The Maiden Factor Blog

Maiden is a Global Ambassador for the Empowerment of Girls through Education

Kirsten, Lottie, Shealin and Theresa: meet Maiden’s new milebuilders!

Four crew stand at the helm of Maiden in red shirts. They're smiling. The city is behind.
The four new mile builders at Maiden’s helm. How long will it be before they’re skippering? ©THE MAIDEN FACTOR/MACK EDWARDS-MAIR

Kirsten Williams

Born and raised in Alaska, USA, Kirsten, 25, grew up cruising the flourishing coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest. She studied Natural Resources Management and complemented her studies with marine ecology classes. Upon graduation, Kirsten followed her “sailing in warm water” dreams to Greece, where she earned RYA Sailing qualifications. After a period of working in the public legal sector, she was called back to the sea; this time to Washington state. She worked as a Sailor and Marine Science Educator for Salish Sea Expeditions, a non-profit which inspires youth to connect with the marine environment. Passionate about ocean health and stewardship, she will begin law school in the fall of 2019 to study Environmental Law and Policy.

A headshot of Kirsten, in a red t-shirt. She has brown hair and is smiling.

Kirsten believes the myriad of challenges humanity faces in the 21st century will only be solved once all citizens, especially women, gain access to the knowledge and skills only a fraction of us are fortunate enough to obtain. She is thrilled to join Maiden not only to expand on her personal sailing goals, but also to have the opportunity of supporting Maiden Factor’s philosophy of empowerment and education of women and girls around the world.

Lottie Small

At the age of 16 Lottie started sailing with the Rona Sailing project based on the Hamble. This has now led her to become a watch leader within the project, where she enjoys assisting the next generation of sailors in their personal development.

Due the project giving Lottie a love for the ocean, she began studying Navigation and Maritime Science at the University of Plymouth in 2018 where she is working towards a role as a professional seafarer. Alongside her studies she is the Training Officer for the Yacht Club where her role is to encourage students of all abilities to take to the water.

She is also an active member of the British Keelboat Academy where she improves personal sailing skills and opportunities through participating in various events.

A headshot of Lottie, in a red t-shirt. She has blonde hair tied back and is smiling.

Her first experience of offshore sailing was the 2017 Tall Ships Races where Lottie sailed the eastcoast of Canada with a group of young people. As a result of this, Lottie has continued to participate in a variety of races both within the UK and Europe. (Including the round the island and the Morgan Cup), with her ultimate goal to participate in a race circumnavigating the globe.

By using her opportunity to sail onboard Maiden, Lottie hopes to further her ocean going skills, whilst at the same time promoting the values and benefits of female education and the opportunities it can create for young girls who aspire to achieve their dreams, which hard work, study and commitment can bring.

Shealin Johnson

Shealin’s earliest memories are taking trips to Catalina with her family, and she always loved being on the water as a young girl. After taking a short college sailing course, she was asked to join the University of Hawaii Sailing team. She then sailed with “UH at SEA”, a tall ship research 30 day sail to the North Western Hawaiian Islands. With an equivalent interest in teaching, she became a lead sailing coach for the Marine Corps Base Kaneohe.  She continued into her Masters degree as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and worked for a tall ship experiential recovery program for teens. 

A headshot of Shealin, in a red t-shirt. She has light hair tied in a long plait.

Shealin travels the world by bareboat, in the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, and Greece. She loves learning, and has received her Captain’s License, a US Sailing Instructor & Adaptive Sailing Instructor Certificate, and the RYA Day Skipper Certificate.  Shealin currently is the Sailing Director for Hawaii Kai Boat Club, and pursues her therapy license with dreams to have a private practice Sailing Therapy Program. In her own sailing journey, she has experienced the male dominated sailing community, and this has fueled her drive to join the Maiden team in inspiring growth and confidence in female sailors. She is excited to accomplish her life goal in crossing the Pacific ocean on the Honolulu Vancouver leg.

Theresa Riedl

Theresa, 26, did not grow up by the ocean but felt an intense calling for it ever since she can remember. She was determined to become a sailor through every opportunity she got.

In university, Theresa enrolled in a month-long study abroad sailing and leadership program in the Caribbean. She sailed 1050 nm and gained her IYT (International Yacht Training) certificates.

During her time in New Zealand, Theresa volunteered at the New Zealand Sailing Trust on weekends. Through this she got to help sail the Whitbread Round the World yachts Steinlager 2 and Lion New Zealand. She also volunteered at the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race Auckland stopover and was inspired by offshore sailing ever since.

A headshot of Kirsten, in a red t-shirt. She has dark hair and sunglasses on her head. She's smiling.

In 2017, Theresa worked as a Guest Manager for a sailing holiday company in the Mediterranean. One of her favorite memories that summer was the delivery sail from Croatia to Sicily.

Currently based in Vancouver and working in sport marketing while sailing locally, Theresa hopes to gain her Yachtmaster and help empower young women through sailing as it did to her. Theresa is very excited to sail aboard Maiden and believes that this opportunity will greatly help her reach her goals.