GDST Talks

In 2020, we launched GDST Talks, our series of online seminars for GDST parents and alumnae.

gdst talks

The GDST Talks seminars are led by distinguished experts who will share their experience and advice on the pressing issues of the day. Past events have focused on areas such as strategies for helping your child understand Covid 19 and how to support their mental healthhow to speak to your child about racism; and reassuring your child when the world feels like a frightening and unpredictable place.

By hosting the talks online, we are excited to reach more parents and alumnae than ever before from across our GDST family and we are very proud to be presenting some truly impressive and accomplished speakers.

We are currently devising an exciting schedule of GDST Talks for 2021/22, launching this September. Recordings of previous talks available here.


Previous talks:


lorraine candyOur speaker on 17th June was award-winning former editor of Elle and Style magazines, Lorraine Candy, sharing her post-covid summer survival guide for parents and teens. 

School’s Out: Helping Your Teen Daughter Navigate Post-Covid Freedom This Summer

Summer 2021 will be a summer like no other: a long holiday period at home after a second year punctuated by COVID lockdowns and school closures. 6 weeks of (we hope) increased freedom and contact with friends, after months of making do with endless walks and takeaway drinks with family. Adolescence has, of course, also carried on throughout, with the ever-changing emotional, physical and family dynamics that it entails adding to the mix. With this potentially explosive combination, how can parents help their children to navigate the newly-recovered freedom of parties, festivals and gatherings, whilst managing everyday family life?

Our guest on Thursday 17th June was Lorraine Candy, mother of four and award-winning journalist with over a decade of experience writing about parenting in national newspapers and magazines, including columns with the Sunday Times Magazine and Daily Mail. As co-host of the chart-topping lifestyle podcast Postcards from Midlife, which features the stories of spirited midlife women and tackles parenting adolescents, Lorraine shared her own experience and advice as captured in her forthcoming book, Mum, What’s Wrong With You? 101 Things Only Mothers of Teenage Girls Know, out in June 2021 (4th Estate).

Lorraine was in conversation with our CEO Cheryl Giovannoni, addressing questions submitted by parents across the GDST Family. To watch a recording of Lorraine’s webinar, please click here.


deborah woodmanOur first speaker on Thursday 26th November Dr Deborah Woodman spoke on ‘Helping your child understand Covid 19: how to support their mental health and development in a world post-Covid.’ 

Dr Woodman is consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for Psychology at Evelina London Children’s Hospital, Guy’s and St Thomas’. She talked about the impact that lockdown and its ongoing uncertainties have had on young people’s mental health and development. So much of the normal, healthy adolescent experience relies on interaction and dealing with challenges in person: how does this translate into a socially distanced and primarily online experience? Dr Woodman shared her expertise, and offered advice for parents around how to best support their child, as well as sharing ideas on how they, too, can cope with the difficulties of being a parent during a pandemic.

For parents with children in Year 7 to Year 13.

To watch this talk, click here.


gdst talksOn 2nd December, we welcomed Dr Marisa Porges author of What Girls Need: How to Raise Bold, Courageous, and Resilient Women (Viking Press, 2020). Dr Porges is a leading voice on gender, education and leadership, thanks in part to her previous work as one of only a few women in the field of counterterrorism and national security. Previously a senior policy advisor in the Obama White House, she is currently Head of School at The Baldwin School, an all-girls school outside of Philadelphia, which shares the GDST’s ethos of personal excellence and preparing girls to be leaders and changemakers.

For parents with children in Years 3 to 13.

To watch this talk, click here.


Destine LordOur third event on Thursday, 10th December was with Destine Lord, an anti-racism consultant who will be presenting on How To Speak to Your Child about Racism.  Destine is currently working with GDST teachers and students and her talk ties in with GDST Undivided, our commitment to diversity, inclusion and real change. Based in Canada, Destine has worked for the last 10 years in both the private and public sectors, running workshops and training sessions to encourage innovative approaches to racial inclusion.  As a Black Canadian woman, Destine can draw on her own experiences as a teaching tool for connecting with young women.

For parents with children in Year 7 to Year 13.

To watch this talk, click here.


Abi Gewirtz

On Thursday, 14th January, we welcomed child psychologist Professor Abi Gewirtz to the GDST Talks series. Professor Gewirtz, a South Hampstead High School Alumna, is Leadership Faculty Chair of the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development, and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Psychology. She has consulted with many national and international organizations on parenting including the U.S Congress and UNICEF. She talked about her new book, When the World Feels Like A Scary Place, and offered advice to parents on how to help their children deal with their worries caused by the many problems in the world from refugees to climate change.This event is suitable for parents with children in Year 3 to Year 13.

For parents with children in Year 3 to Year 13.

To watch this talk, click here.


marissa carraniniOur fifth speaker on Friday 5th February was Marissa Carrarini on Encouraging Your Child To Eat Well: Healthy Eating for Sport and Activity.

Nutritionist and nutritional therapist Marissa Carrarini works with clients to normalise and simplify food and healthy eating. In this talk, hosted by the GDST Consultant Teacher for Sport and PE Alexis Williamson-Jones, Marissa spoke to parents about how to eat optimally for sport and activity, including good things to eat before and after training, and whether there is really any benefit in so-called sports drinks. Whilst the focus of the advice was on students doing sport, much is of relevance to everyone, and is part of a wider series of talks around addressing disordered eating and encouraging healthy eating habits. A previous talk is available here.

