In June Norwich High School students and staff were delighted to host their inaugural Inspiring Females Symposium.
Instigated by Headmistress, Kirsty von Malaisé, and local educational entrepreneur, Siobhan Eke, to develop a sense of strength and possibility among pupils while they are still at school, they created a partnership with local secondary schools, Flegg High and Framingham Earl. Girls from Yr. 10 formed the Steering Committee, keen that Inspiring Females should help to prepare young women for their futures, to create platforms to explore their questions and represent their voices.
From over 30 panellists invited to the event, several are Old Girls of Norwich High School, each one an expert and highly successful in her field. Included here is a brief summary of their achievements:
Alumna Dr Elaine McCash (1974 - 1980), scientist, entrepreneur, author, businesswoman and former academic, trained as a physical chemist/chemical physicist, and has vast experience and expertise in research, technology and management.
She has devised and steered projects in technique development including biomedical sensors and surface processes. An expert in spectroscopy and surface science, Elaine has managed research programmes at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge and the University of York. She is the author of two best-selling textbooks, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Member of the Institute of Physics.
Alice Walpole (1971 - 1981), British Ambassador to Mali and Niger, Alice began her career at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1985, and has served as British Ambassador to Luxembourg (2011-2016), as the British Consul General in Basra, Iraq (2009-2011) and at the UK Mission to the United Nations in New York, the UK Representation to the European Union in Brussels, the UK delegation to NATO, and in the British Embassy in Dar es Salaam. Postings in London have included Head of the Foreign Office Peacekeeping Unit and Deputy Head of the (cross-Government) Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit. In addition, Alice has six children and enjoys theatre, sewing and gardening.
Following Norwich High School and university in London, Rosie Sexton (1981 - 1987), having grown-up in Africa, always wanted to go back and spent several years distributing food during a severe drought in rural Zimbabwe. From that she moved into development, training people to start and run their own businesses in a country where unemployment was over 50%. She met her Australian husband there and they have two children. She set up a charity, and after working for a period in Uganda, became a ski instructor in the USA (a life-long dream), Rosie moved back to Norfolk, where she set up English+, a charity which provides English-teaching and support to refugees, asylum seekers and those isolated due to a lack of English.
Alice Hyde (1999 - 2009) After school Alice taught English for 12 months in a remote village in Northern Thailand, before studying Law and French at Leeds University. She is now Private Secretary to the Director General for Defence and Intelligence. Before starting her current role, Alice entered the Diplomatic Service in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the Afghanistan Team.
Businesswoman, Libby Peryer (1985 - 1990) opened Libby Ferris Flowers after travelling the USA and UK for five years following her graduation. Libby grew her business for ten years before selling the venture last year. Today she manages Garden Kitchen, alongside the Director, providing business analytics and supervising the day-to-day running of the corporate catering business and the café.