The stunning Goodman Library at the Oxford Union was the setting for the second in our series of SHSK Society Professional Networking Events. After the success of our inaugural event which took place in London back in April, invitations were extended beyond alumnae to include parents of alumnae and those of current students. The theme for the evening was “Women in Leadership” and we were honoured to welcome Dame Helen Fraser DBE as our guest speaker. Dame Helen, who joined Penguin as Managing Director in 1997, and later as Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust gave a thought provoking talk in which she shared some tough truths and gave expert advice on women’s careers. She strongly advised that we encourage girls to be resilient quoting a Japanese proverb “fall down seven times, get up eight”. She urged women to be prepared to shout about their achievements, and to embrace the fear of opportunities and go for them. Lastly she stressed the importance of authenticity “it’s exhausting being someone you’re not; be yourself, and don’t try to “be a like a man” as we are so often advised.
A lively debate took place after the main talk with attendees sharing ideas on how to normalise failure and how to discourage the constant quest for perfection.
Informal networking continued throughout what was a fantastic evening. Both alumnae and parents commented how valuable the event had been “It was inspiring to see women from different generations networking and supporting each other at the event” “Thank you for doing it. It's very hard to find places where people -- ambitious women -- can talk relatively unguardedly. It was very refreshing”
Details on our next event will follow soon.
Ms. Faye Anderton