Ponteland High School celebrates International Women's Day with an Inspirational Women's Conference

10 March 2023


‘I loved getting to meet inspirational women’, ‘it has made me think about lots of different opportunities’, ‘the whole thing was fantastic’ are just a few of the comments from students in Y9 and Y10 who participated in Ponteland High School’s second ‘Inspirational Women’s Conference’.

Building on the success of last year, Wednesday 8th March saw the return of our ‘Inspirational Women’s Conference’.  ‘International Women’s Day’ coincided with ‘National Careers Week’ so we put together an amazing programme of talks and workshops delivered by local inspirational female role models.

In the ‘Breakfast With…’ session, the girls had the opportunity to mingle with our fantastic guests over coffee and croissants. Anna Rudram from H&M Prison & Probation Service; Jackie Sewell founder of Buy the Kilo; Fiona Belgian from Thompsons Solicitors; Polly Reed ex-student, writer and undergraduate at York University; Dilini Perera and Nicola Watson from Hydrock; Carrie Carlisle presenter and columnist; Libby Waddell from Ignite North East and Heather Philip founder of HPLC Conveyancing all generously offered their time to talk to the girls about their career journey and answer questions.

Principal Lecturer in Teaching and Learning at Teeside University, Jo Irving-Walton, opened the speeches with a thought-provoking and motivational talk which was followed by STEM apprentices, Jodie Keillor and Lilli Westerby, from Sterling Pharmaceuticals in Dudley sharing their experiences as young female role models within the industry.

After break, students heard from Keeley Edmondson talking about her fascinating role as a shipping solicitor working all over the globe and Charlotte Falloon who pioneered NEFEMPOWERMENT, a social media platform showcasing local businesses founded by women.  Providing a female perspective on the construction industry, Angela Carney from Carney Consultancy and Megan Groom from Castle Building Services delivered Pecha Kucha presentations and challenged the students to build their own bridges.  This activity enabled the students to develop their communication and teamwork skills and produce some very creative outcomes!

The day concluded with two final talks: journalist and presenter, Charlie Charlton, shared her compelling story and insight into the media industry and the growth of opportunities within the sector in the North East.  Finally, Alice Hall inspired the students with her engaging talk about how she built up her incredibly successful businesses:  Pink Boutique and Rowen Homes.

At the close of the day, the students collected a bag with a selection of pens, notepads, and other goodies provided by the speakers and also generously donated by Dobbies and Superdrug.  Y9 student, entrepreneurial baker, Emma, made delicious iced cupcakes for all the participants to take away aswell.

The conference was a resounding success thanks to the passion and generosity of the guests who were willing to give up their time to share their inspirational stories with us.  Mrs Routledge, Assistant Headteacher, said ‘the conference was so inspiring and gave our girls the chance to really consider the great wealth of exciting opportunities open to them in their future.’

Please click here to follow further conversations after IWD!



Ponteland High School