The Inspiring Females Summit 2017


Following a year of excellent feedback about the IF programme, and armed with two passionate steering groups of girls and a new brand, we wanted to create a bigger and better three-day Inspiring Females conference.


The vision... to educate more girls about the issues facing young women today, to empower them to have an authentic and confident voice, and to ultimately inspire them.


On Monday 26th June 2017, we launched our second three-day Inspiring Females (IF) Summit. An amazing 40 inspirational women volunteered their time over the three days, to mentor, inspire and deliver unique workshops for over 300 young women aged between 12-17 from six schools across Norwich and further afield.


For the first day, Inspiring Females took over the impressive OPEN venue on Bank Plain, with an inspirational line-up of 20 female panellists who attended from all walks of life and stages of their careers.


Headlining the event were keynote speakers Cheryl Giovannoni, CEO of the GDST (Girls’ Day School Trust), and award-winning BBC journalist, presenter and reporter, Samira Ahmed.


Following each presentation, the empowering panel of women joined them on stage to discuss and answer questions on themes such as ‘A Good Time to Be a Young Woman?’ and ‘Building Confidence/Taking Risks’.


The women in attendance had blazed trails in a wide variety of career paths including the creative industries, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), charities, teaching, sports, the media, finance and diplomacy.


Most of the guests delivered workshops to up to 100 young women, covering a range of themes including ‘Resilience’, ‘Becoming a role model’, ‘Achieving BIG’ and ‘Facing the challenges of being a young female leader’.

Girls were able to sign-up to their preferred sessions in advance, with highly popular choices including ‘Ladies in Law’ led by Louise Agnew and Sarah Wood from local law firm Birketts LLP, ‘Creating a distinctive brand’ by Jessica Noy - Suffolk’s Young Chef of the Year 2017, and a workshop by Norwich- based popular Youtuber, fitness blogger and ‘This Girl Can’ ambassador, Carly Rowena.


This year, the summit was also delighted to welcome guests from further afield such as Bev Shah and Jo Hind, who are both founders of career consultancy firms for women in their respective areas of expertise (Finance and Media).


The University of East Anglia was also well-represented with Laura Bowater, Professor of Mircobiology who was recruiting young women to get involved in the #notthereyet campaign which promotes equality in STEM subjects, and a guest appearance by their Head of Careers, Julie Schofield.


What made this Summit unique and stand out compared to other careers events or conferences, were the many opportunities for young women to have a voice.


At the event, the young women were able to network and chat with all panellists as well as students from fellow state and GDST schools. Opportunities for everyone to ensure their voices were heard included being able to ask questions during the Q&A panel sessions, sharing their favourite quotes and photos on a Snapchat story, and even simply writing on printed posters which were supplied on each desk. All girls were also given the opportunity to submit questions they would like to ask at the panel sessions in advance of the day – especially important for those who are not instantly inclined to stand-up and ask a question.


"You can always come back from any kind of defeat."

Samira Ahmed

IF Summit 2017

Straight after this first ambitious day, we hosted two further days; one focussing on creating a Social Enterprise, and another on Wellbeing and Activity. High calibre female mentors from influential organisations such as Google, BT, Global Media and Aviva led groups of 8/9 young women to create a unique social enterprise on the second day, and were exceptionally well supported by local entrepreneurs such as Claire Riseborough, founder of Stepintotech, and Libby Peryer, founder of Libby Ferris flowers.


On the final day, a diverse selection of guests volunteered their time to deliver informative workshops on subjects such as wellbeing, dentistry, and psychology, and ‘How to be Happy’, as well as an expanded selection of active sessions including pilates, meditation, self defence, African drumming and voice movement therapy.


The whole three-days were shaped by passionate young women covering all of the ages in attendance.


They spent the last year developing this event, following comprehensive feedback from last year’s inaugural conference, and listening to the desires of their peers. They worked collaboratively with staff and panellists to bring together this rich-array of women, to speak openly and honestly, and to deliver beneficial and enriching workshops.


All women who attended the three days volunteered their time to inspire an ‘empowered’ future generation of women, sharing their stories and experiences (good and the bad), to give these young women a head-start in launching beyond school, to gain a unique insight and understanding, and be ‘educated’ on what the real world for women may be like.

"I think that holding the summit at OPEN was a fantastic idea, making and creating a professional feel for all. Cheryl (CEO of the GDST) inspired me incredibly with her inspirational talk."


One of the girls who attended the

IF Summit 2017


Further reading


IF Summit 2017


IF Summit Programme 2017

IF Social and Wellbeing Programme 2017

IF Symposium 2016


IF Symposium Programme 2016

IF Symposium

Overview 2016



Are you an inspirational woman who would like to be a part of our pioneering programme?


Do you attend a local school who would like to participate in or even shape one of our future events?


Would you or your organisation like to support the excellent work achieved through the Inspiring Females programme?


Register your details with us below and we will contact you to discuss the many opportunities available to get involved.

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.



Norwich High School for Girls

Norwich High School

95 Newmarket Road

Norwich, Norfolk


United Kingdom


+44 (0)1603 453265