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Future Leaders - The GDST Young Leaders Conference

10 October 2016

I really enjoyed the Young Leaders Conference this year because it gave me the opportunity to work with people I’d never met before; this has really helped my teamwork skills, which will be very useful in future jobs when I will be working with new people every day. I had already met some of the girls from the other 25 GDST schools at previous conferences and meeting up with them again for a longer period of time was really exciting.

On the first day of the conference, I was really interested in the talk from Ann Francke on gender equality, a topic that is very important to me. I thought she was truly inspirational and I am sure everyone at the conference agreed. We also did a range of activities with the Army on the first day which was not only very entertaining but also gave us the opportunity to get to know the people in our team who we’d be working with throughout the weekend.

On the second day, after a very early 7:00am start, we got to work in our teams on our main project of the conference – designing a charity event. My favourite part of the day was going into Bath with half of my team to do market research for our charity event, as I loved showing everyone around the town. The highlight of the conference for me was the formal dinner on the last night.

Despite being tired from a hard day’s work, everyone was in high spirits and I thoroughly enjoyed both the food and the company.  I woke up on the final day to something which can only be described as a mad panic. Everyone was printing out their scripts for their presentations or frantically trying to get their fellow teammates out of bed to go over their speeches one last time. However, when the time came to pitch our ideas to the judges, everyone was so composed and spoke very eloquently; the quality of every single presentation was outstanding. I thought the weekend was fantastic and I feel very privileged to have been a part of it.

Olivia Chick

Last weekend, we held the annual GDST Young Leaders’ Conference which saw around 150 sixth form students from across the 26 GDST schools come together at RHS last weekend. Their task was to work as part of a team in a competitive ‘Apprentice’ style challenge for four real charities, culminating in a presentation to a judging panel on Sunday morning and the announcement of awards. It was a particular pleasure to have the new CEO of the GDST, Ms Cheryl Giovannoni, with us over the weekend. The distinguished panel also included Ms Ann Francke, CEO of the Chartered Management Institute; Sam Davies, an accomplished single-handed sailor and GDST alumna, who has competed in two Vendee Globe races; Linn Waite, founding partner of Early Day Films Limited and Glen Fendley, Chairman of the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDEP).

This fantastic event provides the opportunity to do everything that Will Gompertz suggests is essential; it is realistic, challenging and relevant. It requires both leadership and teamwork and it relies on collaboration and involvement to reach the desired outcome. Girls are forced to get out of their comfort zones as they explore ideas, make decisions and then turn these into a marketable initiative to pitch to the judges.

It is always a pleasure to host the event at Bath; my particular thanks go to the boarders for allowing their rooms to be used over exeat and to the staff involved for their expertise, hard work, and good humour throughout the weekend.

Mrs Duncan

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