05 April 2019

Sevenoaks Women in Busines

A student-led seminar with five exceptional women speakers

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On a term time Tuesday evening in March, Sevenoaks welcomed five exceptional speakers to a Women in Business seminar in The Space. The event, organised by three Sixth Form students, Rosie Peachey, Sarah Dooley and Mathilda Jarvis, was aimed at bringing together successful women to share their experiences in order to inspire future generations of women and offer them guidance on how to excel in their chosen career paths. All funds raised were donated to charity. The evening buzzed with positive energy as the all-female powerhouse panel spoke about their career journeys. The tenacious five, Emma Hope (OS 1980), Sonalee Parekh, Samantha Broadfoot, Isabella De Michelis and Christel Aranda-Hassel are all independent, brave women who aren’t afraid to keep progressing in their careers; they overcome obstacles and to use Samantha Broadfoot’s words, if they engage in an assignment, they ‘do it to the max’.

Emma Hope (OS 1980) spoke of her break into the world of fashion, when she got her first shoe orders off the back of an article about her creations published in Harper’s magazine. She faced difficulties in her field but overcame them. She suggested to the audience that one tool for success is to try to differentiate yourself from others. Sonalee Parekh spoke of her decision to move to London from a reformed Quebec as one which prepared her for life’s rollercoaster. Speaking about her female role in the ever-changing TMT area of investment banking, she described how, after having children, she was no longer asked to join training schemes and do anything extra, and this was a disappointment, but as a broad thinker her advice to females starting their careers is to always ask to be included and communicate what your workload capacity is, especially when you return to work after maternity leave.  In a changing business world where women are now beginning to gain ground on men in leadership roles, the entire female panel agreed that sacrifices are made when you decide to have a family, but as Christel Aranda-Hassel mentioned, millennials are better at sharing commitments, so the upcoming generation of women in business will benefit from change. Isabella De Michelis explained how she survived in an all-male working environment when she started out in a space engineering company. She had to find her niche and prove herself, but is a firm believer that good mentors and self-belief will help you to get to the next level. Like the other speakers, she agreed that to be successful, you need to be able to push yourself out of your comfort zone. With all this incredible advice, the speakers were applauded and the evening drew to a close after many questions from the attentive audience. Rosie, Sarah and Mathilda were delighted to have raised money for two worthy charities, Women 4 Women Africa and The Girls Network. who in turn were extremely grateful for the money raised.


Mathilda Jarvis, L6

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