On Monday 20th January, KEHS hosted a talk by Chief Executive of Severn Trent, Liv Garfield. The audience was made up of students from KEHS, King Edward VI Five Ways School, King Edward VI Handsworth School and Handsworth Wood Girls’ Academy. Liv spoke about her journey from studying Modern Languages at Cambridge to becoming CEO of a FTSE100 company-one of only five females to currently hold such a position
Liv talked about her role at Severn Trent, talked girls through a typical working week, including being part of the Prime Minister’s advisory council, and gave us all food for thought regarding the environment. She mentioned that as Fridays are typically more creative, backed up by research, she usually carries out her most creative tasks at the end of the week! She also spoke passionately about needing to find a job you love and the importance of satisfaction in work.
The session involved an engaging Q&A, where Liv generously gave much advice on university study, employability, facing challenges, being a working parent, leadership and time management. Her key advice for young people starting out in their career was to engage with and talk to people, as this is often the main skill needed to get on in life.
Liv advised students to learn to chat to anyone and everyone about all sorts of things and to find topic openers that allow them to connect. She spoke about the different skill set needed for the workplace. “An awful lot of work is about personality rather than being the cleverest person.” When asked what challenges she has faced in her professional journey, Liv stated that, “as a girl, the biggest challenge you’ll face is self-confidence and doubt”.
Liv asked students to consider what three things they might say if they were asked to describe their ‘brand’. She talked about a person’s three best characteristics being their ‘core’ and that you should play off these for the rest of your life. Her homework for students was to reflect on this. We are very grateful to Liv for giving of her time to deliver this engaging talk, which is sure to stay in the minds of our Lower Sixth students. Regardless of whether they already know the path they wish to follow or are not quite sure, to use Liv’s words, “your personality and ability to get on with people are what will drive your success”.