Natasha and Alex Taylor

We left SHS in 2018 and 2020 and went to the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. They offer a four year degree apprenticeship, on which we’ve been working on our Bachelor of Engineering Degree from the University of Warwick, whilst getting real-life, hands-on work experience in RDD (Research, Design and Development) at Dyson.

Whilst at school, we both got involved in all the STEM clubs we could and figured that engineering was the right path. But we wanted to get industry experience, rather than being totally academic for the 3-4 years whilst getting a conventional degree. We’ve found that studying for two days per week gives a thorough understanding of engineering principles, but we wouldn’t have learnt nearly as much without the three days a week of working in an engineering team!

We’ve both got involved with university life here in the small town of Malmesbury, with Tash starting the program’s Women in Engineering Society, and Alex is the secretary for the student’s representative body. Tash chose to specialise in Mechanical Engineering, and Alex stayed more broad and is on the ElectroMechanical stream.

We’ve both been able to travel with the program; since graduating, Tash chose to take a 3 month sabbatical and then to spend a year working at Dyson’s Global Headquarters in Singapore. Alex also travelled to Singapore for a two month placement, over summer. This experience has allowed us to learn about how Dyson operates as a global business from an engineering perspective, as well as furthering our understanding of the later stages of development before a project can go into production; we’ll be doing our best to remember all of these learnings when we return to Dyson UK, where the earlier stages of development happen!

We’ve visited the Malaysian offices and production lines too, which has been an invaluable experience.

Dr Alice Bunn OBE

Profession: Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Dr Alice Bunn OBE is the Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and previously International Director at the UK Space Agency, responsible for increasing the UK’s global influence in science, security and trade through space. Having joined the UK Space Agency in 2011, she led the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters, exploring how satellite images can be used to save lives. 

Alice was one of the first women to win at Marie Claire’s Women at the Top Awards in 2014. She joked at the time that, ‘in a room full of testosterone, you need a bit of oestrogen’. She is an advocate for getting women into STEM, and is deeply committed to supporting the progression and visibility of women in such a male-dominated field. Alice has championed flexible working over the last 10 years, working part-time in order to spend time with her 4 children whilst also delivering senior leadership roles at national and international levels. 

Alice has been involved in programmes to encourage students to engage with space missions and last year, delivered a TEDx talk on cooperation and leadership in the space industry. 

In addition to her day job, Alice is the first female vice chair of the Council of the European Space Agency, co-chair of the World Economic Forum council on space technologies, member of the board of the US space foundation, and fellow and council member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

We were delighted when Dr Bunn was our guest speaker at Speech Day and formally opened our new Junior School on Town Walls in September 2021.

Learn more about Dr Bunn’s fascinating career here.

Meg Heaney

Class of: 2019

Fun Fact: Head Girl 2018-2019

Profession: Studying English Literature

Wow! 18 months have flown by, and I’m now in my second year at University. I feel like I’ve crammed so much in, and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have it any other way. University has been great, filled with some incredible memories and experiences. I’m gaining more than just an English Literature degree at Exeter; from friendships formed as a part of the university’s Unileague Netball Team, meeting some of the nicest people from across the world, now undoubtedly lifelong friends from Barcelona, Jersey, Dubai and Greece, to mad social moments, and promptly losing my voice from the dreaded ‘Freshers’ Flu’!

The past 18 months have continued to build on the skills taught by the High School. Alongside my studies, I continue to tutor students in Maths and English. I was fortunate to complete an internship with a London-based publishing house and have recently attended a prestigious Open Day with a global law firm; clearly keeping all my options open! The current pandemic has given me much time to think about my future, and whilst it’s still an unknown, school and university life has taught me to embrace, sample and try everything on offer.

Deborah Lloyd

Class of: 1977

Profession: Chief Creative Officer at Kate Spade

For 10 years, Deborah Lloyd was the Chief Creative Officer at Kate Spade. Which meant she was responsible for overseeing design, store design, and creative marketing. Deborah joined the company in 2007 and made it the iconic brand that it is today.  Deborah Lloyd was a pupil at Shrewsbury High school until 1977. Whilst at school, she started her first job selling jeans at Jean Genie.

Deborah then went to Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, London, followed by the Royal College of Art where she gained a distinction. She worked as a fashion designer for many leading international companies.

Her big break was as Vice President of Women’s design at Burberry responsible for the reinvention of a classic heritage brand. After five years she was headhunted to become creative director of Banana Republic in New York when she moved to Kate Spade to become President and Chief Creative Officer.

