Guest Speakers

Vicky Brackett

Vicky Brackett is the Chief Commercial Officer at Irwin Mitchell, which is one of England’s leading law firms; she has an impressive record of senior roles within law firms, covering responsibilities as diverse as recruitment, services for high net wealth clients and the strategic growth of the entire firm. She recently visited The Grove School and spent a valuable afternoon speaking to students. Firstly, all of Year 10 had an engaging presentation by Vicky, then she spent some time with our students who had applied for a bespoke Q&A session. Vicky finished her time talking candidly with Sixth Form students about her experiences in the legal profession and the opportunities available to those that are willing to be brave and to try new things.

Vicky’s top tips:

  • Do something you love, every day.
  • Stretch and challenge yourself daily.
  • Be free-thinking. Open your mind to where new opportunities may come from, whether that be learning another language or meeting new people.
  • Be brave.
  • Things change; mistakes can almost always be corrected. Dream big and do not let doubts or worries hold you back.

Vicky’s top tips for interviews:

  • Be yourself.
  • Be calm.
  • Hold you head up high and be confident with who you are.
  • Whoever is interviewing has already decided that they see potential in you – there is something that they like. This is why they have called you for interview. Know in your own mind that there is something positive you can bring to the company.
  • Light up the room. (Interviewers can get tired during a long day, so brighten the day for them and they will remember you).
  • Have two special things about yourself ready to share at any moment.
  • Show that you really want the job and to work at that specific place.
  • Do not be scared of saying ‘I don’t know’.

A big thank you to Vicky for giving up her time to share her brilliant advice with our students – check out some of the other inspirational speakers who have visited with our students, outlined below:

Sir David Leas

  • Chairman of the Court of the Bank of England.
  • Director of multiple FTSE 100 Index companies (including Tate & Lyle PLC and GKN Sankey Limited).
  • Member of the Board of the Royal Opera House and 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery.

Dr Matt Kearney

  • National Clinical Director for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, NHS England.

Kayode Damali 

  • Top 10 of the ‘Top 100 Most Powerful Young Entrepreneurs in the World’.
  • Contestant on The Apprentice.

Ben Dyer 

  • Award winning Entrepreneur.
  • Co-Founder of the UK’s largest Enterprise Challenge.

Tim Maccabee

  • MD of Ducati UK.
  • One of Britain’s most successful business leaders.
  • A man who did not come from a privileged background, who did not have a degree and who did not have anything handed to him … but who became the Managing Director of Ducati in early 2005 and has since led the company to great success, being valued at over one billion pounds (this makes it a more valuable company than Instagram and other social media companies).

Helen Steers

Helen Steers, a partner in Pantheon’s European Investment Team with a BA and MA in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, spoke to students virtually. First, Helen spoke to all of Year 8 during a highly engaging and interesting Q&A, where she answered questions from students and staff. After this, Helen spent twenty minutes speaking with our STEM Potential students about her experiences in the private equity sector. Helen’s messages were inspiring for students, encouraging them to say ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as possible and making it clear that their future paths are not already decided. She spoke about her work with GAIN and Level 20 – two groups which champion roles and opportunities for women in investment – and made students aware of the value in listening to others. Diverse groups make better decisions, working together to get the best from each other. Thank you, Helen.

Jonny Searle MBE

Jonny’s key takeaways:

“There are no real ‘secrets to success’ or any such checklists – instead, try to look at the world in an open way, recognise what you want to achieve and accept what you can (or can’t) do to influence it”.

Circles of control:

– The main circle is yourself (have belief in yourself and value the importance of making little differences).

– The next circle is other people (you can possibly influence them but you can’t control them).

– We say that we have no control over a situation but we need to ask ourselves if that is really true. There are times when we CAN take some control, even if it’s only a small change or adaptation.

  • Recognise that everyone is different. Do not look at the world only through your own eyes.
  • ‘We see the world not as it is, but as we are.’
  • Understand what matters to you and then do what matters to you.
  • Don’t use energy on things you can’t control.
  • ‘Success’ and ‘happiness’ aren’t the same thing. Define for yourself what success is. Use your strengths to work in that space and progress.
  • Our interests and our loves change with time.

Sophie Aldrich