Tracy Edwards MBE leads International Women’s Day panel at Elvin

On 8th March, the Elvin community marked International Women’s Day by welcoming a panel of high profile and inspiring women to speak to pupils from years 9-13 and specially invited guests. The keynote speaker of the event, titled ‘Women who dare for greatness’, was Tracy Edwards MBE, one of the world’s most successful female sailors, who skippered the first all-female crew in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race, and became the first woman to receive the Yachtsman of the Year Trophy.

The panel, co-chaired by the TV presenter Rae Duke and our very own Head Girl Olufunke Moronfolu, also included: comedian Sindhu Vee; Lucy Heller, CEO of Ark; Almeena Ahmed-Ashraf, broadcast journalist; Rabbi Rebecca Qassim Birk; Ndidi Okezie, Executive Director at Teach First; Stephanie Maurel, Sport England; Victoria Tchoudakov, Google; Dr Evadney Keith, St John and Elizabeth Hospital; Harpreet Sondh, Hewlett-Packard; and Federica Cucè Buehlmann, Marshall Wace.

Tracy told pupils that she is planning on using Maiden, the yacht on which she competed, as an ambassador for girls’ rights and to show there are no limits to what women can achieve: “I want my daughter to grow up in a world where men and women work together for equality”.

After the panel event, pupils had the chance to network with the panelists, asking them questions on topics ranging from CV and interview tips to what inspired them in their career choices.

Roshni, Year 11, said “It was really good to find out so much about these women, when you see someone standing in front of you confident, you don’t always realise what they’ve been through to get where they are. The thing I will take away from today is that no matter how many times you fail, keep trying.”

The event was organised in collaboration with The Girls’ Network, a charity which inspires and empowers young women by connecting them with a network of positive female role models and providing an award-winning mentoring programme and events. We are currently working with the girls network to provide mentoring for a group of girls in years 10 and 12.

Miss Bates, said, “I’m delighted that we had such an impressive panel of highly successful women coming to mark International Women’s Day at our school. We encourage our pupils to follow our school motto of magna aude, which means ‘Dare for greatness’, and it is fantastic that they are hearing from women who truly embody this.”