Each year, the programme hosts a reception, connecting 100 successful women with 100 sixth form students from 25 schools.

The reception provides a networking environment, where ambassadors are able to impart career advice and help nurture the potential of ambitious students and students themselves can meet successful women and learn first hand from their experiences. It is an extremely valuable forum for networking.

The 2015 reception took place on March 16, hosted at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. We were delighted to have with us Farah Pandith, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations and Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, Partner at Dechert and the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister.

A note below from Lisa Thefaut, Director of Extended Learning, Ursuline High School, Wimbledon.

Powerful Connections at the Foreign Office

The Women of the Future, Ambassadors reception at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office provided an inspirational evening for Year 12 students. “Meeting ordinary women who have achieved extraordinary things shows that you mustn’t allow yourself to put up barriers up in your mind to prevent your own success”, Nema Lwanda commented at the end of the evening. Students networked with some amazing women at the top of their professions. Talking to such powerful role models was hugely motivational. “This evening showed me the power of making connections and being brave enough to ask for help” said Gemma Totman.

Amongst the women students spoke to, were Emma Wade OBE, Foreign and Security Policy Councillor at the British Embassy, Washington DC and Farah Pandith, first ever US special representative to Muslim Communities across the globe, appointed in 2009 by the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She is a global expert on counter terrorism with a special interest in combating the radicalisation of young people. Her message when she spoke to Ursuline students was them to “never be the cleverest person in the room” and “never play safe taking only jobs you can easily do, this way you will continue to learn, achieve the job you deserve and fulfil your true potential.”

We are hugely grateful to Pinky Lilani OBE, founder of Women of the Future and her sponsors Lloyds Banking Group, for her invitation to our students to this empowering reception, where 100 students from 24 schools networked with 100 incredible women in the historic and beautiful surroundings of the Foreign Office.