June 4, 2019
The digital and tech sector was the focus of a recent dinner held at Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) in Jesmond. Hosted by the school’s governors, the annual dinner, now in its third year, has been firmly established as a key event in the North East calendar.
Guests at the NHSG Governors’ Dinner included many of the most influential people in the region who were welcomed by the chair of the NHSG governing board, Patricia Alexander, managing director of the North East-based social lender Shared Interest.
Patricia says: “The aim of the NHSG Governors’ Dinner is to enable the school to showcase its fantastic work as well as to look at ways that business and schools can work together to nurture young people in the region. Guests very much valued being able to hear the views of the next generation and NHSG sixth form pupils who were seated at each table, providing the girls with an impressive opportunity to learn from some of our region’s best talent.
“Our theme for the evening was Innovation in the Digital Age and we were delighted to welcome Jim Mawdsley, CEO of Generator and head of Digital Union, as our guest speaker.
“Jim is an outstanding ambassador for the digital and tech business in the region, and at the forefront of many ground-breaking projects.”
Before Jim took to the floor, guests at the dinner heard from Michael Tippett, who was appointed as head of NHSG in September 2018. Michael set out his vision for the school explaining that “the school’s mission is to educate the future leaders and shapers of the world.” Turning to the digital and tech industry, Michael expressed his frustration at the very low percentage of women currently working in the tech industry and how schools and businesses must work together to bring about change.
He reflected on the evening: “I see the role of NHSG as educating the women who will have the drive and capacity to shape this sector. I don’t just want our pupils to go on to be the end users of tech; I want them to be at the forefront of shaping its development.”
He added that the role of the school was to “encourage more girls to follow their interest in technical and digital areas so that they can have an equal voice and place at the table.”
Jim, in his address, talked of the enormous change in the digital and tech sector in recent years and of how he is blown away by the technical and digital innovation in the region. He expressed that all businesses were now built on tech, citing END clothing as a phenomenal local example of how digital and tech platforms have been the key to “astronomical growth.”
Talking about the next generation of innovators, Jim impressed upon the guests the need for creativity.
He said: “Being creative and employing free thinking is the key because the reality is that if you don’t disrupt yourself, someone else will.”