Wednesday 7 March saw our second annual celebration of International Women’s Day, with a careers and networking event hosted in King George’s Hall. Attended by current and prospective Sixth Form students, as well as parents and staff, our inspirational panel of alumni shared their fascinating, and sometimes unorthodox, careers journeys, as well as personal experiences of equality in the workplace.
Olivia van Lieshot (2003), a Captain for EasyJet, talked about the responsibilities, and challenges, of taking charge of an aircraft in what remains a male-dominated industry. That said, EasyJet, along with other airlines, are working hard to promote aviation as a career of choice for women, and Olivia is actively engaged in this work through talks and events, as well as their Amy Johnson initiative.
Azaly Bunally (2014), a successful PR Executive, spoke of her decision not to attend university, as well as the challenges of choosing a different pathway to her peer group. Now working with market-leading brands at Ogilvy Public Relations, a part of the global advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, Azaly spoke passionately about the need to do what’s right for you, and not to feel under pressure to simply do what others expect.
Our speakers ranged in background from a Head Vet (Kylie Simons, 2003) to a Chief of Staff (Becky Hall, 2000), a Political Adviser (Sophia Morrell, 2003) to a Digital Media Editor (Sarah Raphael, 2005), a Senior Policy Officer (Eleanor Williams, 2009), to a TV Journalist and Documentary Maker (Carla Prater, 1999), and a Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (Annabel Middleton, 2011). However, the messages from each were consistent – believe in yourself and your capabilities, and always lean in to opportunity.
The world of work is changing rapidly, especially for women. Recent movements, such as the #metoo and #pressforprogress campaigns, mean that now more than ever the spotlight is on gender parity – and that can only be a good thing for our current Sixth Form students as they take a step closer to their future careers.
Visit the Gallery to view photos from the event.