Women of the Future Ambassadors Programme


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Sixth Form


Year 12 girls were invited to take part in the Women of the Future Ambassadors Programme - a fantastic initiative where 100 award-winning female ambassadors are connected with 100 sixth-form girls in order to mentor, network with and encourage the next generation to be inspired and achieve great things.


The event was held at the Bloomberg City Gate House in Finsbury Square and, after a journey filled with anticipation, we arrived in plenty of time for a coffee in Starbucks before heading in!  The afternoon began with a welcome from TV reporter, Nejra Cehic (a GDST alumna), who opened the event, followed by two Lloyds Graduate Scheme Associates who spoke about their journey from school into the world of finance and the prospect of a graduate banking scheme.

One of the talks that stood out for me was by Suzie de Rohan Willner, CEO of TOAST and former CEO at Puma, Timberland and FitFlop.  She spoke about her time starting out as a receptionist in France to becoming a business specialist, working with smaller businesses to help them grow into larger, globalised brands.  Her speech was inspiring as she spoke about how she had overcome many obstacles in her life in order to achieve success. 

Later in the evening, after refreshments, there was a panel discussion where the question that we put forward as a school was chosen!  We asked whether the women felt that there was more pressure on them to work harder in order to achieve the same success as men in the same position, to which they responded by telling us to ‘speak loud and don’t give up.’

Before the networking began, we had the chance to listen to some more speakers, including the Head of Diversity at Bloomberg, Pamela Hutchinson, and Founder of the Women of the Future Programme, Pinky Lilani CBE DL.  Both women spoke with conviction and were extremely motivating, leaving us with this quote from Pamela Hutchinson, ‘You have two hands, one to reach for the stars and the other to bring another woman up with you…’


After the talks, we began the networking session with the ambassadors, each of us managing to speak to women from a range of different career paths, including CEOs, journalists, bankers and even the UN Communications Director! All of the women were friendly and gave us invaluable advice for the future, whilst some of them offered internships and opportunities to spend time at their companies. The wide variety of careers represented at the event was astounding and opened our eyes to other opportunities.

During the networking session, our school took part in the CV surgery where our CVs were critiqued by HR/CV specialists. This was definitely one of the most useful parts of the event as the advice we were given was invaluable, including tips on how a CV should be presented and the layout.

Overall, the event was a fantastic opportunity and we all left feeling empowered, inspired and motivated to become influential young women like the ambassadors. A selection of quotes follows which highlights what a great opportunity this was!

 

‘I enjoyed talking to such a diverse range of professional, strong and independent women and was inspired by their enthusiasm about our future.’

'The main highlight was the number of opportunities and, best of all, acknowledging the power of womanhood!’

‘The event made it clear how important networks are and how much you can achieve by learning from your community.’

‘The event made it clear how important networks are and how much you can achieve by learning from your community.’

 

 

by Poppy Treadaway, Year 12



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