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News & Events > Reunions & Events > 2023 Inspiring Futures Conference

2023 Inspiring Futures Conference

On Thursday 23rd February, LVI attended the 2023 Inspiring Futures Conference held in the Library.

On Thursday 23rd February, LVI attended the 2023 Inspiring Futures Conference held in the Library. The girls welcomed speakers from a range of disciplines and life paths, who talked about their careers and their lives after leaving school.

Camilla Byk - St Mary’s Alumnae (née Forestier-Walker, 1991 Leaver)

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of not only attending the 2023 Inspiring Futures Conference, but also talking to Camilla Byk whilst leading her to the Library before the lecture began. I found it fascinating learning about the work Camilla does with young adults and teenagers, teaching them about broadcasting and podcasts, and how she has found working during the past three years as technology has greatly advanced as a response to Covid.

My friends and I also found it amusing looking at the St Marys magazines she brought with her from when she was at Calne, and admiring the amazing drawings she created which made it into multiple articles and on the front cover of two of the magazines.

It was so compelling to see the amazing careers Camilla has had in her life since leaving Calne and all the opportunities which lie ahead of me in the future. I also loved hearing about her Gap Year as I am very eager to take one myself before university. Camilla was excellent at answering any queries regarding careers and what lies ahead of me in the near and further future as I try and piece together what I would like to do next.

Thea J and Aurora, LVI

Sara Feilden - St Mary’s Alumnae (1971 Leaver)

At the Inspiring Futures Conference, we were honored to have Sara Feilden as one of the speakers to share her inspiring journey of finding her passion and developing her career in drama. Being alumnae, she shared fascinating stories about her times at St Mary’s Calne and how the school has evolved. Sara also specifically talked in detail about her work, including drama series and documentaries she has directed. She emphasized the importance of building contacts and attending career-related events, which are often crucial as stepping stones into the career.

Belle C and Sophia H, LVI

Saritha Pilbrow - St Mary’s Alumnae (née Wilkinson, 1994 Leaver)

Meeting Saritha was a fantastic opportunity to hear all about a career in the media industry. Having been the former Head Girl at St Mary’s, Saritha spent the last 20 years travelling around the world filming, directing and producing documentaries on a huge range of topics. These included natural history, health, and science programmes for organisations such as the BBC and National Geographic, where Saritha explored many areas from wildlife to HIV.

From an impressive English degree at Oxford University to working for the BBC, the remarkable range of experiences showed the breadth of opportunities that lie ahead of us. Whilst Saritha acknowledged the importance of a degree, she also highlighted the advantage of gaining practical skills from apprenticeships and courses, which perhaps may be more relevant for future career plans.

We really enjoyed our time with Saritha, gaining a valuable insight into this fascinating career path, and we hope to watch some of her work on TV soon!

Thea G and Deborah, LVI

Annie Llewellen-Palmer 

Charmaine and I had the pleasure of hosting Annie LLewellen Palmer, who explained to us all about her work in PR before she moved into local magazine publishing. Furthermore, it was very beneficial to speak to Annie about the launch of the Resident Magazine, a popular local glossy in South West London. As the day progressed, Charmaine and I gained more knowledge, including grasping opportunities, as well as beneficial attributes, that would be well regarded by recruiting businesses.

Katie S and Charmaine, LVI

Claire Garrett 

We had the pleasure of hosting Claire Garrett who was lovely and delightful to talk to. Being the current CEO of The Harbour Project, she shared her experiences and path of what led to her position. The volunteering work she does in aiding refugee and asylum seekers with The Harbour Project as well as supporting victims of human trafficking with the Medaille Trust is admirable and inspirational.

Beam and Annabelle O, LVI

Jo Latham

Jo Latham is the co-founder of Ebeni Limited, an engineering consultancy employing over 80 professional engineers. She received a degree in Software Engineering/Computer Science from Newcastle University and also rowed for England. Jo also now volunteers for a charity called ICUsteps, which focuses on providing information and support for those in an intensive care environment. It was particularly fascinating to hear about the ways that Jo asserted herself as a leading engineer in the male-dominated field of aerospace. We also enjoyed hearing about her rowing experience and how she balanced high-level sport with a demanding degree and job.

Daisy and Kitty, LVI

Nicola Floyd 

Nicola Floyd worked in investment banking and studied Economic History at Edinburgh University. Currently, she is working for a UK charity called Water Harvest that works to bring a sustainable source of clean water to remote communities in India and Africa. It was very inspirational hearing how she incorporated the skills she learnt in her work life with her philanthropic endeavours, and it highlights the many different opportunities available to us. She was also very encouraging about not being too worried about one particular career path, but to accept all the opportunities that were given to us. 

Sophie A and Candy, LVI

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