This inspiring message was championed at Woldingham School’s Dads 4 Daughters breakfast, chaired by lower sixth student and Deputy Head Girl, Anastasia Lewis. The annual event, part of an international campaign aligned to the UN’s HeForShe mission, is designed to spark discussion and debate around issues facing women in the workplace. It was also created to encourage parents to champion greater gender equality at work, and to inspire the lower sixth as they start to think about their own career aspirations. Prompted by years of anecdotal evidence, the Dads4Daughters campaign – launched by St Paul’s School for Girls – was established to enlist fathers directly in the fight for gender equality and to raise awareness among men of key feminist issues faced by working women.
The guest speaker was Suki Thompson, CEO and one of the Founding Partners of Oystercatchers, a leading marketing consultancy. She has been the Chair of the Marketing Society, is a long-standing member of WACL (Women in Advertising & Communications London) and sits on The Board of Trustees for Macmillan Cancer Support and Touraid. She is also a regular contributor to the national and marketing press, and a speaker at industry conferences. In 2012, Suki was made a Freeman of the City of London and given an honorary Doctorate by Coventry University for her services to international business.
Suki Thompson told the audience that only 19% of those in leadership roles in advertising industry are female. However, she emphasised that for the current generation of women approaching the workplace, things were changing for the better. She encouraged the girls: “You are the generation that can make a difference.”
The panel, which also included experts from a range of leading companies including Virgin, Pret A Manger and British Airways, listed understanding your skills and attributes, being prepared to learn, and being brave as key skills in the modern workplace. The students learnt the value of ‘squiggly careers’ and were urged to be themselves in whatever field they chose to work.
You are the generation that can make a difference
Headmistress, Alex Hutchinson, commented: “The days of linear careers are gone. Our students will face the 21st century workplace knowing that the breadth of their skills and experiences all matter. Thank you to our wonderful panel of experts who gave the girls such valuable and candid advice – it will be an excellent platform for our students as they look to the future.”