Choosing the right career path can be a daunting prospect. Edwina Dunn OBE, founder of The Female Lead is committed to inspiring and educating the next generation of young girls so that they can have the best start in life. She recently attended a careers conference at St. Paul’s School for Girls as their keynote speaker where she spoke about her own life and career and gave inspiration and advice to the next generation of young leaders.
“50% of our employees were female”
Having founded the company Dunnhumby with her husband, the reputable data scientist, Clive Humby, OBE, they achieved phenomenal success as pioneers of the first major loyalty scheme, the Tesco Clubcard. A product that still remains a household name with 20 million customers in the UK alone. By combining data and marketing they identified that matching consumers with products and services they truly wanted made for an innovative combination. Not only that, even as early as 2000 their company had a 50% employee gender split - an impressive feat and one that Edwina continues to be passionate about now, as shown by the work she does with The Female Lead by campaigning to raise the economic profile of all women.
“Fulfillment is the long term plan”
At the talk, Edwina outlined her advice for the female students at St. Paul’s. She spoke about fulfillment being the key to having a successful career. It’s not about how much money you make or doing the things you think you have to do, but rather thinking carefully about your interests and ensuring that the job and work you choose are aligned to those.
As a champion of STEM subjects Edwina also emphasised the variety of jobs available within that space and encouraged the students to pursue this focus for their careers. For her, the importance of more women in this typically male dominated space can not be overstated. “My advice is that you think about a career where you use your natural talent for logic and presenting facts.”
‘Live your dream, make that your life’s work and commitment’
Finally, Edwina wished this talented cohort all the best of their futures and ended the talk by encouraging them to always be focused on their true interests and dreams. She referenced The Female Lead’s career tool, Future Finder and their website as great places for inspiration about different jobs and varied female role models. Everyone has a cover story but thinking about their stories that lies beneath should be the true driver of these young women’s futures.