‘The best day ever!’, ‘I feel empowered’, ‘I loved meeting so many women in different professions’ are just a few of the comments made by students involved in Ponteland High School’s first ever ‘International Women’s Day Conference’ held on Tuesday 8 March 2022.
This year, ‘International Women’s Day’ coincided with ‘National Careers Week’ so we decided to put together a programme of inspirational female role models from the local area representing sectors from the arts, sports, business to charity work, science and IT.
The day began with a ‘Breakfast with…’ event where our students were able to mingle and chat over croissants and coffee with amazing guests Sarah Robson, Rose Walker, Dr Rebecca Bristow, Ruth Mattera, Deb Walton and Jo Shallcross.
After a brief introduction, the students heard a talk from award-winning entrepreneur, Nicola Cook, followed by a ‘Mindfulness and Yoga’ workshop delivered by founder of ‘The Mind Movement’, Lorna Evans, and a ‘Design Workshop’ creating mood boards with Interior Designer and ex-student Sally Rea. Then, Jen Kilmartin, the Vice President of software company ‘Partnerize’ delivered a fascinating talk on cyber security.
In the afternoon, the founder of the award-winning charity NEST, Bridget Stratford, talked about her work with refugees and asylum seekers, her recent MBE and how she is a former student of Ponteland High! To finish the day, Rebecca Leary, Senior Project Manager at Newcastle University hosted the ‘Lab to Patient’ workshop and Miss Falloon spoke about the opportunities for women in Science.
The conference was a resounding success thanks to the passion and generosity of our guests who were willing to give up their time to share their inspirational stories with us. Mrs Routledge, Assistant Headteacher, said “our first conference went really well and I hope that in a few years’ time, we will be inviting some of these students back to inspire the next generation!”