Latest News

Never a dull moment...

Inspiring Minds To Think Big!


On 12 March 2024, the RGS Foundation hosted Inspiring Minds to Think Big in the welcoming environs of the Harrison Centre. Our new Lower Sixth RGS Foundation Ambassadors were eager to participate in their first RGS Foundation event and had prepared well: they had already presented an assembly to Upper School to talk about the event and encourage participation and they used their persuasive skills to encourage fellow Sixth Formers to come along.

RGS Professionals, parents and staff, joined students from Upper School and Sixth Form to hear from four great panellists. As ever, our Inspiring Minds event is hosted alongside International Women’s Day, with the shared theme of Inspire Inclusion – an important topic regardless of your field of endeavour. As guests arrived, our RGS Foundation Ambassadors registered them and directed them to the bar, where the RGS Foundation team were in attendance ready to meet and greet.

The opportunity to network in such a relaxed venue always facilitates conversation and connection and, before the panel had taken their seats, several phone numbers had been swapped, with the intention of exploring new opportunities, such is the value of RGS Foundation networking events.

RGS Foundation Ambassador, Jasmine W compèred the evening with aplomb: incorporating her own indomitable style and panache, Jasmine was adept beyond her years. We were thrilled to have a diverse and impressive panel of four Reigatian women, comprising RGS parents and a former student and Jasmine posed thoughtful questions to each in turn before opening up questions from the floor.

First to speak was RGS parent, Mona Qureshi, Executive Producer at Netflix. With an abundance of insight into a career in the arts, there were lots of takeaways, two being: to be brave, but in your own authentic style; and to pursue something that you are passionate about and believe that you will succeed at it. Mona used the example of inclusion as something she has been passionate about and the importance of representation in the arts – both on screen and behind the scenes, emphasising that there are good careers to be had within the arts for those eager to pursue them.

Second to take the mic was RGS parent Julianne Lee, MD, Global Head of Government Affairs for Standard Chartered. Julianne spoke of the importance of brand, citing that the Reigatian brand can and does open doors to opportunity. Julianne also spoke about the importance of a support network: be it from family at home, building a strong team or finding a mentor. Julianne put into context the value of using your voice, in a constructive way, to drive the agenda and showed that, with a collaborative approach, you will be heard.

Third to speak was former pupil, Ella Harland (RGS 2004-2011), Co-Founder of Griddle. Ella discussed how she eschewed her promising career in accountancy with PWC to pursue her entrepreneurial calling and passion for food by developing a B-Corp company. Ella raised the issue of authenticity and her belief in pursuing the B-Corp certification to demonstrate business values that aligned with her own principles. This brave approach sees Ella attempt to turn the tide of the food industry as she earns her place at the table. Ella demonstrated that starting a business is not an easy move and requires dedication and hard work and challenges persist, such as raising finance with which to expand. Resilience continues to be an essential quality.

Finally, RGS parent Jane Archer was exemplary, by giving sound advice to students and professionals alike, as she described stages in her career in the world of both finance and politics. Jane brought realism to all her responses and spoke succinctly about writing your own narrative when forging a career, such that success is defined by you and not others. Jane made a particularly strong point when she spoke about making sure your are seen, so that your efforts are counted, building on the concept of being brave. Furthermore, Jane emphasised the importance of asking for help, as most people are willing to assist…and there are lessons to be learned from those who are not!

It is this latter point of surrounding yourself by the right people that the Reigatian community supports whole heartedly. The RGS Foundation puts on events, such as Inspiring Minds, to bring people together with the shared value of Reigatians supporting Reigatians.

There were plenty of questions to each of the panellists before Foundation Director, Jonny Hylton (RGS 1992-1999), closed the event. Jonny gave special thanks to our speakers, Jasmine and our other RGS Foundation Ambassadors, before taking the opportunity to inform those present of the RGS Foundation’s plans to launch our online community site later this year… the Reigatian Hub, watch this space!

View the gallery for Inspiring Minds to Think Big 2024.

Back to Latest News