Our fourth annual Women and the Workplace breakfast was once again a fantastic success, enjoyed by Lower Sixth students and guests alike. The event is 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.
Four Woldingham alumnae, from the classes of 1997 and 2006, and recent graduates at the start of their careers from the classes of 2014 and 2015, joined us as panellists. Each gave a short talk describing her career journey so far, and then answered questions from our students, who 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 of the themes from all our panellists, surprising many in the room, was that they wished they had not been so worried at school about university and career. All of them had experienced challenges that had sent them in a different direction to the one they had envisaged but they now found themselves in better and happier situations because of those challenges. Their advice was “don’t worry and go with the flow!” The panellists also encouraged students to explore careers as much as they could, as they said that is the way to work out what suits you best. They were all clear that being a Woldingham student had benefitted them in their careers as they had learnt to be proactive and confident, and unafraid to “raise their hand”.
A great feature of this event is the way our students take the opportunity to step up to leadership roles. Lower Sixth students - Annabelle, Gemma, Grace and Sofia - introduced and facilitated the discussion in very impressive style.
It was an inspirational morning. We are very grateful to our alumnae who gave up their time to join us: Joanna Murray, Vicky Feng, Grace Harding and Frankie Linsley. 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 Higher Education and Careers