Debby Wallwork, MGC 1970 Leaver

Malvern Alumnae 100 Deborah de Chazal

Born in the UK, my early years were spent in Malaya and it was a big shock to be sent to MGC aged 11. I had to adapt to living in a community with lots of girls, being without my family and the cold. I remember chilblains and freezing on the lacrosse pitch: tracksuits weren’t allowed. My adaptation to this completely different lifestyle I believe influenced me for later life. I appreciated the opportunities and the holistic education at MGC.

I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career and first chose Biochemistry. After leaving MGC, I went along with a friend uninvited to an interview to become a Chartered Accountant and was offered a place. I took it up, enjoyed the work, was admitted to membership of Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), one of only 5% women in 1975.

Marrying a Mauritian took me to Mauritius. I was the first female Chartered Accountant on the island. I worked in the private sector until the birth of my first child, I felt if I had children I wanted to bring them up myself. My first plan was to work part-time but fate decried otherwise, my daughter aged 8 was diagnosed with Leukaemia and for the period of her childhood I needed to keep myself available.

This guided me into voluntary work where I could use my expertise which NGOs lacked. I sat on Boards including Cheshire Home, English Speaking Union and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF), in the role of Treasurer, involving hands-on work in the organisations. During this time I also acquired a lot of soft skills, especially revolving around communication.

In 2010 I assumed the post of Vice President and Executive Director of MWF in a full-time, more hands-on role, to work for a cause close to my heart, the protection of the Environment.

What is your best piece of advice?

Try to work at something you enjoy and that makes the most of your talents.  You will never enjoy 100% of your work but aim for 75%! Always do your best.

What does success look like?

You are happy with what you have achieved in life whether it is ‘work’ or at home.