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Annabel Warner, MGC 2002 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Annabel Rayner

When reading Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, her opening remarks struck a chord with me.  She said that when young people are asked ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ it has an implied finality. That you grow up and you become what you wanted to be, then that’s the end.  She said – and I agree – that that clearly is not true in today’s society.

When at MGC, I was pretty sure that all I wanted to be ‘when I grew up’ was a broadcast news journalist – Kate Adie style.  I heeded the advice of the careers team and avoided applying to a pure broadcast journalist degree and instead set my heart on studying Government at LSE.  I got a place. Win. Yet I decided to defer for a year – opting for a gap year adventure instead.  Looking back, it was ultimately that gap year which changed my life path. 

I worked in bars. I sold double glazing. I spent 3 months working on a marine project in Fiji.  I also completed a short internship in the House of Commons working in the office of the Leader of the Official Opposition. That was an eye opener if ever I saw one.  Yet it wasn’t that particular opportunity which fundamentally changed stuff for me. It was two weeks work experience at The Citizen Newspaper in Gloucester where I was offered a trainee reporter job.

I was advised to defer university for another year and if I didn’t like the job, I could always take up my place a year later.  So that’s exactly what I did.  The truth of the matter though is I loved the job and I never made it to university. I then landed a job in the House of Commons as Parliamentary Press Officer to Jeremy Hunt MP.  Westminster life was fantastic and I found myself in situations where I was briefing the likes of David Cameron and Theresa May.

I moved back to Gloucestershire when I started a family and I spent a fun few years at Nestle Nespresso as Head of PR, Events and Sponsorship where I remained until I received a call from Dyson inviting me for interview early last year.

Life at Dyson is fantastic – a British technology business which is brimming with incredibly intelligent and talented individuals who challenge and inspire each other daily.   While I am not an engineer, I work alongside those that are day in, day out.  What is amazing to see is how Dyson is inspiring more and more women into the engineering profession. Dyson has its own university, The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology, and this year over 40% of all undergraduates joining the programme are female.  It is a great place for young talent – and it is a great place especially for female talent. 

What does success look like?

If you ask me, it is having the agility to continue to build your career around the changing paths which life presents you with. 

What is your best piece of advice?

Growing up never ends. Keep your options open and try whatever takes your fancy. A decision is never non-reversible.

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