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Manchester High School for Girls

Reinvesting in the Third Sector

With the Easter holidays just around the corner, this week our students were given the oppurtunity to virtually attend our final ‘Insight Into’ careers talk of the academic year.

Wednesday 24th March saw guests from MHSG, and surrounding schools and colleges, join us online for ‘Insight into Charity and the Third Sector’ where we delved into a world of  reinvestment and giving back.

The event was part of the Manchester High School for Girls series of ‘Insight Into’ careers talks, whereby alumnae and industry professionals are invited to present an overview of their chosen career to an audience of students and their parents, from MHSG and the wider Manchester community.

Starting proceedings was Major Gifts Fundraiser at the National Theatre, Rebecca Morgan (Class of 2010). Rebecca explained how the extra-curricular programme at MHSG helped her grow from a shy 11 year old into someone who had the confidence to be Head Girl. After graduating from Leeds University with a History degree, Rebecca, embarked upon an ERASMUS scheme in France which did not live up to expectations. . Instead, she spent 6 months at an internship with the Development Team at RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music) where she cut her teeth on fundraising and learned, “you don’t know what you don’t know - so find out!”. With further experience at RIBA and the V&A, Rebecca now spends her time managing relationships and stewarding philanthropic gifts from individuals, which can range from £100 to £1million to reinvest into the work of the National Theatre. For her, customer experience is key and she has learned to utilise  her emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills to build relationships with her donors.Rebecca reflected, “failure can be a good thing – not getting into Oxford, and not enjoying the ERASMUS year, meant I made decisions which led me to have great experiences and a great career which I’m passionate about. There is merit in messing up!”

Rebecca was followed by Sophie Fox (Class of 2003), Director of Business Development and Innovation at Humankind, who confessed a career in Charity was not on her radar when she left MHSG! In fact, without an exact plan in mind, Sophie  pursued her passion forModern European Languages at Durham University and tried out several careers before finding the right one: student midwife, recruiter, customer service and policy adviser. Landing on the NHS Graduate Management Scheme, Sophie got her first taste of the third sector when she began a flexi-placement at the Terrence Higgins Trust. Finding a sector where colleagues had shared values and a passion for the service, Sophie used her transferable skills to become a bid writer in the industry. She has since worked her way up and now manages a breadth of projects at a Director level, from bid and grant writing to partnership development and service delivery. Sophie stressed the key advantage of working for a charity, “Instead of investing in hundreds of employees who receive no training and development, the need to be efficient, means charities tend to put time into understanding individual employees passions and give them the opportunity to grow.”

Our final guest on the night was Jessica Stewart (Class of 1999) who is CEO of The First Step. She fondly recalled the brilliant trips and clubs from her time at MHSG, and most importantly the French exchange trip that bolstered her confidence. Another alumna and passionate advocate for Leeds University, Jess pursued a degree in a subject she enjoyed studying - Biology. On graduating she changed tack and studied for postgraduate qualifications in Business Management and Leadership. After an initial foray into marketing, Jessica sidestepped into recycling and environmental management, where she met someone who worked for a charity raising funds through recycling, and realised, “I can do something that feels good and get paid for it!” With no vacancy available at the time, Jess went away and up-skilled herself whilst waiting for the job to open up. Her patience and determination paid off when she secured her dream role. She has since worked across six different charities supporting services ranging from environmental impact to homelessness and mental health support in a variety of functions such as operations, fundraising and development. As CEO,no two days are the same! She may be supporting service users one day and developing strategy to support income generation the next.

Finishing the session with a round of questions and answers, all our speakers agreed that with more cuts in public funding on the way, it is more important than ever that the next generation of accountants, fundraisers, lawyers, business leaders, and everyone in between, consider putting their skills to use in the third sector.

If you were not able to attend this talk,

you are now able to watch this event in full here:

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