“A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.

On Wednesday 13 September Group CEO Elizabeth Vega OBE was honoured to deliver a keynote address at Loreto Grammar School’s end-of-year celebratory Speech Night.

Addressing 2,000 Loreto Grammar School students, their parents, and teachers at Manchester’s impressive Bridgewater Hall, at the kind invitation of the school’s inspiring Head Teacher Jane Beever, Elizabeth gave the keynote in which she shared her experiences and insights on how to discover superpowers, explore career pathways, and navigate some of the challenges life can throw at you.

The night was a joyful celebration of the power of purpose, learning, and commitment. The evening started with a showcase of fantastic entertainment from the school’s highly talented young musicians, actors, and singers. The various performances took the audience on a journey that was fun, happy, and uplifting, and at times also sobering, giving cause to reflect on society’s challenges  – past, present, and future.

Elizabeth’s talk felt more like a personal chat with the girls rather than a formal speech, sharing thoughts and anecdotes from her own career and personal journey, explaining how we will all face headwinds, prejudice, bias, and barriers and that fulfilment and success lie in having a sense of adventure, finding the company of good and supportive people, and developing personal resilience, perseverance and self-awareness.

Having encouraged countless graduates and young people through their early careers, Elizabeth invited the girls and young women to find the courage and curiosity to explore what their future can look like, with an open mind and an open heart, imploring: “Ask yourself, how can I make a positive difference to the world? What are my personal superpowers and how do I harness them? What possibilities excite and motivate me sufficiently that I’m willing to work through the inevitable challenges and setbacks? What would a life ‘well-lived’ look like for me? In my view, these are the foundations of building a purposeful, satisfying, fulfilling, and successful career.”

Quoting American author John A. Shedd, Elizabeth ended her address with “A ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.

Elizabeth said of the evening: “It was a privilege and a pleasure to contribute to Loreto’s impressive event, joining them in celebrating the school’s “Outstanding” Ofsted results and the students’ purpose-led work, love of learning, impressive STEM achievements, and looking ahead with optimism towards how the girls can build bright futures for themselves.

“I hope that it in some way encouraged our young women to lean in and take-up their places as future entrepreneurs, experts and leaders, across our communities, professions, business and government.”