Her advice for the current girls is to be tenacious. To stand out from the crowd and have a point of view. To always do your homework before meeting people. To have pride in your work – if something is worth doing, do it to the very best of your ability. To always be gracious. And smile, it will get you so much further!

In the autumn of 2022 Deborah returned to Shrewsbury High School to hold a Q and A with our students and was Special Guest at our Whole School Arts Show at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery.

Professor Dame Mary Beard

Profession: Classicist

Professor Dame Mary Beard is an English scholar and classicist. Professor Beard has been described by Paul Laity of the Guardian as “Britain’s best-known classicist”.

At the age of eighteen, Professor Beard won a place at Newnham College, Cambridge. Whilst in her first year at university, Beard found that some of her male peers still held very dismissive attitudes regarding the academic potential of women, which only strengthened her determination to succeed and developed her feminist views.

Mary Beard is a committed and vocal feminist and is the of ‘Women & Power: A Manifesto’. In this book, Mary revisits the gender agenda and shows how history has treated powerful women. In 115 pages, Beard traces the roots of misogyny to Athens and Rome.

Mary is a Sunday Times Bestseller who has written 18 books. Many of her books are about classics. Examples include, ‘Confronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures and Innovations’ and ‘SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome’.

Professor Beard also writes a blog, A Don’s Life, about her work, current affairs and offers advice to others on topics like the Extended Project Qualification.

Kate Phillips

Profession: Director of Unscripted, BBC

Kate Phillips was appointed Director of Unscripted in May 2022. She is responsible for the overall commissioning strategy for the full range of unscripted content, encompassing Entertainment, Documentaries, Specialist Factual, Arts & Classical Music, Factual Entertainment & Events and Daytime & Early-Peak.

Kate is accountable for the overall performance and editorial strategy of the Unscripted commissioning division, empowering each of the respective Heads of Commissioning whilst ensuring the portfolio aligns to the agreed audience and supply objectives.

Previously, Kate was Controller, Entertainment where she oversaw the entertainment strategy across BBC television and iPlayer. She commissioned more than 500 hours of original programmes a year, including shows such as Strictly Come Dancing, Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK, Freeze the Fear with Wim Hof, The Apprentice, Top Gear, The Graham Norton Show, Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel, Eurovision, The Weakest Link, I Can See Your Voice, The Hit List, The Wall, Have I Got News For You, Would I Lie To You, MasterChef, Eating with my Ex, Dragons’ Den, Comic Relief and the Bafta Film Awards.

The dynamism, enthusiasm, talent and humour which marked her out early in her career, and led her to attaining such a senior role at the BBC, are the qualities she brings to inspiring others to believe in themselves and to achieve whatever they set their sights on.

We were delighted to welcome Kate back as our guest speaker for a recent Speech Day. She gave 10 wonderful pieces of advice to the students about both school life and entering the world of work – telling them to work hard and take opportunities that come your way because you never know how far they may take you!

Professor Kate Hendry

Profession: Researcher and Chemical Oceanographer

Professor Kate Hendry is a Chemical Oceanographer who explores the deep sea, from the Arctic to the Antarctic! As well as a chemical oceanographer, Kate is a Palaeoclimatologist which means she studies of past climates. Paleoclimatology is crucial in helping us to understand climate change today. Diving deep into the abyss, there are biological systems that live away from the light, which people have only just begun to explore. Dr Kate Hendry is one of those people!

Kate left Shrewsbury High School to study an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences at Cambridge University. After that, she carried out a doctorate in Antarctic biogeochemistry at Oxford University. Following that, Kate worked for 18 months at Oxford after completing her thesis as a postdoctoral research associate, before moving to the US for over two years as a postdoctoral scholar at Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institution.

Kate moved back to the UK, initially as a Research Lecturer at Cardiff University, then as a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. She has published over 40 well-cited, peer-reviewed papers, with over 700 citations. Professor Hendry works at the British Antarctic Survey and made the very successful maiden scientific voyage of the RRS Sir David Attenborough in the Southern Ocean, where she was co-chief scientific officer, heading up a team with majority female polar scientists – particularly notable when you consider how recently oplar science was more or less exclusively male.

Kate returns to SHS to tell pupils all about deep-ocean ecosystems. The talks are inspiring for pupils considering marine biology as a career but also for the rest of the pupils who get to hear all about Kate’s successes after leaving the High School which puts into practice that there really is no limit to what a Shrewsbury High School girl can achieve in the world of science!

