Now in its third year, our Women and the Workplace panel discussion is a fantastic event designed to raise and discuss issues facing working women, and to offer valuable insights to our students as they start to think about their own career aspirations.
On Tuesday morning, we welcomed five Woldingham alumnae from the classes of 1988 through to 2009. Each panellist gave a short talk describing her career journey so far and then answered questions from our Lower Sixth students, who had enjoyed a fabulous breakfast in a conference-style setting in the Wilson Room. The quality of the questions, which were insightful and confidently posed, together with the diversity of experience and personality of our panel, made for fascinating answers.
One student asked "what was the most valuable thing that you took from Woldingham into the workplace?" Although our panellists had their own take on this, common themes were the cohesion that had helped them develop effective working relationships, confidence and communication skills. These qualities were on display among our Lower Sixth students, particularly the team of five students who introduced and facilitated the discussion with great flair.
Another great question was, "have you done something to make the workplace better for women?" One panellist, who initially thought she hadn't been working long enough to make a difference, gave a memorable answer to this: that she had found mentors who shared her values, women that she wanted to emulate, and now, in the same way, is trying to be that woman for those coming after her. This is both a great piece of advice for our students, and a key message to bear in mind when they take their place in the workplace.
It was an inspirational morning. We are very grateful to our alumnae who gave up their time to join us. For some of them, it had not been very long since they were sitting in the Wilson Room as students themselves. Perhaps in a few years, some of our Lower Sixth students will be sitting in their place as guests on the panel!
Mrs Bodil Chambers, Head of Careers and Higher Education