Urban Synergy were in Canary Wharf for the last corporate seminar for 2019 with students from Haberdashers' Aske’s Knights Academy, a secondary school based in Downham in Lewisham. Refinitiv role models from various departments in the company including legal, technology, recruitment were panellists and also speed mentors at the seminar.
The Refinitiv keynote speaker was Alex Cesar - Global Head of Enterprise Technology, Refinitiv Chief Technology Officer & CTO for Women in Banking & Finance (WIBF)
Alex Cesar addressed an audience of students, teachers and Refinitiv staff and said; ‘all of the things you need to do that you find less interesting, get them done to make more time to do the things you like. Work is evolving super fast - prepare yourself for the future, when the opportunities appear make sure you are there. Think about all of your options and prepare yourself.’
Kofi Siaw, a past mentee of Urban Synergy, now an Urban Synergy Ambassador and a Tax Advisor at Ernst & Young was also a keynote speaker. Kofi talked about his experiences on mentee activities and work experience with Urban Synergy and what he had learned. Kofi said ‘always experiment...play the field. The power of networks can really shape your future.’ Kofi advised the audience to ‘really live in the moment with an eye on the future.’
The Refinitiv panel were:
- Nitin Parmar - Director, Platform Advocacy
- Daniel Callaghan - Talent Acquisition Manager
- Ese Overo-Turimo - Trainee Solicitor
- Leila Thomas - Network Rationalisation Manager & Urban Synergy Founder
Nitin Parmar spoke about coming to England as a refugee, penniless, learning a different language and working hard to achieve good grades which took some time. Nitin said ‘being honest is the best way to get on. Set yourself goals, setting goals is really important. You must never really give up give up on your goals and dreams. Everything happens a step at a time, never give up.’
Daniel Callaghan talked about growing up in Essex and having a challenging time growing up with regard to his emotional well-being, he also said how a chance conversation led him to apply for his current role. Daniel told the students to think about the friends that they kept as it could influence their behaviour. Daniel said ‘make sure that you have a close network around you, be curious. Look out for opportunities and be kind.’
Ese Overo-Turimo originally had aspirations of being an actor. She talked about growing up surrounded by different cultures also about her studies and struggles to get the required A’ levels for a future in law and also about applying to train as a solicitor amidst huge competition. Ese said ‘it’s about standing out, showing what makes you unique. Don’t let go of what makes you different - believe in yourself. Don’t be scared of numbers (i.e. other applicants for jobs) really embrace your differences. Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid of making mistakes or failing - it makes you a lot stronger. Believe in yourself and try not to compare yourself to others too much, your time will come.’
Leila Thomas spoke about initially working in a male-orientated environment and learning as much as possible from different roles. Leila advised the students to ‘work hard and be organised but to also have a balance.’ In her role Leila explained that she worked with people from different cultures and like everyone else with different personalities. Leila said ‘don’t take things personally, sometimes people can be horrible. Embrace people for who they are.’
Barbara Gray - Mayoress of Lewisham was the closing keynote speaker for the seminar. Barbara told the students ‘have an idea of what you like and what you like to do, always be doing something. Work hard at school and also find opportunities outside what you do at school, volunteering can provide valuable skills. There are no shortcuts, you have to put in the work.
A student from Haberdashers' Aske’s Knight Academy thanked all of the keynotes and Refinitiv staff for giving up their morning to provide career insights to the students and said ‘I wanted to become a historian, but now I want to work for Refinitiv because they inspired me.
Student feedback has been provided below (ages 11-12/12/13yrs)
‘I will always make sure that I study and pay attention in my lessons. I have also learned that I should never take education for granted.’
‘Daniel inspired me because a lot of his life we can relate to. I will listen more and work harder. I enjoyed learning about the role models’ lives and how they got here (at Refinitiv.)’
‘The role models inspired me because they are all unique and very interesting. Also everyone who was employed went through a lot of struggles and they enjoyed their jobs a lot. I will listen to the teacher, balance my play-time/fun-time, revise when needed and try my hardest and never give up on my dreams.’
‘I will always work hard and I need to have a back up, you need more than one plan. Kofi inspired me because he grew up in Lewisham like me and now he is working in central London.’
‘I can’t think of one person to choose because the role models were all inspiring and kind. I will study hard and try my best, I will never give up and will stay strong.’