So sailing for me is all about just testing myself overcoming these challenges.
You have to harness the wind to get from point A to point B, and you've got to figure it out and make these repairs and make the boat get across an ocean all on your own, and I just love that challenge.
The more I sail, the more I want to sail.
Hi, my name is Lisa Blair. I'm an ocean sailor/adventurer.
I do a lot of keynote speaking, I teach sailing, and I just published my first book.
I'm the proud holder of three world records. I set the first one in 2017.
I'm heading off at the end of this year to set the non-stop solo and unassisted world record sailing around Antarctica with the intention of breaking the overall speed record.
The boat is wrapped in hundreds and hundreds of community voices and what I've done is I've gone out to members in our community and have asked for you to fill out a post-it note message, and each post-it note is an environmental action on something that you're already doing in our communities, and with those actions, we correlated them all together, turned them into the design that you see behind me and then wrapped my entire 50-foot yacht in this community voice.
So in high school, I was quite heavily bullied, and that led to me sort of hiding out at lunchtime in the art studio, and just sort of isolating myself a little bit but immersing myself in this culture of art and that led to me eventually enrolling in Southern Cross University as a Bachelor of Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Education.
Uni was a really great time in my life for me to be able to expand and grow into the person I wanted to be.
At Southern Cross University, you're not just another number, you're really part of that community and for me, that was just an incredible opportunity to meet the right network of people.
From problem-solving to public speaking to just documenting the projects and being able to interact with sponsors, a lot of those skills were founded originally at Southern Cross University.
My sailing is less about just being a single girl on a boat sailing around Antarctica or anywhere else and it's more about carrying this community voice with me and inspiring this positive change.
We have the power to create change it just starts with one small action.
Alumnus of the Year Lisa Blair is a triple sailing world record holder on a mission to take community action on climate change around the world with her.
Lisa set her first world record in 2017 when she sailed solo around Antarctica with one stop. She continued to set new records when she sailed solo non-stop and unassisted around Australia, becoming the fastest monohull to do the trip and the first woman in history to complete the voyage.
She is about to set sail for Antarctica where she is seeking to break yet another world record, circumnavigating the icy continent at record speed.
“Sailing for me is all about just testing myself and overcoming these challenges. You have to harness the wind to get from point A to point B and you've got to figure it out and make these repairs and make the boat get across an ocean all on your own and I just love that challenge. The more I sail the more I want to sail,” she said.
She describes herself as an ocean sailor, adventurer, keynote speaker, sailing teacher and published writer.
Graduating with a Bachelor of Visual Art and Bachelor of Education from Southern Cross University, Lisa has a talent for combining creativity with an engaging, educational message. Her 50-foot yacht is wrapped in a colourful design of post-it note messages from the community about environmental action.
“I did an Art degree so I want to make sure that everything I do in life is still fun, playful and colourful. When I first purchased my yacht, which is called Climate Action Now, I designed this post-it note campaign which includes messages from people in the community about things they’re doing for the environment to work towards a better future. I collated all of these and we turned it into this colourful design, so behind me is actually the community’s voice,” Lisa said.
“The goal is to inspire individuals that we have the power to create change, it just starts with one small action,” she said.
After experiencing bullying at high school, Lisa said her time at Southern Cross University provided her with an incredible opportunity to meet a supportive network of people.
“At Southern Cross University you're not just another number, you're really part of that community. My friends at uni all helped me grow into the person I am today and without that experience, I don't think I would be sitting here accepting this award or having set three world records,” she said.
“For me now my sailing is less about just being a single girl on a boat sailing around Antarctica or anywhere else. It's about carrying this community voice with me and inspiring positive change.”
The Southern Cross University Alumni Network
Alumni Impact Award recipients
Young Alumnus of the Year
Nic is the CEO of Batyr, a not-for-profit youth mental health organisation. He is striving to reduce the stigma around mental ill-health and provide young people with the support they need.
International Alumnus of the Year
International Alumnus of the Year Neelkamal Darbari has created a lasting impact in the lives of individuals, communities and industries across India, dedicating almost 35 years of service to the Government of India and State Government of Rajasthan.
Early Career Alumnus of the Year
Dr Cooper Schouten
Dr Cooper Schouten is an environmental science and PhD graduate and professional beekeeper. He manages dozens of projects in the Indo-Pacific region for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, and is also the project manager for the University’s Bees for Sustainable Livelihoods research group.
Community Impact Award
Hank and Sue Bower
Hank and Sue Bower have been managing pest and weed eradication programs on Lord Howe Island for the past 14 years. Their work has sparked an 'ecological renaissance' on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed island and a model of how a fragile environment can be successfully managed to ensure it thrives for generations to come.