Inspiring Females Summit at Norwich High draws over 300 young women

From Monday 26th to Thursday 29th June, Norwich High School for Girls held their second three-day Inspiring Females (IF) Summit. Throughout the three days of the event, an amazing 40 inspirational women volunteered their time to mentor, inspire and deliver unique workshops for over 300 young women aged between 12 and 17.

For the first day, an inspirational line-up of 20 female panellists attended from all walks of life and stages of their careers, covering areas such as the creative industries, STEM, charities, teaching, sports, the media, finance and diplomacy. Headlining the event were keynote speakers Cheryl Giovannoni, CEO of the GDST, and award-winning BBC journalist and Wimbledon High alumna, Samira Ahmed. Following each presentation, the empowering panel of women joined them on stage to discuss and answer questions on topics such as ‘A Good Time to Be a Young Woman?’ and ‘Building Confidence/Taking Risks’.

They all volunteered their time to deliver workshops, presentations and activities throughout the day covering themes including ‘Resilience’, ‘Becoming a role model’, ‘Achieving BIG’ and ‘Facing the challenges of being a young female leader’.

Straight after this first ambitious day, the school hosted two further days; one focussing on creating a Social Enterprise, and another on Wellbeing and Activity. High calibre female mentors from influential organisations such as Google, BT, Global Media and Aviva led groups of eight or nine young women to create a unique social enterprise on the second day, and were exceptionally well supported by local entrepreneurs such as Claire Riseborough, founder of Stepintotech, and Libby Peryer, founder of Libby Ferris flowers.

On the final day, a diverse selection of guests volunteered their time to deliver informative workshops on subjects such as wellbeing, dentistry, and psychology, and ‘How to be Happy’, as well as an extensive selection of active sessions including pilates, meditation, self defence, African drumming and voice movement therapy.

Throughout the three days, Norwich High School were particularly proud to welcome back ten Norwich High alumnae, including:

  • Claire Stirling – ex-international athlete and Managing Partner of Stirling Strategy Limited
  • Paula Thomsen – Head of Quality Assurance at Aviva
  • Thordis Fridrikkson – BBC Regional Presenter / Writer/ Voice over artist
  • Verity Cane – Subject Leader for History at Havelock Academy
  • Sophie Hind – Regional Strategy Director for Global Radio
  • Jo Hind – Co-founder of Birdsoup – Career Consultancy for Women
  • Libby Peryer – Design Consultant
  • Christina Sadler – Merger Consultant
  • Rachel Pailes – Business Development Manager, Rowan House
  • Amrisha Ondhia – Dentist

Headmistress of Norwich High School, and co-founder of Inspiring Females, Kirsty von Malaisé, commented about the event:

“We believe that for women today and in the future, the idea of a ‘career ladder’ is outdated, not least because the world of work is changing fast. Inspiring Females is about passion with purpose, about learning and listening from leading women who have so generously given their time, energy and thought into creating something unique and addresses the gaps they had in their own education. I am delighted to be part of an event which is a truly inspiring, encouraging and empowering experience.”