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YOUNG SUCCESS STORIES
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Published: May 01, 2009

40 Under 40 Web extra



STEPHANIE POLLARO and WENDY HICKS
Co-founders of International Sanctuary

Stephanie Pollaro (right) and Wendy Hicks (below) have dedicated their lives to saving the lives of countless young women and girls who have suffered from the bonds of sexual slavery in India. Their nonprofit, International Sanctuary, has rescued some girls as young as 5 from such abuse. Pollaro works on the front lines in India, while Hicks oversees operations from Orange County.


STEPHANIE POLLARO
President and founder

Most important lesson learned:
Facing obstacles doesn’t discredit what you’re trying to accomplish. It just means you have to work to get beyond those challenges, and in the end it makes you stronger.

Next big step:
In June, I’m coming home for several months. I’m looking forward to meeting all the volunteers who are making iSanctuary possible. And I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to start working with survivors of sex trafficking here in the U.S.

Advice for other young professionals:
Don’t let the specific logistics of your dreams stop you. When people say, “You’re so brave,” I say, “No, I’m just stupid.” If I had actually weighed the costs and thought about the consequences, I never would’ve done it. It’s important to have a plan, but don’t let the planning prevent you from moving forward.

What you do for fun:
A good dinner that I’ve prepared for good friends, and a good bottle of wine

If you could have dinner with anyone – alive or dead – who would it be and why?
Baz Luhrmann and his wife, Catherine Martin, because they are the most brilliant, creative and innovative people. I would love to know how they have these absolutely amazing ideas for film and bring them to life in such a vivid way.


WENDY HICKS
Co-founder

Most important lesson learned:
Continue to have faith even when life’s circumstances have failed you.

Next big step:
I will be spending August in India working with the girls we serve. I can’t wait to see them again and meet some of the new girls. It’s difficult to be so far removed from them since my focus is U.S. operations.

Advice for other young professionals:
If you’re committed to what you want to accomplish, you have to be willing to take risks, make sacrifices and persevere. Don’t sacrifice your dreams for a safe and secure life.

What you do for fun:
Hang out with my five favorite men in my life: my nephews, ages 11/2, 2, 4, 7 and 10.

If you could have dinner with anyone – alive or dead – who would it be and why?
Johnny Depp. Why not? I’ve always been a fan. Sorry, Brad!



OC METRO'S 40 UNDER 40

Anthony Ferry & Tim Marshall  |  Albert Ko  |  Sarina Jain
Ryan Rasmussen  & Matthew Marsh  |  Laynie Newsome
Jeremy Yamaguchi  |  Rib Hillis  |  Allyson Ames
Steve West  |  Zach Lyons  |  Darlynn Morgan  |  Ryan Farrelly
Ben Byassee  |  Heather Shelton  |  Jerry Mason
Brandon Hall, Tom Leahy & Jake Kloberdanz  |  Nichole Carroll
Taite Bergin Michael Carroll  |  Ryan Steelberg  |  Scott Graham
Heidi Steele  |  Robert Pagliarini  |  Ari Benowitz  |  Scott Nguyen
Jennifer Backhaus  |  Jason Koch & Newt Morris IV
Steve Economos  |  Michael Avenatti  |  Anthony Dever
Wendy Hicks & Stephanie Pollaro  |  Martin Pupil  |  Timothy Young
Jennifer Sinclair  |  Terence Nelson  |  Autumn Strier  |  Scott Cross
Todd Henderson  |  Jesse Ohayon  |  Tim Timmons

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