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On Tuesday 9th November, Celia Pool (née Henderson, 2000 Leaver) gave a brilliant talk to the Fifth and Sixth Form about her entrepreneurial journey to launching DAME, her pioneering business that is striving to make periods positive for people and for the planet. We were very pleased to welcome Celia back to Calne to officially present her with a ‘Women in Innovation Award'.

Innovate UK have created a network of 64 Women in Innovation Award winners who are developing pioneering innovations to tackle pressing societal, environmental, and economic challenges; from delivering precision medicine to underrepresented populations, to offering eco-friendly materials for the aerospace industry and creating cutting-edge digital educational tools.

A personalised purple plaque, a twist on the historical blue plaques, is now on the wall in the Chapel corridor in Celia’s honour. Rosie and Anna, UVI (Year 13) students, hosted the event and Rosie has written the following review:

‘On Tuesday 9th November, former Calne girl, Celia Pool, kindly came in to give a lecture about her company DAME and her most recent success, winning a Women in Innovation Award by Innovate UK. Anna and I were lucky enough to host the talk and following her introduction we asked her what it was like to be a woman in the business world and what inspired her to tackle period challenges.

Celia started off by telling the audience about what empowered her to create her company which offers sustainable period products. She had realised that nothing had changed since she had been at school regarding the talk around periods and therefore set herself the aim to eradicate negative language and taboos about periods.

She also realised that the majority of period products used in the UK where incredibly bad for the environment (and potentially harmful to our bodies) and therefore set out to create a sustainable business which tackles societal issues about periods. It was brilliant to hear how incredibly honest Celia was about the fact that her first company didn’t quite achieve her goals. It was so inspiring to hear how she viewed her failures as successes. The resilience which Calne had taught her empowered her to keep going, reflect on her mistakes and create a new company called DAME. As a woman in the business world, she commented that her biggest challenge was to believe in herself and really commit to her vision – and by backing herself she had been able to achieve so much.

DAME is a truly amazing sustainable period product company that empowers girls around the world to not be ashamed to have a period, but to use it as a power. They launched the world’s first reusable applicator in 2019 and it has just gone to market with a patent-pending reusable pad. So far, its reusable products have replaced 2.5 million disposable applicators and by 2022 the aim is to eliminate 15% of the 1.3 billion UK applicators that end up in landfill or the sea each year.

The talk left the whole audience feeling empowered and made us realise the importance of giving ideas the opportunity to grow. It was truly inspiring to all Calne girls and shows how, if you have an idea and persevere with it, you can achieve amazing things.'

Head Dr Kirk added: 'We want our pupils to realise their potential. As they say, you can't be what you can't see - this plaque is a reminder to everyone here of what they can achieve if they set their mind to it. We're delighted to recognise Celia's achievements and are excited to follow what comes next'.