Former Gerringong woman Kimberley Abbott is one of six set to inspire at next week’s Shoalhaven Women’s Conference.
At 26, Ms Abbott is the keynote speaker and has already established a reputation as a young leader, entrepreneur, and inspirational change maker.
She has a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Science, and completed a thesis where she helped develop the world’s most advanced artificial heart.
But it was in 2012 on a trip to India when Kimberley founded ‘Roka’, an award-winning social enterprise developed to break the cycle of poverty in rural India through economic empowerment of women and education.
The business model of Roka not only lifted families in India out of poverty, but it also empowered young Australians to be a part of social change by training them to address social issues with their business and entrepreneurial skills.
“As the cliche goes, I got to India and it changed the way I think,” she said.
“Charity isn’t the answer to solve the problem, unsustainable and inefficient. There’s over a millions charities registered just to try and combat poverty and we still have this issue.
“My ethos is centred around using a business model, it’s not about having social change as an additional extra, it has to be integrated into the way we live.”
Ms Abbott is particularly passionate about the potential young people have to solve social problems and said it was her hometown that got her started.
“I believe growing up on the South Coast in Gerringong played a huge part in my experiences because when you grow up in a place where people are so supportive, it makes a huge difference,” she said.
“I was never told I couldn’t do anything, I wasn’t told I could be an engineer because I was a girl, I wasn’t told I couldn’t play cricket because I was a girl so I’m grateful for my hometown.”
Ms Abbott will be joined by Kirsty Higgison, Jean Dally, Sarah Taylor, Lisa Burling and Kim Nangle.
The Shoalhaven Women’s Conference is a not-for-profit organisation that provides encouragement to women of the Shoalhaven and gives back through donations to various charity and the Shoalhaven Education Fund.
The conference will be held at Bomaderry Bowling Club, Thursday, May 5 from 9am to 3pm. Tickets are $70. Contact the Shoalhaven Business Chamber 4423 3582 or email@example.com.
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