Kate’s advice for future scientists is to stay broad in your studies and get a good grounding across the board. She advises aspiring scientists to get involved and take full advantage of the opportunities out there to work in science with volunteer organisations, charities, museums, and so on. She advises that, the more people you talk to, the more exciting science you will be able to find out about!

Amy Williams

Class of: 2010

Profession: Founder and CEO of Good-Loop, the ethical marketing company

At the age of 15, Amy Williams went to do work experience at an advertising agency and was inspired by the way that the team worked together to solve complex business problems. Fast forward to today and she is the founder and CEO of the ethical marketing company Good-Loop.

Amy left Shrewsbury High School in 2010, with 11 GCSE’s and 4 As at A-level, to continue her studies at the University of Warwick where she achieved a First Class Honours Degree in Psychology.

6 years after her first work experience placement, Amy graduated and emerged into the world of marketing and advertisement. Amy worked for Oglivy as part of a graduate programme after doing an internship there. During that time, she worked for British Airways managing campaigns across the UK and Ireland, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

But she didn’t stop there! Amy noticed that the more she learnt about the industry, the more she started to feel that the brands were disconnected from the customers. She sensed that it was time for a positive solution. So, alongside her co-founder, Daniel Winterstien, she launched Good-Loop.

Good-Loop aims to connect people, brands and good causes in more meaningful and effective ways. They turn advertising money into charitable donations. The company is partnered with charities like Water Aid and Save the Children.

After only a few months, they received backing from the biggest adtech startup accelerator in London and gained investment from a whole host of specialised and connected investors. Amy hopes to continue to drive Good-Loop forward and make online advertising more effective, more rewarding and more ethical.

Amy has also been named as one of Forbes 30 under 30 as well as being one of the UN Women’s 100 Leading Global Female innovators. Amy spoke at our Speech Day in 2019 where she talked about the importance of being resilient which is a trait she had to develop whilst trying to set up Good-Loop. Amy told everyone that you shouldn’t let rejections stop you from achieving your goals because she certainly didn’t and look at where she is now!

In 2023 Amy moved to New York to grow her business in the US market.

Emma Jones CBE

Profession: Author and Founder of Enterprise Nation

Emma Jones CBE is a business expert and best-selling author of business books such as Working 5 to 9 and The StartUp Kit. Emma is the founder of Enterprise Nation. She launched the company back in 2005 and, since then, it has grown to be a community of over 75,000 people, all of whom have been able to start and grow their businesses.

Following a degree in Law and Japanese, Emma joined international accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where she worked in their London, Leeds and Manchester offices and set up the firm’s Inward Investment practice that attracted overseas companies to locate in the UK.

She hosts the popular one-day business class StartUp Saturday in London, and speaks at several other business events. Emma regularly appears in the media commenting on small business issues.

In June 2012, Emma was awarded an MBE for Services to Enterprise. In November 2015, Emma was appointed as a Business Ambassador with a focus on increasing international trade. In February 2019 Theresa May appointed Emma to co-chair the Prime Minister’s Small Business, Scale-up and Entrepreneurs Business Council.  Emma was awarded the rank Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2021

Dr Carol Homden CBE

Profession: Chief Executive at Coram, Children's Charity

After finishing at Shrewsbury High School, Carol studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia and did a doctor of the arts in Contemporary British Drama.

After graduating, Carol was the director of Marketing and Development at the University of Westminster.

Carol was the Director of Marketing and Public Affairs at The British Museum between 1999 and 2003 where she was responsible for all public-facing for one of the leading visitor attractions in the world. After that, Carol was the Commercial Director at The Prince’s Trust for 4 years.

Now, Carol is the Chief Executive at Coram. Coram was established in 1739 as the first dedicated children’s charity, Coram is today a group of specialist charities providing social care, legal, education and advocacy support across the UK and beyond. The role of group Chief Executive is characterised by national policy, research and development.

Carol is also chair of the National Autistic Society. Carol was awarded CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2013 for all of her amazing work for children and families.

Molly Huxley

Class of: 2019

Profession: Studying Fine Art

After finishing my A Levels at SHS, I came back to work at the school as a marketing intern for six months. My time as marketing intern was fantastic, it gave me so many valuable skills for my degree and beyond. The teachers at SHS helped me to navigate my year out before starting university as they gave me so much support with finding the perfect course to suit me – even after I’d left town walls! I am now studying Fine Art at the University of Leeds which has been amazing so far.

