A Cup of Chai With – Stephanie Woollard OAM from Seven Women



Stephanie Woollard began Seven Women at age 22 after meeting seven disabled women working in a tin shed in Kathmandu. These seven women were struggling to make a living in the face of harsh discrimination. With her last $200, Steph paid for trainers to teach the women how to produce products for sale locally and abroad – and Seven Women was born.

We've read the story how you started Seven Women 12 years ago, what is the biggest learning for you personally?

To pursue your passion and dreams however big they may be and believe in yourself. Many of us start on this journey feeling like we don't have enough skills, know how, knowledge. It's all an illusion - all we need is the passion and to take the first step – life will help us achieve the rest and make the next steps clear to us.

With goals that contribute to the greater good, life will step in and help you achieve them.

So my learning has been just to start and knowing you don't have to have all the answers. Plans evolve over time and if you are on the right track and living your purpose, it will unfold in perfect timing.

What is a piece of advice you would give to 22 year old ladies Stephanie?

Don't entertain imposter syndrome. Do not follow rules that do not make sense. They have been created by people and can be changed by people. Set your own rules and live to the beat of your own drum.

No one knows everything about everything. Each person has something unique to contribute to our world. Follow the path that brings you the most joy and the rest will fall into place. (and even the challenges will not feel like challenges)

What / who inspires you the most?

People who are 100% themselves and courageously speak their mind, especially when speaking up against injustice despite it not being the popular or commonly accepted option.

What do you do when you feel down? Do you have any routines?

Get active- get out and smell the roses, go for a walk, hang out with friends who are positive and know me.

Movies I find are also good to snap you out of your current mindset and shift your thinking - by allowing you to step outside your own reality and into another for a few hours.

Also writing down successes in the past month and switching into the gratitude mindset. Sometimes we need reminders.

Strange things about you?

I love dolphins and my first fundraiser ever was in year 10 at Ivanhoe girls grammar and I asked all my friends to bake a cake to raise money to sponsor two dolphins from the dolphin research institute with the profits.

Your wildest dream?

To create a global network of movers and shakers that can shine light on the path for others and create opportunities for those wanting to make a difference to take the first steps.

Where can people find you outside of work?

At Irish pubs listening to beautiful Irish music! 

For more info, check out:

Seven Women

Hands on Development

Empowering marginalised women in Nepal through skills training, employment and education." See the trailer to our documentary by clicking here