She made her own way in the horse world as an award-winning professional Grand Prix show jumper, author and philanthropist. While earning numerous prizes, including gold medals at the North American Young Rider Championships, the Maxine Beard Award and several World Equestrian Festival Challenge Cups, she also got involved in the equestrian world as a humane activist, helping young riders, horse rescue organizations and therapeutic riding facilities. Her tireless commitment to animal welfare organizations and the hours spent at horse training follows in what she once said : “ For me, it’s not about never falling – it’s getting up and riding again. ” Georgina ardently works with the Humane Society of the United States, she recently joined the board of Animal Aid of the United States, and she served as a board member of the Equestrian Aid Foundation, which provides support to riders, trainers, grooms, farriers and other professionals for medical expenses. In 2006, she founded her own charity, “ The Rider's Closet ”, with the purpose of making riding clothes more accessible to those attending therapeutic riding schools.
Her strong passion for equestrian sports led her to write a series of four books inspired by riding. Australian jockey Michelle Payne inspired a nation and women all over the world when she won the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup in 2015, making her the first woman to do so in the Cup’s 155-year history. Aboard 100-1 shot Prince Of Penzance, Michelle made a statement that would resonate with an entire generation : “ Women can do anything, and we can beat the world. ” Her honesty in victory will be the legacy of the determined and talented young jockey. Michelle began race riding as a 15-year-old girl, and nine years later she would combine with the legendary trainer Bart Cummings to win the David Jones Toorak Handicap at Caulfield Racecourse aboard Allez Wonder, which was her first Group 1 success. It would be the first of many, and during a stellar 2010/2011 season, Michelle rode Yosei to victory in three Group 1s : the Inglis Sires’ Produce Stakes on Derby Day at Royal Randwick Racecourse, the Schweppes Thousand Guineas at Caulfield, and the Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
Having gained national fame after her historical Melbourne Cup victory, Michelle took the opportunity to raise awareness about the difficulties encountered by women in a sports discipline dominated by men. Her career path hasn’t been without difficulties, as she suffered serious race falls and injuries, including brain trauma, broken vertebrae and damaged organs. She has overcome all setbacks, making a successful return to the saddle in 2016, this time holding a dual-trainer jockey license and becoming the first to train and ride a winner in Australia.
As part of a big year, she assumed the role of Patron of the National Jockeys Trust to help fallen and injured jockeys, and she accepted the greatest sporting award in Australia, the Don Award, at the Sport Australia Hall of Fame awards in recognition of her achievements that inspired a whole nation. Canadian businesswoman, former cabinet minister and philanthropist, The Honourable Belinda Stronach, P.C. is also known in the horse racing industry as the Co-Founder, Chairman and President of The Stronach Group, an industry leader in world-class horse racing, entertainment and pari-mutuel wagering technology.
In 2010, she resigned her position as Executive Vice-Chairman and board member at Magna International Inc., thus leaving behind the automotive business to focus on a different kind of horsepower. Her ambition is to modernize the sport of Thoroughbred racing and engage a new generation of fans by embracing technology and social media ; creating innovative events such as the $ 16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational, which is the world’s richest horse race; and by providing superior guest experiences at all of The Stronach Group properties. Having been recognized as one of the world’s most powerful women by the World Economic Forum, Fortune Magazine and Time Magazine, to name a few, this visionary leader extended her influence to politics by serving as a Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons from 2004 to 2008, holding such prominent cabinet positions as Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and Minister responsible for Democratic Renewal.
While strongly committed to public life, she is equally committed to social change. In 2008, she founded The Belinda Stronach Foundation with the mission to develop socially innovative programs to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges, including malaria, education and the empowerment of girls and women. Stronach’s impressive life achievements have been honoured and recognized many times, including Canada's “ Top 40 Under 40 ” award, three honourary doctorates of laws (McMaster University in 2003, Brock University in 2009 and the University of Windsor in 2011), the Paul Harris Fellow Award (one of Rotary’s highest honours), and the Beth Sholom Humanitarian Award (one of Canada’s oldest and most distinguished awards). Says Stronach of her achievements : “ I was once called a disruptor. I think that’s one of the best compliments I have ever received. ” Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice President and Head of International Marketing for Longines, welcomed the choice of recipients of the Longines Ladies Awards 2017. He paid tribute to their selflessness and great dedication to their favourite sports. An inspiration to us all, these women are the perfect example of elegance and, in particular, elegance of the heart, something which is very precious to the Swiss watch brand.