Over the summer, I helped organise a SHS alumnae art event, which we named “The Art of Lockdown”. It was amazing to meet with other artist alumnae to see what they’ve been up to since leaving school. I know that I can use our alumnae network to set up future shows and to find more exciting opportunities. You really are an SHS girl for life, you can always find someone to help you get to where you want to be.

Sophie Bayliss

Class of: 2018

Profession: Degree Apprenticeship in Aeronautical Engineering

I left SHS in 2018 after completing my A-Levels and being at the school for 7 years. After leaving I went on to study Aeronautical Engineering through a degree level apprenticeship at Airbus.   This opportunity, working in a world leading engineering company whilst having my degree paid for and not having to leave home, I couldn’t turn down.

I have just started my third year and over the past 2 years, not only have I achieved my foundation degree, an NVQ level 2 in Aircraft Fitting and ILM level 3, but have worked in several departments across the business, getting a taste of the variety of work which is available.

When I left SHS I didn’t want to go straight to university, I wanted to go out into the real world and earn my own way which the school had so well prepared me for. This opportunity has allowed me to do just that as well as developing my career and opening many doors for me.

Alongside work and uni I am a STEM Ambassador, just one of the doors which was opened to me through Airbus but I now take outside of the company. I not only provide support to young people looking to embark on STEM careers but also anyone looking for a route through further/higher education which isn’t directly through university such as the path I have chosen.

Victoria Bacon and Sarah Hope MBE

Profession: Co-Founders of Elizabeth's Legacy of Hope Charity

Victoria and Sarah co-founded the Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope Charity in 2011 which works to bring opportunities and vital support for children who have lost their limbs through war, accidents, and lack of access to medical care. The lives of the Hope family changed dramatically in April 2007, when a bus collision led to Sarah’s two-year-old daughter Pollyanna suffering a below-the-knee amputation, and leading to the death of Pollyanna’s grandmother, Elizabeth Panton.

Today, thanks to the excellent care of surgeons and prosthetics in the UK, Pollyanna leads a happy and active life, and is able to walk, play and go to school just like her friends. Yet the Hope family have always been aware that, for many child amputees in less developed countries, this kind of expert support is simply not available.

In memory of Elizabeth and inspired by the resilience and courage of Pollyanna, Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope is making great change and helping children around the world to do the things that every other child can do like go to school and play with their friends. Through the generosity of their supporters in the UK, they bring hope and brighten the future for every child we help.

So far, they have changed the lives of over 250 child amputees in Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and India. They have done this by improving access to prosthetics or other mobility devices and ensuring that they are able to have surgeries and aftercare. They are committed to providing medical support to each individual child until it stops growing. On top of this. They support the integration of child amputees into schools, by paying for school fees, books and uniforms for one year.

Sarah Hope was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list for campaigning tirelessly for child amputees and road crash victims.

These two women are truly inspiring and we are proud that they are a part of our Shrewsbury High School Alumnae family. Their advice to current pupils of the school is to always believe in yourself, to live life to the full and to smile a lot!

Susannah Gill

Fun Fact: Susannah is a World record holding marathon runner

Profession: Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs for the UK Tote Group

Susannah Gill is a world record holding marathon runner. She won the World Marathon Challenge after completing seven marathons across seven continents in seven days. She does this alongside being the Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at the UK Tote Group.

She set out to complete the London Marathon. Now, marathon running has literally taken her around the world.

Over the past decade, she has completed 45 marathons, including 10 London Marathons, with a fastest time of 2 hours 58 minutes. Gill ran the gruelling 295km (183 miles) of the World Marathon Challenge in a world record time of 24 hours 19 minutes 9 seconds. She ran the final race in Miami on Wednesday night in 3:26:24. Gill finished second in the first marathon in Antarctica but won each of the remaining six marathons – all run over the standard 26 miles 385 yards (42.2km) – on her way to overall victory. Competitors landed in Cape Town, South Africa on 29 January before travelling to Antarctica for the first marathon, where temperatures dropped as low as -35C. Just two days later in Perth, Western Australia – and having run a marathon in Cape Town the day before – Gill battled soaring temperatures of 35C.

She began running at University to keep fit but she didn’t do any competitions. She lived in London for two years and wanted to attempt the London Marathon. She completed it and has done every year since.

Beginning in the snow and freezing conditions of Nova in Antarctica, Gill then flew to South Africa for the second leg in 30C heat. The final five marathons were run at night and, with time zones blurring, the runners had to adapt to a strange routine.

Gill hopes that her achievements will help inspire other women to take up running. “I had no greater ambition than to run one marathon. I fell in love with running and if I can do this then lots of other people can too”.