The Guild’s Outreach & Education Committee were delighted to have been warmly welcomed back to Roedean Girl’s School in Brighton today, for another afternoon of entrepreneurial mini-talks from some of our many talented and inspiring Freemen.
This followed a successful first event at the school last November and demonstrates the continuing commitment to our important partnership with this lovely School, nestling in the cliffs on the South Downs, high above Brighton beach. Roedean is committed to placing enterprise high on its agenda, and we are delighted to be able to come and share our stories with the senior girls, and provide them with inspiration and confidence to achieve great things when they finally leave its gates and face life in a brave new world, quite different to the one most of us faced at the same period in our lives. Exciting opportunities abound for the brave, and our Freemens’ own steps to success have not always been plain sailing by any means!
Five fabulous Freemen generously volunteered their time to come and speak to the girls and some of the staff about their own entrepreneurial “adventures”, drawing from the School’s theme for the term, and also imparting some of their personal nuggets of wisdom in preparation for the girls’ imminent A level examinations, on how recent economic and political changes are impacting, or are likely in the future, to impact on their businesses and sectors.
We were royally entertained to a guided tour of the school bathed in the brilliant March sunshine, followed by afternoon tea and beautiful pastries (which most of us dared not touch, they were so exquisite!) and then traditional Thursday doughnuts with the girls in the lovely Keswick Centre after the talks and some informal networking before the end of the afternoon’s session and taxis back to the station.
We heard humorous and very positive, human stories from a selection of our career entrepreneurs covering a fascinating range of topics from Nick Levens’ life in the world of hospitality (or, as he likes to describe it, getting people drunk for a living!)and his company Life’s Kitchen which caters for formal Livery dining events in the
City; Sarah Malter’s rise from astrophysics student, actress, bagel slicer, to a successful grant funding company owner (and what the loss of EU funding might mean for this sector); to Jenny Garrett’s wonderful , funny story about her family’s New Year’s Eve trip to see the fireworks in London; having to fight her way through the crowds to use the portaloo and then clawing her way back in to her family and the sheer thrill and joy when the firework display actually happened – drawing on similarities with the life and challenges facing any entrepreneur; to Alex Thompson’s inspiring and funny stories and visual images of life as an architect (part artist, part scientist, part mathematician) and Darren Bolger’s fascinating career story from loft conversions to legal charity to “big data” enterprise and the launch of his exciting new global online marketing platform, The Home Club and his philanthropic plans for offering apprenticeship schemes to aspiring entrepreneurs through that corporate vehicle.
We were especially delighted to hear from Head of Enterprise at Roedean, Steve Low, that since his arrival 2 years ago, the numbers of pupils studying business and enterprise has more than doubled and the Guild is delighted that its participation in the school’s enterprise initiatives is likely to be a contributing factor to this rise.
Our thanks go out to all those involved in making the event so spectacularly successful and such fun -to Richard Poffley, Roedean’s Bursar and Steve Low; to our fantastic speakers Sarah Malter, Nick Levens, Darren Bolger, Alex Thompson, and Jenny Garrett; to fellow Freeman Colin Hegner who nobly took the seat on the sub’s bench all afternoon, took the photographs and acted as chauffeur; and to Nicola Manning who led on this project for the Committee.
We look forward to a return trip to Roedean in the autumn term!
*photos courtesy of Colin Hegner