← Back to news

Zara Torre wows at Speech Night

This year we were thrilled inaugural winner of the Molly Riley RISE Award, Zara Torre (Kuriyan ’99), could share her experiences and advice as the guest speaker at Speech Night. Zara is a law graduate, practising dentist, and has completed a Masters in Public Health with a particular interest in health economics addressing social disadvantage. She has spent most of her life considering what is the best way for people to give back and living by the mantra “if it is within my power to help someone, I will do it. I say yes.” Saying yes became the framework of Zara’s speech and a reminder that everyone has the ability to action change and are only constrained by the limits of their dreams.  

Since leaving St Mary’s, Zara has been involved in public health interventions; she has fundraised to provide a mobile medical unit in regional India; provided free antibiotics, free dental treatment and medical treatment to over 1200 people in Phnom Penh; and next year she will be joining Mercy Ships, an organisation that performs surgeries on those experiencing great need and extreme poverty in port cities along the coast of Africa.

Her passion ‘to say yes’ and drive to make a difference has led Zara to develop a digital platform and mobile app which allows you to ‘round-up’ your spare change from any transaction to make a difference to causes you care about. ‘The Difference’ will launch early in 2020. She said “Imagine if everything you bought you could, in the background, round up a few cents and collectively channel billions of dollars to sustainable development projects worldwide. It’s such a simple concept.”  

With so many accomplishments already under her belt, it was a revelation for many in the audience that despite Zara’s successes after leaving St Mary’s, she had not received any awards at Speech Night as a student. She challenged students who were thinking Speech Night was not for them “If you think that you are not going to be the one that creates something new, I’m here to tell you otherwise. If not you, then whom? If not now, when?”

Zara’s final comment was a reminder to the girls to: “Follow those passions, stay curious in the systems at play, at the technology around us, and our own role in shaping and changing the world. Your lives have meaning beyond what we are doing because every moment is a chance to do something that is positive and has a purpose. 

Just. Say. Yes.”