Sixth Form

24 January 2024

Professional Networking Event: Women in Leadership

Mariam Owens, Alumnae Relations Manager

Three inspiring leaders talked about how they forged their careers, giving valuable advice and sharing insights with an attentive audience

On 18 January, we were delighted to be joined by three inspirational leaders in their field to talk about how they forged their careers, and what learnings and advice they had for the audience of alumnae, parents and older St Helen’s students who were listening with great interest. The breadth of experience of the speakers covered engineering, infrastructure, defence, oil and gas, retail, telecommunications as well as coaching and development.

Our first speaker Melanie D’Mellow, an alumna who left St Helen’s in the 1990s, spoke of her varied and exciting career in the traditionally male-dominated field of engineering. She referred to the tools she has used to overcome some of the challenges she has faced, which included both resilience and humour and emphasised her positive outlook and willingness to say yes to every opportunity which presented itself. When talking about taking on a new challenge, Melanie highlighted that the subsequent time the new task seemed more possible, and how her confidence grew on each occasion.

Becky Lumlock, a St Helen’s parent, took us through her career journey in the oil and gas industry, transitioning into the railway sector and through to the investment banking sector, where she is now a partner. She spoke of the importance of taking opportunities whenever possible to develop oneself and broaden one’s career and skillset. In particular, she alluded to instances when she pushed herself far outside her comfort zone, to develop her skills and capabilities, and the benefits which she has seen through that approach.

Our third speaker, also a St Helen’s parent, Rachel Nuttall told us of her career working for large corporations in the retail and telecommunications sector for many years, before taking the bold step to set up on her own as a consultant in the field of coaching and development. She emphasised that her previous experience in large companies continues to be of great value to her in her current role, and she highlighted that networking and mentors have been crucial to her throughout her career. Some advice she imparted included ‘be the genuine you’ and interrogate what it is that you are great at, to succeed in your chosen field.

The audience of thirty or so guests asked numerous questions of the panel, which was chaired by the Headmistress, Rebecca Dougall. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our speakers and guests for engaging so wonderfully at this Professional Networking Event and hope to see you again at future gatherings.

If you would like to speak at one of our events, please do contact us by email at

Mariam Owens, Alumnae Relations Manager

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