Meet the Girls Who Dare, three women rowing across the Pacific Ocean

  • Posted on June 2, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes
Meet the Girls Who Dare, three women rowing across the Pacific Ocean

Girls Who Dare (GWD) are a team of women who are focused on a shared desire to inspire others around the extraordinary being achievable. Earlier this week, June 1, they set off from San Francisco in the Great Pacific Race to row 2,400 nautical miles to Hawaii. What’s more? This group of novice rowers (they’ve never rowed professionally) are raising money for charities inspiring girls along the way, and they’re looking to break the world record for this distance: 62 days and 19 hours.

Avanade is sponsoring their voyage, which takes several different forms. The organization is supporting their journey financially, but we’re also bringing the best of what we’re good at – technological support. Avanade built the GWD “Journey Hub,” which will pull information on the journey like their progress, their route, the weather, and their biometrics.

How did Avanade, the leading digital innovator, come to sponsor this inspiring team of three women? When our CEO Pam Maynard heard about what they were doing, she immediately realized how much their motivation, strength and courage aligned with our values and purpose to make a genuine human impact. We, too, seek to inspire young women to achieve the extraordinary, like with our STEM Scholarship program.

Over the next two months, you can follow the Girls Who Dare journey through their website, social channels, and our upcoming podcast series. You can also support the charities they’re raising money for. Take a minute to get to know the Girls.

Vicki Anstey is a leading fitness expert and founder of London’s original Barre and Ballet studio, Barreworks. She was one of the first women to star in the British show reality quasi-military training show, “SAS: Who Dares Wins.” After the show, a woman asked Vicki if she wanted to row the ocean with her, and though Vicki has a fear of deep water, she was in a place where she wanted to say yes to everything. It has been a challenging road just to get to the start of this journey: Vicki’s original team didn’t go forward with their row, her second team’s race was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, and this is her third rowing team. She has run five marathons in different countries and participated in other grueling sporting events and is ready for this next challenge.

Jane Leonard has travelled and worked abroad and witnessed first-hand the injustices and lack of privilege that many women have to endure. She commanded respect in a largely male environment during a 10-year career in the Army and taken on every challenge presented to her, including representing her country playing rugby for England. From a young age, she has had a natural affinity for challenging perceived limits, and tells us she hasn’t run into anything with physical or mental demands that made her want to quit.

Orlagh Dempsey is a physical education teacher and a leading figure in developing youth sport culture in the United Arab Emirates. She played in the Dubai 7s for several years and was awarded the accolades Players Player of the Year and Seven's Player of the Year. After she moved to the UAE, she set up the first women's rugby team in Ras Al Kaimah, an area with very few options for women to participate in sport. She has worked tirelessly to inspire other young women to take up sport, both in a professional capacity and in her community.

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