GB hockey champion Kate Richardson-Walsh inspires GDST young leaders

Over 140 Sixth Form students from across the GDST network of schools were put through their paces last weekend (29 September to 1 October 2017) by leaders from all walks of life at the GDST Young Leaders’ Conference, an “Apprentice”-style leadership event, designed to help this new generation of change-makers prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

Team GB Olympic hockey gold medal winner and former team captain Kate Richardson-Walsh was among those on hand to inspire students taking part in the annual event which aims to give students experience of real-life situations.

Along with other leadership role models, including Chartered Management Institute (CMI) CEO Ann Francke and GDST CEO Cheryl Giovannoni, Kate spoke with students and offered her top tips on leading successful teams.

British Army officers then led a series of team-building exercises before students were split into groups and given less than 36 hours to create a digital fundraising and awareness campaign for one of four charities: Hope & Homes for Children; mothers2mothers; Room to Read and Rwandan Youth Information Community Organisation (RYICO).

In previous years, ideas proposed by students have inspired award-winning charity initiatives.

If you don’t like the leaders we have, become the leaders you want.
Cheryl Giovannoni

Speaking at the Conference, Kate Richardson-Walsh said:

“For me, leadership is all about creating teams where all individuals are given the chance to shine and achieve their best. I am delighted to be here amongst the next generation of young leaders. It’s been so inspiring to see their passion, drive and dedication.”

“They all showed so much energy and I am excited to see what these students will bring to their respective fields. From the hockey pitch to the business field, I know our future is in safe hands!”

Cheryl Giovannoni, CEO of the GDST, said:

“Effective leadership simply comes down to getting the best out of people so that, together, we can drive positive change. At the Girls’ Day School Trust, we are committed to inspiring the next generation of leaders. We need to broaden our view of leadership, to embrace a whole host of skills and qualities that are sometimes undervalued, like communication, collaboration, effective delegation, creativity, and empathy.”

“So my message – no, my challenge – to all our young leaders is, if you don’t like the leaders we have, become the leaders you want.”

Now in its seventh year, the Conference, which takes place at The Royal High School Bath, aims to help students develop tangible life and leadership skills, including teamwork, communication, negotiation, problem solving and financial management that will benefit them when they embark on their chosen careers.