Next Women of the Year 2015: featuring Frances and Catherine from Global Women

Congratulations to all the winners in the NEXT Woman of the Year Awards 2015 last week – two of which are members of Global Women, Catherine Mohr and Frances Valintine.

The six women were all described as “innovators and life-changers, visionaries and champions… every one living proof that passion and determination in out in the end.”

Claudia Batten was the overall winner and named NEXTWoman of the Year 2015. She’s a Kiwi success story serial entrepreneur who successfully created and sold two digital start-ups, Massive and Victor & Spoils.

What the judges said:

Louise Upston, Minster for Women, said: “Business is stitched into Claudia’s DNA – and the energy and enthusiasm with which she makes great ideas happen is beyond impressive. Claudia is an inspiration to anyone who’s ever thought ‘I could do that’.”

Geoff Ross, CEO of Moa Brewing Company and chairman of Trilogy said: “In business, a key measure has to be numbers. On sheer scale alone Claudia Batten is a clear winner. Her achievements stand out at a global level and now she is helping other Kiwi entrepreneurs hit the US market better prepared.”

The Woman of the Year category winners:

Category winner – Health & Science

Catherine Mohr, vice president of medical research at Intuitive Surgical.

What the judges said:

“From New Zealand to Silicon Valley is a path not many Kiwis get to walk, but Catherine has blazed a trail in the male-dominated world of surgical robotics. Her work appeared to us like a mix of super-surgery with a bit Iron Man thrown in! She’s a real role model and proof Kiwi women can do anything.”

Category Winner: Education

Frances Valintine, founder and chair of the Mind Lab by Unitec, labs to empower school students to use creative technologies to learn.

What the judges said:

“Frances has brought the world of science and technology alive for hundreds of Kiwi children and her commitment to innovative learning is to be applauded. The Mind Lab has leaped ahead of the stock standard curriculum, and brings innovation to tomorrow’s influencers. It will ultimately create more skill and talent for our country. People are our greatest asset, and Mind Lab can build a rich asset.”

Category Winner – Sport

Marcia Petley: She has been a Board member for New Zealand Masters athletics since 1994 and has represented New Zealand Masters at the World Masters Athletics Congress held every two years.

What the judges said:

“Marcia has rewritten the book on the importance of keeping active in later years. Nothing stands between this amazing woman and success. There is that saying ‘Life is a marathon, not a sprint’. Marcia is in the lead.”

Category Winner – Art & Culture

Fiona Samuel, Director, writer and actor

What the judges said:

“Fiona’s words dance on the page. She’s carved out a stellar career in a tough field and is a reminder to always hold onto our dreams. Our country needs great storytellers; it’s important to remind us who we are. The Marching Girls was so us. The Louise Nicholas Story was so brave. Storytelling for the small screen, big screen and the stage is tough. Yet her persistence in this field has meant we get to share and live among richer, more real stories.”

Category Winner – Community

Ruth Money, Volunteer advocate, helping hundreds of crime victims to navigate their way through the gruelling justice system.

What the judges said:

“Selfless, determined, persistent: these are just some of the adjectives that attach themselves to Ruth. There is a comment in her bio, from a colleague, that reads ‘The world needs more Ruths’. So true. In probably the toughest area of community life she stands up, she fights and she makes it better for all of us. When our system fails us, there comes some restoration in faith in humankind, from Ruth.’