Inspiring Women: 100 girls ‘career speed date’ with high profile women including Samantha Cameron and Miriam González Durántez in Basildon

22 January 2014

The Basildon Upper Academy is the first school in the UK to host an event as part the national Inspiring Women campaign.

The campaign, run by the Education and Employment Taskforce, aims to get 15,000 women volunteering to give up an hour a year and go into a schools or colleges near where they live or work to collectively chat with 250,000 young women about their career and their experiences in life.

The “career speed dating” event is to gather 100 girls and ten highly successful women including Miriam González Durántez, Partner at Dechert LLP, and Samantha Cameron, Creative Consultant at Smythson. The ten women were:

  • Dr Margaret Aderin-Pocok MBE, Space Scientist
  • Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN
  • Clare Balding, Presenter, Writer & Broadcaster
  • Gail Bojarski, General Manager, Benefit Cosmetics
  • Samantha Cameron, Creative Consultant, Smythson
  • Miriam González Durántez, Partner, Dechert LLP
  • Mandy Hickson, former Royal Air Force fast jet pilot
  • Dame Tessa Jowell DBE, Politician
  • Chrissie Rucker, Founder, The White Company
  • Jennifer Taylor, Chief Operating Officer EMEA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Along the “career speed dating event” the charity which administers the scheme, the Education and Employers Taskforce, has organised a unique careers fair at the school with 175 women doing diverse jobs from an electrician to a shadow minister, from a lawyer to an occupational therapist, from bankers to a plastic surgeon.

Organisations being represented include:

  • Aston Martin
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • BSkyB,
  • CBI
  • Crossrail
  • Little Miss Geek
  • National Trust, NHS
  • Premier League
  • Royal Air Force
  • Sainsbury’s,
  • The Medical Women’s Foundation; and
  • The University of Cambridge.

Read the Press Release

Photographs of the ‘career speed networking’


The OECD’s Andreas Schleicher talks about the value of the Inspiring Women event he witnessed in Basildon.

E & E Andreas Schleicher from James Stokes on Vimeo.

Rita Chakrabarti reports for BBC News from our Inspiring Women event at Basildon Upper Academy