The Lumsden Club has found its footing. Pimms, The Secret Garden Party, the occasional Ma Bells takeover – all have been welcome occurrences over the years. The Winning Women Conference, however, stands a step above the rest in both quality and pure innovation. In addition to filling a much-needed niche within the St Andrews community, the conference perfectly exemplifies the leading goals of the Club: to support women and to raise money for charity.
Held in support of Fife Women’s Aid, this year’s Winning Women Conference boasted an impressive lineup of speakers. The sold-out crowd heard from a range of leading industry figures, including a Fidelity executive and a Christie’s director. The women’s speeches came on the heels of a networking reception (wine inclusive), another incentive to attend the event. Students were able to share one-on-one conversations with the speakers, an intimate attribute to what could have been a lecture-like evening. Also present at the reception were representatives and merchandise from the conference’s sponsors: Allen & Overy, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Nomura.
Every speaker fully delivered on Winning Women’s promise to inspire. St Andrews graduate Amanda Forsyth, now a top fund manager at Murray Asset Management, was moved nearly to tears during her own speech, as she praised the ambition demonstrated by the attendees during the reception. Speaker and moderator Olga Loffredi further established the atmosphere when she challenged us to identify our “because,” our ultimate motivation to succeed in life. During the ensuing discussion session, many girls stood to name their mothers as their inspirations, their mentors, and their “because.”
The conference culminated on a powerful note: The speakers, expressing their gratitude to the audience, began to applaud the room. They were rapidly followed by their guests, and very soon Parliament Hall was filled with the sound of girls and women cheering for each other. It encapsulated the exact notion of Winning Women, that of mutual support and female empowerment. I look forward to seeing the conference in its 2017 iteration!