japanese government promised to work harder at protecting Dolphins from slaughter when caught in nets when fishing for Tuna.
However in 1992 Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she survived; but it had a lasting effect on the way she viewed life. She became an advocate for breast cancer research, and other health issues and it was the start of a change in her focus from her amazing musical talent, to include Philanthropy. She partnered with Austin Health, to create the Olivia Newton John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia. This centre provide much needed facilities for treatment, education, training and research.
In 2005 she donated the proceeds from the album 'Stronger than Before' to breast cancer prevention work. She raised over 2 Million, by leading a group of fellow cancer survivors, Celebrities and Olympians, on a trek along the Great Wall of China, the benefits which went towards building the Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne. She has also done fundraising for the American Red Cross, the Environmental Media Association, the Women's Guild of Cedar Sinai Medical Centre, the Rainforest Alliance and Concept Cure.
Olivia also launched 'Liv Aid', a breast self examination aid to assist women in early detection of breast cancer. Olivia has survived cancer and has been very blessed in her life, and she believes that as she has gotten older that giving back is the most natural thing to do. We thank you Olivia for being a extremely talented person with a big heart to help others, and we thank you for you work as a Wonderous Women.
Emma Watson was voted GQ Magazine's 2013 Women of the year at just the tender age of 27. She has also devoted a huge amount of time working for the greater good, and especially of late for the equality of women.
Emma first shot to fame for her leading role in the Harry Potter series of movies and her career in acting continues to soar. She does not however, like many young stars, waste her time on frivolous pursuits. Instead since she was a teen, she has chosen to take an active role in making the world a better place.
Emma was made a United Nations Woman Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2016, and has played a big role in promoting the 'HeForShe' campaign. This program works specifically with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for gender equality, as it is recognised as being a large contributing factor to assisting with extreme poverty throughout the world. The 'HeForShe' campaign also holds an Arts Week initiative, which aims at raising awareness and funding for gender equality, through the Arts. It is now in it's second year, with events taking place all over the world, from San Paul to Bangkok.
Emma in 2011, donated a signed book of Harry Potter, raising money for the 'Charity Shelter Box', who aid areas in need, due to tragedy and humanitarian crisis. Emma also donated a pair of designer Burberry heels to the 'Small Steps Project', who provides emergency aid to those living in poor conditions.
As a young woman, she is also still working on her Bachelor Degree at Brown University, as well as continuing on with her blossoming acting career. Some of the other charities she has also supported include, Great Ormond St Hospital, Millennium Promise, Sense, Small Steps Project and UNIFEM.
She has also gone with the charity group 'People Tree' to Bangladesh, to visit the slum homes of garment factory workers. She also visited Shallows, a Fair Trade producer, to see how the 'People Tree' clothing is made. Finally Emma endorsed the new Autumn /Winter Collection for them. Emma Watson was also nominated for the 2017 Women's Choice Award Show, in honour of International Women's Day, in the Spotlight Award.
Emma is a truely Wonderous young Women, and it is wonderful to be able to show that youth is no barrier to being able to make a genuine difference in this world!
TAYLOR SWIFT Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Actress, Philanthropist.
Taylor was born December 13, 1989 and she was raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, US. She moved to Nashville, Tennessee at age 14 to pursue her career in country music.
Taylor's achievements are too many to mention them all here, but in summary, she was the youngest artist ever signed by Sony/ATV Music. Her debut album 'eponymous' was in the charts for most of the year 2000, and her second album 'Fearless' was the best selling album of 2009 in the US, winning 4 Grammy awards as well as the youngest 'Album of the Year' winner. She later became the first women to win the 'Album of the Year' twice, for '1989', becoming the highest grossing of all time at $250 Million.
Taylor has received awards for her songwriting ability from both the 'Nashville Songwriters Association' and The 'Songwriters Hall of Fame'; won 10 Grammy Awards; holds 5 Guinness World Records; 1 Emmy Award; 23 Billboard Awards; 11 Country Music Association Awards; 8 Academy of Country Music Awards and 1 Brit Award.
Taylor is also one of the best selling artists of all time, having sold more than 40 Million albums, with 130 Million single downloads.
She describes herself as a songwriter, who uses her voice to get her story across. Although hugely talented, her business acumen has allowed herself to be listed in Times annual list of the '100 most influential people' in both 2010 and 2015! Also between 2011-2015, she was placed in the top 3 of Forbes 'Top earning women in Music' and in 2015 she became the youngest women EVER to be included in Forbes '1oo most powerful women' at number 64. In 2016 she was No.1 on Forbes annual list of 100 highest paid celebrities, with 170 million, also being in their top 10 for 2011,2013,and 2015!
With Taylor's net worth estimated to be $250 Million, it is nice to know that she is also a prolific Philanthropist, donating to a vast array of Disaster Relief efforts, to High School building improvements and a literacy program which donated 47,000 books to Libraries, Hospitals and Schools.
Taylor has also launched a campaign to protect children from online predators, with Tennessee Police Chiefs in 2007. She has also supported a number of health charities, including hearing impairment awareness and cancer.
For a 27 year old to have achieved everything Taylor has, using songs which are uniformly positive, is amazing; but to continue to present herself as a classy, intelligent, highly talented and caring young women, who is a role model to thousands around the world, is to be highly commended.
Taylor Swift, is certainly a Wonderous Women, and we are proud to include her as an amazing example of how youth is no restriction to achievement and to making an amazing difference in our world.
JILL REICHSTEIN Chair of the Reichstein Foundation, Mentor to many Australian women philanthropists, member of the Committee of Management for Changemakers Australia and has served on the boards of Melbourne Community Foundation, Foundation for Young Australians, community Support Fund- Community Advisory Council, Trust for Young Australians, Mietta Foundation, Koori Heritage Trust and Philanthropy Australia.
Jill Reichstein, is the only child of late Industrialist Lance Reichstein, who grew up in Toorak, Victoria, feeling self conscious about her families wealth. University educated in the UK and Melbourne, she found herself taking part in the anti-Vietnam War and ant-apartheid movements. Having worked in a women's refuge in Kew and the first community based half-way house, it was not long before Jill became passionate about the women's liberation movement.
At 25 upon her father's passing, she became a member of the board of trustee, of the Lance Reichstein Foundation; which had been established to go towards welfare and educational endeavours. Over the next 8 years the board was replaced by experienced women passionate about social change, and she eventually became the chair at age 35, paving the way for her to start some more ambitious projects.
In 1980, Jill established the Social Change Network, with members who believed that life should be more equitable. She was determined to change the impression of traditional philanthropy and philanthropists, setting out to educate women who may have inherited lots of wealth, but who may never have been taught how best to deal with solicitors and accountants or to manage their money. She was involved with 'Women in Philanthropy', bringing out Tracy Gary from the US to speak to the group, giving ideas for philanthropic activity. This important work helped women of means, to become active in addressing social issues of great concern.
Jill's, own Foundation was involved in many funding projects deemed high risk, which otherwise would have remained untouched by governments; including her training scheme through the Aboriginal Health service, training 27 people per year; a support group for Truckies wives and one for Aboriginal Youth. She also funded the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and the theatre group 'Somebodies Daughter', for former women prisoners. Her Foundation's priority funding goes to Indigenous people, disabled people, refugees and asylum seekers, the environment, human rights and the criminal justice system. Both her daughter and son are now members of the 4 women and 2 men Board.
We congratulate you Jill Reichstein, for your lifetime dedicated to helping others less fortunate than yourself and are proud to have you as our inaugural Australian Women Philanthropist, and being recognised as a truly Wonderous Women.