On Friday 5th September, top professional women backed the third North East Women Leaders (NEW Leaders) conference which aims to inspire and help 16 – 18 year old girls from across the region to focus on the importance of developing their leadership characteristics and skills, as well as helping to raise the aspirations of young women in the North East.

The Conference saw some of the region’s high flying women and emerging talent coming together to both inspire and offer guidance to girls from across the North East on how to find and define their own routes to success and make it to the top in whatever context they choose.

Northumbria University hosted this all-day event on its prestigious City Campus East. Over 400 16 to 18-year-old girls from North East schools, including Newcastle High School for Girls, Sacred Heart School and Excelsior Academy in Newcastle, Harton Technology School in South Shields, St Anthony’s School in Sunderland and Churchill Community College in Wallsend, attended to listen to words of wisdom from high profile speakers representing business, the arts and public life including: Dr Jane Turner, Associate Dean Business and Engagement, Northumbria University; Jane Purdon, Director of Governance at football’s Premier League; Sarah Green, Director at CBI, Professor Plummer, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Clinical Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine, Northern Institute for Cancer Research, and Mags Vaughan, CEO Traidcraft.

In addition, over 30 successful women leaders from across the region pledged their support by acting as mentors at the event – giving the girls attending maximum opportunity to meet and learn from them.

The third NEW Leaders Conference programme was developed by Newcastle High School for Girls GDST -highlighting its commitment to developing and preparing girls for courageous leadership in whatever career they choose to pursue – in association with Northumbria University, the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, Schools NorthEast and NCJ Media.

Hilary French, Headmistress at Newcastle High School for Girls said: “The importance of developing leadership skills for women cannot be overrated and it is crucial to start developing these skills early. It is essential that education in school is about more than exam results, the saying that ‘exams open doors but skills lead to a desk to sit at’ is so true. This is exactly what Newcastle High, our new School is all about, we want to champion young women in the region and provide them with the tools they need to grow in to strong inspirational leaders who will define their own routes to success, and make it on their own terms.

“Newcastle High School for Girls has received enormous support for this project and I am extremely grateful to our partners, speakers and mentors for helping us to deliver a third inspirational NEW Leaders conference.”

Dr Jane Turner, Associate Dean Business and Engagement at Northumbria University, who hosted the NEW Leaders Conference said: “Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University is delighted to be hosting this conference and supporting the development of leaders.  To tackle future global challenges, the next generation of leaders will require resilience, creativity, compassion, courage, purpose and integrity.  We want to provide an opportunity for young women to reflect upon the requisite attributes and provide a place and a space for them to engage with leaders and imagine what they could achieve if they challenged embedded assumptions and realised their own potential.”

Beccy Earnshaw, Director SCHOOLS NorthEast said: “This is a fantastic event bringing together women and future leaders. A review of the North East economy shows that we have a leadership skills gap. It’s vital that we nurture young talent, helping women to step up to existing opportunities and to create their own. Despite progress made there are still too few women in leadership positions both regionally and nationally. This conference is an important first step in developing our future women leaders.”

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