Inspiring Women reaches the rural South West

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Charlotte Sanctuary is the Director of the Client Council at KPMG. She recently took part in an Inspiring Women event in Bridport, West Dorset. She shares some reflections on her own career path and the importance of inspiring the next generation.

I work at KPMG on our client relationship and entertaining programme. To many clients I am regarded as the “face of KPMG” and host our major events on a, UK, European, and Global basis, for example at the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Ryder Cup in the US and Europe.

I started as a secretary and held a few roles at different organisations. It was whilst at Arthur Young that I got “my break” into the events world. My boss appreciated my organisational skills, firstly asking me to organise internal conferences, then small client events and this grew and developed into a more formal role organising events and hospitality events for clients.

l have become involved with the Inspiring Women campaign as I believe it is vitally important to ensure girls in schools realise the different career opportunities that are open to them, how to get there, and what qualifications or experience they need to achieve their goals.

I am delighted to report that we had over 90 girls attend our career speed dating event. We organised the event to give the girls in Years 10 and above the opportunity to speak with and chat to a variety of different women with diverse careers which has hopefully inspired and helped the girls make some initial decisions about their career path.

We had a total of 10 speakers, including myself and I would like to personally thank all the speakers for their support, enthusiasm and giving up their time, Dr Debbie Attrill (GP and Director at The Hive), Julie Breakwell (Senior Manager, KPMG), Lucy Chant (Director, AP Chant), Professor Jo Gill (Associate Professor at Exeter University), Dr Francesca Mikola (Dental Practitioner); Gemma Scott (Chef), Pamela Sibley (Veterinary Surgeon), Kay Taylor (Head Teacher at the Sir John Colfox School) and Linda Whitney (Journalist) for their support with this event, Andy David (Teacher at the Sir John Colfox School) for all the organising such a successful evening.

Here’s a Q&A with Andy David, teacher at the Sir John Colfox School, which hosted the event attended by Charlotte. It illustrates why the campaign matters.

Question: Why do you think it is important for girls to meet and talk to women doing different jobs?

Answer: It is absolutely essential and something I passionately believe in. Having worked in the city where there are so many more opportunities I think it is even more important that this type of thing happens in rural schools where aspirations tend to be lower and exposure to a range of jobs is limited. Unless you are fortunate to have parents who are aspirational you likely to only know about the jobs that have the most exposure either in the media or within the community.

Question: What did you notice in the interactions between the women and the girls?

Answer: It was an incredibly vibrant atmosphere and there was a real buzz. My first observation was that it was great to have such a vast number of girls together in one room who were genuinely keen to learn about career pathways. My second observation was that it did not really matter who the speaker was (I was worried some might switch off when they talked to someone who did a job they were not interested in) as they seemed curious about everything, grateful someone was talking to them and keen to know how this could relate to them.

Question: Were there any surprising or funny comments?

Answer: Nothing funny, but I have been teaching for 16 years now and you cannot beat the buzz of feeling like something you did made a real difference. To hear girls, particularly girls you did not think would even turn up, talk about wanting to be a doctor or a dentist is absolutely wonderful. To get the feedback I did was incredible as I genuinely thought some girls would not get it. I thought some would say ‘that was a waste of time’ or ‘there were no jobs I was interested in’ but this did not happen.

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