InnovaBuzz #103 – Stephanie Lorenzo, Project Futures Founder

Stephanie Lorenzo, Founder of Project Futures

Stephanie Lorenzo, Founder of Project Futures

In this episode, I’m privileged to welcome to the InnovaBuzz podcast Stephanie Lorenzo, the founder of Project Futures, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending human trafficking.

Stephanie started Project Futures 8 years ago after she read the memoir of International Human Rights Activist Somaly Mam. She learned from the memoir that Mam had been sold into sexual slavery, and Mam worked to help other young women after she escaped.

The Project Futures community is now raising  $1 million a year for anti-trafficking projects in the Asia Pacific region.

Anthony Howard of the Confidere Group on Episode 99 recommended we interview Stephanie, so here we are.

Stephanie tells us about the launch of Project Futures and how to know when it’s time for the founder to exit a business.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Millenials care about making a difference and giving back.  That is a key part of their life purpose. It's one way to tap into their loyalty. @steph_lorenzo on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

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Show Notes from this episode with Stephanie Lorenzo:

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • Project Future’s mission is to empower individuals to take action against exploitation and human trafficking of men, women, and children. They do this by hosting events and conferences so people are aware of what is going on. They help fund organisations that support victims in their locations.
  • Projects Futures all started many years ago when Stephanie picked up and read a book, “The Road of Lost Innocence,” while in Cambodia. The books talk about the memoir of International Human Rights Activist Somaly Mam.
  • Stephanie started a bike riding event to raise money, with the idea that it would be a one-off, but this has since grown to the organisation that Project Futures is today.
  • A key to the success of the first event was to talk to the right audience.
  • Charity seems to be pushed on people and Project Futures wanted to make charity that young people want to do, as opposed to “needing” to do it. They don’t want people to guilt people into caring.  They want people to enjoy caring and giving.  Combining having fun with contribution and making a difference.
  • Millenials care about making a difference and giving back.  That is a key part of their life purpose. It’s one way to tap into their loyalty.  This is something that employers of young people need to consider. Typically, their attitude is “Anything is possible. We can make it happen. It just needs the will.”
  • Growing an organisation from nothing quickly requires strong leadership, open communication and getting everyone aligned with the core purpose.
  • With any organization, whether big or small, there have to be tangible and visible results people can see to keep them motivated.  People want to know and care about their contribution.
  • Company founders need to know when it’s time to let go and move on – at some point it grows beyond them. The people who are best to start up an organisation and who scale an organisation are often two different people.
If you don't ask, you don't get! Ask for forgiveness, not permission! Make it happen. @steph_lorenzo on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Stephanie Lorenzo’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.

  • #1 thing to be more innovative – Be curious and interested in the world around their cause and keep up to date.
  • Best thing for new ideas – Get people around you and do brainstorming.  Have fun!
  • Favourite tool for innovation – Having conversations around goals, challenges, and issues in structured and facilitated meetings.
  • Keep project / client on track – I’m a fan of a paper diary and post it notes. Break big goals down into manageable milestones. If you do have a management system, it needs to be used!
  • Differentiate – Be authentic and consistent. Don’t just go with the flow. Don’t just do what everyone else is doing. Be authentic, even if it takes longer.

To Be a Leader

Look at your values and what cause you are driven to support, whether that is a charity or other cause and make that a part of your overall business strategy. Be focused and holistic with it.

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Stephanie Lorenzo via her LinkedIn page, or email

Suggested Guest

Stephanie suggested I interview Annabelle Chauncy, the Founding Director, and CEO at School for Life Foundation, on a future InnovaBuzz podcast.

So Annabelle, keep an eye on your inbox, for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Stephanie Lorenzo.

Links and Books


Cool things about Stephanie:

  • Her background is in marketing and communication.
  • She was born in the Philippines and grew up in Australia
  • She has presented TED talks.
Everything you do should be aligned: Mission - Purpose - Strategy - Execution - People @steph_lorenzo on #InnovaBuzz Click To Tweet

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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