At the Amy Gillett Foundation, we are surrounded by women that inspire us. These women have helped drive our cause and advocate safe cycling to all Australians. So today on International Women’s Day, here are some of the incredible women who uplift and inspire our team.
Amy Gillett (1976-2005) was an inspiring and dedicated individual. She won a gold medal at the Junior World Rowing Championships in 1993 and 1994. Amy was also a member of the women’s eight Olympic Rowing team in Atlanta. Amy took up cycling and represented Australia in the 2002 and 2003 Cycling World Cups. She was rated as one of the top 100 female road cyclists in 2005, whilst she was completing her PhD at the University of South Australia. Amy’s PhD research was dedicated to understanding how women react to life after sport, irrespective of their level, achievements and profile. Not only was Amy dedicated to her career, she was also dedicated to improving the sporting experience for other women! As a woman of many talents and passions, Amy’s legacy has inspired this foundation and many people across Australia!
We can’t talk about inspirational women and not mention the Chair of the AGF’s board, Lisa Jacobs. Not only is she an elite cyclist across disciplines, Lisa is also a decorated lawyer! Lisa has worked for law firms around the world and was also the Chair of the Cycling Australia Athletes Commission from 2013 to 2015. Lisa is a 3-time Australian National Cyclocross Champion and has represented Australia at the women’s Giro d’Italia road cycling event. Lisa is also currently the Executive Manager of Legal at REA Group Ltd and a mother of two children. Lisa is a hardworking woman that is dedicated to improving the sport of cycling and making cycling safe for all Australians.
While we are talking about incredible athletes and dedicated women, we must mention our Head of Philanthropy & Partnerships, Katie Brown. Katie was Amy Gillett’s teammate and was severely injured in the crash that took Amy’s life. However, Katie has never lost her passion and love for cycling, she went on to compete internationally after the crash and still cycles regularly today. Katie’s passion for cycling has led her to campaign for safe cycling for all Australians. Katie has also taken on coaching roles at the Sydney Metro Cycling Academy and was also the Community Fundraising Relationships Manager at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation. Katie has been a long standing advocate for safe cycling and an ambassador for the Amy Gillett Foundation prior to her becoming the Head of Philanthropy & Partnerships. Katie’s strength and endless passion for philanthropy and safe cycling has been a source of motivation for the AGF and cycling community.
Another highly regarded woman in the sporting and business community is Carmen Wearne. Carmen kick started her rowing career by becoming a Junior World Rowing bronze and silver medal winner in the early 1990s. Carmen then went on to compete around the world and won a gold and a silver medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. Aside from her rowing career, Carmen has taken the business world by storm. Carmen studied Marketing and Management at the University of South Australia then went on to complete her M.B.A in 2015. Carmen has had a range of senior positions including being Head of Business Development at the renowned law firm Ashurst. Carmen is currently a member of the Amy Gillett Foundation’s board of directors, and was on the Rowing Australia board of directors for 7 years. Carmen’s driven nature, as well as her expertise has allowed her to achieve some incredible things in the sport and business industries!
2021 olympian Grace Brown is another inspirational woman the AGF is proud to be associated with. Grace was the 2018 recipient of the Amy Gillett Foundation Scholarship and began advocating for safe cycling. Grace has many admirable achievements such as being name the AusCycling’s Female Road Cyclist of the Year in 2020, Australian National Time Trial Champion, and placing fourth at the Tokyo Olympics in the time trial event. Grace continues to advocate for cyclist safety and cycle for her team FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope in France.
The AGF is surrounded by strong women, and Sarah Giganti is a phenomenal example of this. Sarah was the 2018 Junior National Road Race Champion and went on to receive the 2019 Amy Gillett Foundation Scholarship. Also in 2019, won the elite women’s race at the Australian National Road Race Championships. Named by Bicycling Australia as the “Comeback Queen,” Sarah has undoubtedly shown her strength and resilience whilst overcoming a serious injury that was labelled as career ending in 2017. Not only is Sarah an inspiration on the bike, but also in the classroom. In 2018, Sarah received a perfect high school ATAR score of 99.95, which led her to receive the Chancellor’s Scholarship to Melbourne University. Sarah is currently studying a double-degree in linguistics and geography. Sarah is a phenomenal athlete, student and woman that embodies passion, determination and resilience.
Here at the AGF, there is one person that, across the board, everyone thinks of as an inspirational and admirable woman, and that is Amy Gillet’s mother, Mary Safe. Mary has been campaigning for safe cycling since Amy’s death. Mary and her husband Denis decided to take up cycling after Amy’s death and have found a level of peace and freedom many cyclists love about the sport. One of the most inspirational aspects about Mary is her ethos that; if you have a strong enough belief, you can turn something negative into something positive. Mary has been able to reach many students by sharing her story, and the safe roads message in schools across South Australia. Mary’s tireless efforts, campaigning, and advocacy is something that the AGF team is constantly inspired by. Even after 17 years, Mary is still a vocal advocate for safe cycling.
We would like to take a moment to also acknowledge a few more incredible women in our team. Ashleigh Marshall, recipient of the Amy Gillett Foundation Research Scholarship, is doing some incredible research as a part of her PhD to understand how national sporting organisations can maximise opportunities for elite female athletes who suddenly need to transition into a new career. Thank you also to our board members; Phoebe Dunn, Chantelle Pritchard and Dyane Hannan and our staff members; Amelia Cavanagh, Natasha Ryan, Jennifer Rivera-Gonzalez, Antonia Gausachs, Stevie Rae Brown, and Ella Grainger who all make a positive contribution to the Amy Gillett Foundation and inspire us.
There are many more admirable women that are a part of our community, and we’d love to honour them all. We are extremely proud and lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people that want safe cycling for all Australians.