We are delighted that Helen Fraser, Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) from 2010 to 2016, has been made a Dame in the 2017 New Year’s honours list, for services to education.
Helen has been tireless throughout her career, both in private and in public, in promoting women and equality. She has never been afraid to put her head above the parapet to challenge stereotypes and promote diversity and especially to champion women’s contribution and encourage other organisations to do the same. The GDST is an organisation dedicated to putting girls first, and Helen has been an inspirational role model for the girls in our schools and for the staff with whom she worked. During her time at the GDST she encouraged the girls in our care to develop confidence and resilience, attributes which she displayed in abundance.
Responding to the award, Helen Fraser said:
"I am surprised and delighted on a personal level, but even more delighted that this is a recognition of the work the GDST and other girls' schools do to make girls more confident and resilient, helping them not just in school but preparing them for their adult life."
Helen Fraser was Chief Executive of The Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) from January 2010 to August 2016.
Prior to joining the GDST she enjoyed a 40-year career in publishing, which included stints at William Collins, William Heinemann and as managing director of Reed Consumer Books for Reed Elsevier. This culminated in 13 years as managing director of Penguin UK, launching the careers of authors as diverse as Zadie Smith, Antony Beevor and Jamie Oliver.
During her time at the helm, Penguin twice won the ‘Publisher of the Year’ award and Penguin authors won the Booker, Whitbread and Orange Prizes in a single year. Helen received a CBE in January 2010, the same month she joined the GDST. Helen put together a new executive team, driving through major changes in the organisation, seeing its financial position improve, and taking part in a media campaign that saw the Trust achieve much greater prominence. Still an avid reader, Helen chaired the judging panel for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.