In anticipation for PADI® Women’s Dive Day 2017, we asked you to nominate someone in your life that has proven to be a champion for women in diving for a chance to win prizes from GoPro and Aqua Lung.  From encouraging more women to start diving and being an influential figure in the community, to marine life protection and marine debris cleanups, we had the special opportunity of reading each and every one of your inspiring stories.

The Inspiring PADI Women contest winners were chosen based on our Four Pillars of Change: Ocean Health, Marine Animals, People + Community, and Healing + Wellness. With our network of PADI divers, PADI Instructors and PADI Dive Centers and Resorts around the world that share a common passion for the ocean, we aim to make a significant impact on key issues facing our oceans and our quality of life by forging partnerships with organizations that are making a positive impact on the ocean planet. Each of the winners of the contest below has dedicated their diving lifestyle to one of these four pillars, making a positive impact on the people and environment around them.


Ocean Health Winner: Maddie Kaufman

Entrant: Katy Roth

Maddie Kaufman inspiring PADI women contest winner

“Maddie’s a fearless, selfless, hilarious diver who deserves recognition for her inspiring work! She earned her B.S. in Marine Biology from the University of Miami, then began working at a dive shop on South Beach, where she quickly earned her Divemaster. As a part of the Rescue a Reef coral out-planting initiative, she is coordinating an expansion of the program with her shop to plant a threatened species of coral off of Miami Beach. When she’s not in the dive shop, she’s doing coral restoration research at the UM RSMAS and is an outreach coordinator for Debris Free Oceans.”


Marine Animals Winner: Kristen Favorito

Entrant: Alex Burden

Inspiring PADI Women contest winner marine animals

“This absolute champ of a diver is a true inspiration to both female and male divers across the board. Kristen’s personality outshines any others and her ability of companionship is second to none. Her passion for marine life and diving inspired me and she even helped introduce Project Aware to our volunteer camp in Mexico: raising money and awareness for sharkies. Today she is an incredible instructor that brings a smile to all female divers. This woman inspired me and has inspired others and will continue to do so. True Champion.”


Healing + Wellness Winner: Alison Smallwood

Entrant: Stacey Gill

“2 years ago I couldn’t swim and had a fear of water, my anxiety had held me back from living my life and enjoying adventure. When I met Alison she gave me the confidence, skills and capability to believe I could dive and not let my own anxiety ruin this! Her dynamic, supportive and passionate approach to teaching has inspired me beyond belief, to the point I’m now a rescue diver! Her love of the underwater world and the need to preserve this is incredible, a true prudent, professional and proud PADI diver!”


People + Community Winner: Jenny Jara

Entrant: Ethel Tornberg

jenny jara inspiring PADI women contest winner

“Jenny walked into the dive centre with 3 month old son, Hugo in a baby carrier in search of any job. She juggled being a single parent & a dive centre secretary while working her way up to PADI education until she became MSDT. 15 years & over 500 certifications later, she still continues to inspire & uplift locals in the community especially young girls & women with her success story. Everyday she shares her passion in diving & marine conservation with her students and divers from all over the world. Baby Hugo? He’s a young man now who is a Junior AOW diver & dreams of being a pilot.”

Thank you to all of the participants who gave a shout-out to these champions for women in diving! Don’t forget to find a PADI Women’s Dive Day event near you.

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