In August this year, we opened public nominations for our inaugural Front & Female Awards. The response was phenomenal and the amazing women brought to our attention truly inspiring. It was a challenge to whittle down the nominees, but below you will find the shortlist of the 20 individuals supporting and driving the progress of women, as demonstrated by launching or growing an initiative in the past 18 months with impact predominantly in Hong Kong.
On December 2 in a live ceremony, we will announce the six winners of the first Front & Female Awards taken from this list of nominees and identified with the help of our expert voting committee, which is comprised of some of the most influential female leaders in Hong Kong from sectors that span business, philanthropy and public service.
We spoke to our nominees ahead of the Awards to find out what inspires them, the challenges they have overcome, their advice for the next generation and what success means to them.
1. Libby Alexander
Libby Alexander is co-founder, CEO and the driving force behind Splash, which teaches under-resourced communities, particularly migrant domestic workers, how to swim. Its free programmes not only provide training that can save lives, but empower women and create community. Many of those who learn to swim with Splash—92 per cent of whom graduate from the programme—go on to become coaches within the organisation, while almost all have learnt to swim, float and be comfortable in water, taking away with them skills they can pass on to their families. This year, Splash launched a free Learn to Swim video series on YouTube to expand its reach.
Who inspires you?
Libby Alexander: Splashers are the obvious choice. There is such an enormous fear factor when learning how to swim and yet they put their heart and soul into this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. On top of that, they give so much back to Splash so that more people can learn. It is true that often those who have the least, give the most.
What impact do you want to make in the next five years?
LA: I want Splash to become a global organisation. There are over 4 billion people who don’t know how to swim. Splash is such a simple, effective model that can work anywhere. We haven’t invented anything new—we are just connecting the resources that already exist. Learning to swim is a life skill that keeps people safe, but, more importantly, it empowers and connects people.
What does success mean to you?
LA: In my mind, there is no better feeling than watching other people succeed and knowing you played a part in that. That is success for me.