Stephanie Lorenzo - Being Better, Doing Better
Meet the amazing and delightful Stephanie Lorenzo, Founder and CEO of Project Futures.
Stephanie is at the forefront in the fight against human trafficking, the third largest criminal activity, behind arms and drugs, in the world. According to the Global Slavery Index there are 45.8 million people enslaved worldwide and according to the International Labour Organisation it’s worth an estimated $150 billion to traffickers (sex trafficking makes up two thirds).
Meeting Stephanie is a humbling experience. She’s bright, passionate, vibrant and extremely modest about the millions she’s raised over the last 10 years to help raise awareness and end human trafficking.
Stephanie was born in the Philippines, but grew up in Sydney Australia, with a background in communications and marketing, she’s always felt that her life purpose is to be of service to others.
“I always thought that I would just climb the corporate ladder in marketing, get a great salary, be some big executive at some advertising or PR firm or something”
It was on a holiday that she read a book written by a sex trafficking victim and from that point forward all the things that money could buy faded and she began a journey to raise awareness and help victims.
Steph acknowledges that not everyone can run a successful NGO and give back in the way that she has but, she says that the simple things in life are often free and anyone can do them.
Just being a good person and helping people, living a life that’s not full of material things, but full of compassion, purpose and good friendships and relationships will drive you to become better and do better things with your life.
“I am grateful for the opportunity that Project Futures has given me to give back and support people that are way more vulnerable, that don’t have the kind of privilege, knowledge or power that we often take for granted in the western world”
Although a capitalist at heart, Steph runs an NGO like a well oiled business to ensure a sustainable and long presence, “if more NGO’s were to be run like commercial businesses we could solve more of the world’s biggest problems.”.
If you think about the money that traffickers make (running into the billions) you can understand why Steph wants more business-minded people operating in the NGO sector, traffickers themselves are running their operations like businesses and it will take significant funding to solve the global and social issues trafficking creates.
Steph credits her glass-half-full mindset and strong belief that when you put yourself out there and go after what you want the world responds and helps.
“Your ability to overcome challenges is something that’s so necessary…….. I think if you want to do the best you can and it’s not to say you can’t be upset or negative about something or have had a bad day, you can absolutely have those things but always, you have to have the mindset that the glass is half full”
Maintaining positivity and understanding that there is always two sides to every coin is something she’s had work on but it’s so important to success and when she’s dealing with a subject which draws you into a negative and dark world it’s this mindset that has kept her strong and on track.
Having a deep sense of compassion and understanding that other people need support even if you’re not facing those problems yourself, can inspire confidence in you to make a difference.
Project Futures has helped everyday people to see that supporting humanity and helping them to overcome adversity, challenges, and horrendous things other humans have inflicted upon them can and will empower and fulfil you in a way you never expected.
As you would expect Stephanie’s hopes for the future involve encouraging others to do something positive for another person. She believes that if everyone thought about others and their impact every day then the world will be a much better place.
Learn more about the work Stephanie is doing with Project Futures here.