On Wednesday 12th February, the LVI Form girls were given the opportunity to focus their thoughts on life after St Mary’s, and the futures that await them. The Delscey Burns Theatre was transformed into a conference venue for the annual LVI Form Careers Conference: Inspiring Women, with an auditorium for the main programme and space to accommodate seven different breakout sessions.
We were delighted to be joined by Lynne Copp, a former parent and Founder of the Worklife Company, who has extensive experience in a wide range of different organisations, ranging from technology to the public sector, and who kindly agreed, once again, to chair the day’s proceedings. Our line-up of panel guests covered an impressive expanse of careers and included: Jane Bailey, Head of Customer Management, Rolls-Royce Marine, who has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and is also a qualified pilot, and has held a number of senior positions in the Rolls-Royce Defence sector covering Research & Development; Barrister and old girl Isabel Barter, who studied History at Cambridge, who initially went into the charity sector before deciding to pursue a career in law - she now specialises in professional negligence and commercial disputes; current parent Susie Forbes, Principal of Condé Nast School of Fashion & Design, and former Deputy Editor of Vogue and Editor of Easy Living magazine, kindly returned to talk about Fashion & Journalism; Sally Jones-Evans, Chief Operating Officer, Group HR, Lloyds Banking Group, who has worked in Strategy Development, Marketing, Mergers & Acquisitions, Technology, Community Banking, Internet Banking, and most recently in HR; Dr Laura MacCulloch, who studied History of Art at Birmingham and became a researcher on Birmingham’s Pre-Raphaelite Online Resource, before becoming Curator of British Art at National Museums Liverpool and is now Curator at Royal Holloway, University of London; and Dr Alexandra Thomson-Moore, who joined us for the breakouts, initially studied Biology at university and started a career in NHS management before studying Medicine in her late twenties - she had recently returned to the UK after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as an expedition medic.
The girls had the opportunity to attend three different breakout sessions and were invited to make choices from a wide selection:
1. Jane Bailey - Customer Focus & Innovation - working in a global engineering company
2. Isabel Barter - Leaping into Law: barrister or solicitor?
3. Lynne Copp - I haven't a clue about my future career - what are the options?
4. Susie Forbes - Magazines: what lies beneath
5. Sally Jones-Evans - Finance & Banking: so much more than numbers; varied careers with customers, people and technology at the heart of our economy
6. Laura MacCulloch - Behind the Scenes at the Museum: careers in art galleries & museums
7. Alex Thomson-Moore - Medicine: from the NHS to Mount Kilimanjaro - a world of opportunity
As well as our morning line-up of guests who concentrated on their experiences of The World of Work and their breakout sessions, we were also joined by some new faces for the Getting into Work panel in the afternoon. Former pupil Catherine Watson, who is currently doing a year in industry with Microsoft as an Entertainment Editor (intern), whilst studying English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of Surrey; Gillian Scobbie who joined Nationwide Building Society as a graduate employee and has very recently been taken on full-time as a member of the HR team; and finally, recently qualified solicitor Sarah Harvey from Gough’s, who specialises in Commercial Property and Company Law.
During an enjoyable sit-down lunch, girls, staff and guests were able to continue discussions about their career experiences before the afternoon programme got underway with a presentation by the LVI Form’s Young Enterprise Company, Origins. Following an excellent presentation by the girls, who greatly impressed our guests, they were given some constructive advice and further ideas by our business experts. Congratulations girls – a number of our visitors said this was one of the highlights of their day!
Following further discussions during the Getting into Work panel, Lynne asked our guests for their final pieces of advice. This included: do something you love; make the most of school (did you hear that girls!); use the opportunities given to you at university including Careers Advice and Clubs & Societies; make a good impression and network; have a 'can do' attitude; work experience matters and, finally, manage that worklife balance!
It was a busy but enjoyable day and it was a great pleasure to welcome back Calne Girls Isabel and Catherine. We were extremely fortunate to have the support of so many amazing women who, despite the extraordinary weather conditions, battled wind and rain to give up their time so generously to inspire the girls of St Mary’s Calne - we were totally blown away!