We were very proud that three members of the GDST Family were finalists in the prestigious Women of the Future awards this year, held at the London Hilton Park Lane on the 9th of November.
Paris Thompson – fundraiser extraordinaire
Paris Thompson, a student at Norwich High School, was nominated for the Young Star award this year. Paris was recognised for her fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital, her already impressive acting and creative credentials and her advocacy for the deaf community. Her commitment, innovation and creativity impressed the judges, and she was acclaimed as ‘highly commended’ at the awards.
At school, Paris leads a club for students who want to learn sign language. She designs the entire programme herself, and delivers fun and useful activities for a dedicated group of girls of all ages. Her recognition by this high-flying community of women has been valuable to her:
“I took home a great piece of advice, one business entrepreneur said that when she interviews people to be part of her company, she looks at their personalities and their experiences, not just their degree and that being part of Women of Future is one thing to really put forward!”
“The Women of the Future process was great – I had a 20 minute interview with two women Directors. We talked about my experiences, and I met some amazing other women with incredible stories of their own. I took home a great piece of advice, one business entrepreneur said that when she interviews people to be part of her company, she looks at their personalities and their experiences, not just their degree and that being part of Women of Future is one thing to really put forward! I am looking forward to being invited to do my deaf awareness speech one day at a Women of the Future event.”
Nicola Buttigieg – Space Technology excellence
GDST teachers were also recognised during the awards, with Nicola Jane Buttigieg from Sutton High School shortlisted as a finalist in the Mentor of the Year category for her work on The GDST Space Technology Diploma, a qualification she created in partnership with The University of Hertfordshire and with input from NASA.
Nicola’s work to encourage more women into coding within the Space Industry was central to her place on the shortlist. As a connection from NASA describes her; ‘’She is brave and bold, no doubt. Nicola is not just a teacher, she is an international lead learner in STEM’.
Nicola reflected on the experience of being an award finalist:
“It was a valuable acknowledgement that countless unseen hours (building up over several years) towards what has now evolved into the GDST Space Technology Diploma has not gone unnoticed, not in any sense!”
Cathy Walker – Mentoring future entrepreneurs
Finally, Cathy Walker, Head of Education Development at the GDST, was also a Mentor of the Year finalist.
Cathy’s inspiring founding of the LEAD programme in order to help more young women into entrepreneurship and leadership through the experience of creating their own social enterprise, impressed the judges. As did her approach to education:
“In education it’s your job to lift young people up and help them gain greater experience, perspective and confidence – as such there are many, many people who deserve this prize. So I feel very proud to be nominated but also very proud to be in such good company.”
Cathy is also host of the GDST podcast Raise Her Up (with over 60,000 downloads to date), on which she speaks to experts across many areas of modern life and parenthood, including business, equalities, psychology, politics and health amongst others.
Mentoring young stars of the future
Our finalists and winners would not have achieved these remarkable accolades without their long term commitment, determination and investment in inspiring and supporting others. In Nicola Buttigieg’s words:
“Real, meaningful commitment to mentoring over time is essential. Upon leaving the Space Tech programme, a large factor in how the students will go on to use their new skills successfully will actually be up to them – to seek their own opportunities to shine by producing desirable results for the end user experiencing new, innovative software developments.”
To find out more about how we mentor young talent at GDST, explore our family of school’s educational approach.