In 2009, we launched a biannual conference called North East Women (NEW) Leaders which aims to inspire and help 16 – 18 year old girls from across the region to focus on leadership, as well as helping to raise the aspirations of young women in the North East.
The fact remains that while girls outperform boys at school, women are still under-represented in the top positions in the work place and we aim to confront this issue by giving girls the opportunity to hear from inspirational women who have been successful and to learn about leadership characteristics and skills.
NHSG Sixth Formers were immersed in the world of female leadership at our NEW Leaders Conference 2019 in Newcastle on Monday 16th September. Pupils were joined by girls from Whitburn Academy, Monkseaton High School, Dukes Secondary School and Walbottle Campus to attend the fourth conference in the history of our North East Women’s (NEW) Leaders series, this year hosted at Northumbria University.
The aim was to inspire girls aged between 16 and 18 from schools across the region, and help them to develop personal leadership skills to enable them to take a leading role in whatever future career or profession they choose, as well as to challenge gender inequalities across all places of work. Female leaders from the world of business, education, technology, journalism and the arts shared their knowledge and expertise with over 450 young women, the aim of the event to supercharge the future of the next generation of female leaders by providing exposure to women who have reached the top of their professions.
Alongside keynote speakers and talks, girls made their way around a carousel of Power-Up workshops delivered by female business leaders from the North East and beyond. These practical, interactive sessions covered topics from presentation skills to interview techniques, personal branding and networking, with workshop leaders candidly sharing their knowledge and experiences from the world of business.
To deliver the conference, NHSG worked in partnership with Northumbria University, Newcastle and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), with further support from Ernst Young who sponsored the programme for the day. Opening the conference, Mr Tippett said:
“The theme of the conference is to be fearless and to be you, so I hope you will use that spirit when approaching all of the sessions that you’ll have access to through today’s event.”
Mr Tippett’s opening was followed by an introductory speech from Debbie Edwards, the CEO of FDisruptors, a careers platform to help emerging generations of young people to navigate the way in which multiple sectors are changing, particularly in technology.
Next to take the floor was Sarah Glendinning, regional director of the CBI. Reflecting on the event, she said:
“Ensuring each and every young person in our region has access to excellent careers advice and guidance is a personal passion of mine and is why I was delighted to speak at the NEW Leaders conference. Through my involvement with the LEP’s North East Ambition programme I have been delighted to see the progress made in linking businesses with schools and I know that events like this can have a significant positive impact on our young people. We must encourage the young women – and men – in our region to be the best they can be; to have confidence in themselves and their abilities and support them on that journey. NEW Leaders reinforced for me that I am right to have high hopes for the next generation of female leaders from our region and I encourage them all to channel their inner Wonder Woman.”
Other keynote speakers included Ann Francke, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute and an expert on gender balance in the workplace.
Speaking on behalf of Northumbria University, senior lecturer Natalia Blagburn said:
“Northumbria University Business School is thrilled to host the NEW Leaders conference, which has been designed to inspire, empower and support young women from across regional partner schools. We are keen to spark conversations, create new connections and cultivate passions about building futures.”
A clear theme underpinning the day was fearlessness, confidence and the fact that everyone has leadership qualities to offer, whatever career path they choose.
The event is part of NHSG’s ambition to create the next generation of female leaders, trailblazers and world shapers. We want the region’s young women to be fearless, while still being true to themselves and working to their own passions and strengths. Above all we want them to believe that there are no limits to what they can achieve.
Our next New Leaders Conference will take place in 2021.