STEM Role Model Seminar at Thomson Reuters

Nigel Role Model Seminars

On Monday 24th April, 65 pupils from Christ the King Sixth Form College, attended an Inspirational Role Model Seminar at Thomson Reuters, Canary Wharf.

Thomson Reuters have been partnering with Urban Synergy (the award-winning, early intervention mentoring charity) to deliver a series of Inspirational Seminars for school children from the London Borough of Lewisham. The Role Model seminars enable students to enjoy the experience of visiting a corporate office and to access role models which include graduates from across the many Reuters departments with a focus on the tech industries to encourage awareness of the STEM sector to young people.

Founded in 2007, Urban Synergy helps over 1,000 young people per year between 11-18 years of age reach their full potential through outcome focussed mentoring programmes and inspirational seminars.

Through their Inspirational Seminars, which also take place in schools throughout the school year, young people gain access to a wide variety of professional role models with the aim of providing an opportunity to hear personal stories and tips for success, gain insights into different professions, and inspiring the children to reach for success.

Thomson Reuters have now hosted six Inspirational Seminars over the last 18 months for over 500 primary & secondary school children. These events have been supported by more than 100 volunteer role models from across Reuters’ business.

The seminar was opened by Rob Newnes-Smith, Vice President Enterprise Business Systems, Thomson Reuters who welcomed the students and staff. Rob gave his own ‘top tip’ to the students:

“Be clear on what you’re good at, learn throughout your career how to put it into practice.”

The pupils then got to experience an interactive panel discussion which was facilitated by Lesley-Anne Miller from Urban Synergy. Panelists Geoffrey Diangana, Product Manager (and Christ the King alumni), Kala Parameswaran (Technical Team Lead), Naqib Ahmed (Business Graduate) and Effie Robertson (Head of Platforms Architecture) – shared their personal experiences as well as some great advice:

Kala Parameswaran
“Keep reinventing yourself, try new solutions…don’t be shy to try things out”

Geoffrey Diangana
“Networking is one of the important things you can do”
“if you fail to try a different route”

Naqib Ahmed
“Really explore and understand different roles”

Effie Robertson
“Curiosity is really important don’t be afraid to try things”

Next came the main part of the seminar – ‘speed mentoring’ round table discussions where 20 Reuters volunteers took part. This provided a more informal environment for students to meet with the Role Models and learn about their experiences; rotating the tables every 5-6 mins to ensure that the students got to meet with a wide and varied group of professionals.

In closing, Janet George, teacher of Science said:
“It was useful and important for the students to speak first hand to professionals working in the STEM based roles at a prestigious company. Many students were able to ask pertinent questions as a fact finding exercise and some would have been inspired by what they saw and heard. It was a great event.”

“The seminars are a great way for students to be introduced to the corporate world and to meet with tangible and accessible role models. Urban Synergy would once again like to thank the Thomson Reuters role models for participating in the seminar and helping to make it such an amazing success!”Leila Thomas, Urban Synergy Founder and Thomson Reuters Project Manager

Feedback from Students

Following the seminar, students gave their feedback on the impact of the early careers advice they received from the role models:

“I need be more curious and not be afraid to face new challenges’

“I will do more research into the career I want to do and try and find work experience in that field“

“I learned a few tips on how to be successful for example, always be curious and don’t be afraid to ask questions”

“I learnt that work experiences are the best way to start your future taking risks and not being afraid to try new things and failing. I will ask more questions and be open minded about my future and go on work experience, even if it has nothing to do with my path.”

“I’ve learnt of various ways to pursue my dream. I’ve also learnt of ways to gain work experience.”

“I will apply for two places to take part in voluntary work in order to gain work experience.”

“I will go to university.”

Olivia, 17
“I learnt that to be successful I need to have a genuine interest in my job so that when challenges occur I am able to overcome them and come up with solutions.”


I learned to:
“Be impulsive”
“Give your CV out in person”
“Get a cool hobby”

“I will network and take the time to learn”

“I need to be curious, never give up and stay motivated“

“I learnt that it is good to think outside the box and that not everything goes to plan, so be open-minded and curious.”