My experience interviewing Girlguiding LaSER's ambassadors!

Written by Sophie Cantwell-Kelly, Young Leader

A chilly evening on the 14 November. After navigating our way from train to tube, to tentatively following Google Maps towards the mysterious Museum of London, we arrived at some steps leading down to a funky room, with the signs for ‘Girlguiding LaSER Ambassadors Drinks Reception’ pointing us in the right direction.

Name-tags donned, myself and Hattie, my fellow Leader-in-Training, nabbed a few canapes and joined our county commissioner, Mary, in scanning the room for familiar faces. I was nervous about my role as interviewer, so I was extremely glad when Sally, our Chief Commissioner, offered to find someone to brief me. Sally found Tilly, who found Sally(a different one!), who found Ilona and Diane, the first trio of ambassadors to be interviewed. In what seemed like no time at all, I was standing in front of a gathering of friendly faces, asking our three ambassadors: “So, could you tell us a bit about your background, and who you are?”

Striving to avoid stumbling over my words, I expected to nod along to the speakers, while in my head practising the fluidity of my next question. It became impossible not to listen as soon as Sally, Ilona and Diane captured the room with their stories. It took me a while to process the fact that Sally had rowed across the Atlantic... twice! Diane’s tales of India left me itching to zip off to Sangam straight away, and Ilona's pure joy found in her job inspired me to think about bridges with such excitement that I have never felt before. And the inspiration didn’t stop there…

We were spoilt hearing Nicola’s beautifully projected (without a mic) journey through the arts to become Chief Executive of the British Youth Opera; Bec’s impressive role in managing relations between the government and some of the biggest tech giants, and Joanna’s enthralling adventures from Pakistan to 10 Downing Street.

I was thrilled to be asked to interview our last two ambassadors, Helen and Becky, who rounded off the evening with their applaudable achievements in the BBC and a particularly effective, if not a little radical, cure to climate change.

I felt incredibly proud to squish into the front row of our group photo with such a compelling, inspiring and active team of women behind me. Each ambassador exuded awing expertise in their fields, from drama to deadly diseases, and a passion and conviction about their work that rubbed off most certainly on me, if not on every woman in the room. They spoke with such eloquence and insight about the current issues that face young girls and women, from mental health and gender stereotypes to expectations and pressures, that it made my job as an interviewer extremely easy and enjoyable. They invited a critical exploration of the role Girlguiding has in promoting new attitudes and progressions in society, and shared their views, experiences and solutions with poise and thoughtfulness. They represent the best of Girlguiding’s role models for Rainbows and leaders alike.

People often ask the dreaded question after an event: “So, what did you take away from today?”, and we grasp in panic for something that seems reasonably profound to prove we learned something new. If someone asked me what I took away from the Girlguiding LaSER ambassadors' drinks reception, I would have no need to panic, because what I took away is simple.

I took the confidence to be proud of myself for my achievements, the drive to follow my gut and stick to my morals, and the excitement of discovery, adventure and change.

I am honoured to have shared the launch of this exciting step in Girlguiding LaSER and cannot wait for other regions to follow Sally’s lead in the creation of something really special.

If you'd like to find out more about our ambassadors, and invite them to an event or meeting, you can do so here.

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