To watch this talk click here.


charlotte robertsonOur sixth speaker on Monday 8th February was Charlotte Robertson ‘How To Be A Tech Role Model For Your Child’.

Co-founder of leading online safety organisation, Digital Awareness UK, Charlotte has created videos on YouTube that have been viewed by millions, has featured in documentaries exploring the lives of online influencers, and speaks to hundreds of students and parents every week about the safe and responsible use of technology. To mark Safer Internet Day 2021, Charlotte spoke to parents on how they can help their children to develop healthy tech habits, in part by setting the example themselves. She also shared her insights to help families understand how to engage in social media in a positive way.

This talk was available to watch for a limited time only and has been removed. 


Nihara Krause

Our seventh speaker on 4th March was Dr Nihara Krause talking about The Science of Motivation – Helping Your Children To Keep Going.

With the cancellation of exams and the extended lockdown, many young people are experiencing a certain lethargy, a lack of desire to study, and a feeling of ‘what’s the point?’ Whilst we are all doing our best to ‘keep on keeping on’, it can be a challenge to maintain motivation and engagement. How can we help our children to focus on the future and to keep on going?

Dr Nihara Krause is a highly experienced and award-winning Consultant Clinical Psychologist who specialises in adolescent and adult mental health. She has contributed to government discussion on mental health, is the founder of teenage mental health charity stem4 and has created four globally successful mental health apps. In this session, Dr Krause explained the science behind motivation and shared tips and advice to help parents support their children through the coming months.

To watch this talk click here.


Emma Gleadhill

Our speaker on 18th March was Emma Gleadhill talking about Helping Your Daughter Through Puberty.

Emma Gleadhill is an educator and specialist in child and adolescent development. With over 20 years of experience in education, including six years as Deputy Head, Emma’s work centres on relationships, mental health, wellbeing and the emotional aspects of parenting. During her talk, she brought research-based insights into what drives human behaviour and family dynamics, and spoke about how small tweaks can make a big impact in our relationships with ourselves and with others. She shared her experience and advice on how the different types of modern family can support their children through puberty with family relationships and wellbeing intact, including modelling healthy approaches to body image, encouraging open discussion around sex and puberty, and encouraging your children to reflect by asking them questions and avoiding judgement.

A recording of Emma’s talk is available here until 18th May.

Our next talks:

Dr Sinéad Devine-French

Our speaker on Wednesday 24th March was Dr Sinéad Devine-French talking about The Psychology of Sleep

Sleep allows for essential emotional and physical maintenance and regulation, and has a direct impact on our capacity to learn, perform, interact and thrive. The proliferation of screens – be they for zoom meetings, home learning or lockdown boxsets – combined with pandemic-related worry, has understandably taken its toll on our ability to drift off. Since our sleep patterns and needs change across our life span, it’s safe to say that everyone – children, teens, parents and grandparents – would benefit from a better sleep routine.

Our speaker Dr Sinéad Devine-French is a chartered psychologist and public speaker who is passionate about proactive approaches to positively improve psychological wellbeing, relationships, resilience and performance. She joined us from Positive, an organisation with which GDST works closely. Set up in 2011, Positive uses research in psychology and neuroscience to help individuals and organisations optimise their wellbeing and performance. Dr Devine-French explained what good sleep looks like, and shared the Positive toolkit to encourage parents to help themselves and their children to achieve healthier bedtime routines for more robust wellbeing.

A recording of Dr Sinéad Devine-French’s talk is available here until 18th May.


gdst talksOur speaker on Thursday 29th April was Andrew Hampton on ‘Helping Your Daughter to Navigate Friendships’.

Andrew Hampton is the founder and CEO of award-winning initiative Girls on Board, and works with young people, schools and parents to help bring about greater understanding of the complexities and dynamics of girl friendships. The language, methods and ideas that he has developed empower girls to solve their own friendship problems and to recognise that they are usually the only ones who can. By helping girls to find their own solutions, parents worry less, schools focus more on the curriculum and the girls learn more effectively – because they are happier. Girls on Board won the Independent Schools Association Award for Innovation and Excellence in Pupil’s Mental Health and Wellbeing 2016 and 2019.

A recording of Andrew Hampton’s talk is here.


Our speaker on Thursday 6th May was Grace Barrett from the Self-Esteem Team, presenting to parents and girls on Managing The Transition From Primary to Secondary

Grace Barrett is co-founder of the Self-Esteem Team who deliver award-winning emotional and lifestyle education to students, parents and teachers throughout the UK and beyond. Since establishing the organisation they have reached over 100,000 young people. Grace addressed the issues that might cause Year 6 students to worry as they anticipate moving to secondary school: how to cope with a different routine, managing change, dealing with independence and thinking on your feet as you navigate new social situations. Known for her humorous and relatable approach, Grace used the session to reassure and allay the concerns of both parents and their daughters as they prepare together for this important rite of passage.

A recording of Grace Barrett’s talk is here.


marissa carranini

Nutritional therapist Marissa Carrarini returned on Thursday 13th May as part of our Healthy Eating series. This time she addressed Healthy Eating for Positive Mood and Positive Study 

As exam season approaches, albeit in a different format this year, our thoughts as educators and parents turn to how to support our young people as they embark upon the task of revision. In this presentation, Marissa gave insights into how the food we eat can have an impact on our mood and mindset which, of course, is integral to our ability to focus, to retain and to recall. Marissa shared advice with parents and daughters to both encourage students to thrive and feel confident in their learning, and help parents to support them.