Judging from feedback received from participants, the 2019 “SHE LEADS: A Real World Readiness Programme”, sponsored by HSBC Bermuda and hosted by the Bermuda High School for Girls (BHS), was a huge success. “I can really say I am ready,” said one of the participants. “Ready for the real world. Ready to stand with confidence, speak my mind and empower others. Ready to keep all the tools I learned and use them to enhance my skills, my mindset and my life.”

Indeed, 100 per cent of the participants in the 2019 cohort reported that young women would benefit from attending a similar programme.

The good news is more young women will benefit from this week-long programme as it will be repeated with some modifications this July.

Once again, it will be supported by HSBC and offered to a maximum of 30 female students who have completed their penultimate year at The Berkeley Institute, or CedarBridge Academy or BHS. And once again, it will be based on a curriculum developed by BHS alumna and 2007 Rhodes Scholar, Christie Hunter Arscott, who is a gender & generations strategist, as well as a leadership advisor, researcher and keynote speaker. Linda Parker, head of BHS, is delighted the programme will continue: “We are so thankful for the support of HSBC to bring the programme to Bermuda’s future female leaders. Young women enter the workforce and face some unique challenges – some systemic and structural (for example, disparity in compensation or career advancement) and some of their own making (low self-confidence or fear of public speaking). By teaching these skills and mindsets early, these young women will be in a better position to recognise their leadership capabilities and fully realise their potential. We are so proud to be able to offer this unique programme to Bermuda’s young women and to be partnered with HSBC and have Christie’s guidance.”



Julie Butler, Programme Coordinator at BHS, explains, “The curriculum will be focused on the objectives of Empowering, Inspiring, Equipping & Connecting participants. The topics are structured around the BHS ‘I Lead’ framework, with data-driven content that is customised to meet the needs of female students in Bermuda. The sessions will take students through a journey of self-exploration and collaboration across areas including leading self, leading others and leading by example. Based on feedback from the 2019 cohort, there will be extra focus on a few areas including public speaking, personal brand, time management, investing and self-care.” However, she says, “The goal is the same – to equip the students with skills and mindsets needed to take ownership of their lives and their careers and meet the world beyond high school with purpose and personal authority.”

Together with Julie, one teacher from each institution will help with instruction and the running of the programme. In addition, Tylasha DeSilva, one of the 2019 She Leads graduates and successes, will talk to the group about her experiences with her WeBlead Initiative. Facilitating and instruction techniques will include: “group facilitation, coaching, teaching, lectures, individual exercises and reflection, and partner projects as well as team projects.” In order to increase the students’ self-confidence and self-esteem, emphasis will be placed on each participant playing an active role in the sessions.



Judy Doidge, HSBC Corporate Secretary and Executive Sponsor overseeing the partnership, stated “HSBC is pleased to have the opportunity to once again offer this programme to a new cohort of inspiring young women in our community. Now more than ever as an organization and a community, we need to find unique ways to collaborate and empower these individuals as they pursue their career journeys. This initiative allows a diverse group of today’s young women leaders to foster personal relationships and begin building their network/support systems as they work towards building their successes in the real world. Through ‘She Leads’ they will learn key life skills around entrepreneurship, embracing education and practical knowledge in finance through information sessions around savings and investing, which will also be facilitated by HSBC’s female senior bankers. We wish these deserving young women much success as they participate in the programme and look forward to seeing them leave their marks in the foreseeable future.”

Students wanting to join SHE LEADS will be asked to answer the question: ‘Why do you want to be part of the She Leads programme?’ As happened in 2019, their answers can be in any format that is meaningful to them. Says Julie, “We found that by giving them such an open forum to submit their interest, they were able to be creative and expressive. The range of entries we received was astounding – we had an original song, artwork, poetry, video – the entries were personal, creative and thoughtful and really showcased the personalities of the young women who embarked on the course. We cannot wait to see what we receive this year!”

SHE LEADS is open to students in IB1 at BHS and S3 at CedarBridge Academy and The Berkeley Institute. The programme will run in-person from 5 – 9 July 2021 at BHS, COVID allowing. Should COVID restrictions still be in place, participants may be divided into smaller groups and sessions will be held via Zoom.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, May 21st 2021. Submissions can be emailed to sheleads@bhs.bm. Large files such as videos must be sent from a file-sharing platform such as WeTransfer or YouTube. Selected participants will be notified in early June.