By Hooriya Adams, Year 9
On Wednesday 25th May 2018, two students and a teacher from Herschel Grammar School were invited to the CA Technologies FY19 EMEA Employee Kick-Off at Ditton Park. The event was being livestreamed by about 3,000 people across Europe. The main purpose of it was to explain what CA is planning ahead in its upcoming year and to engage with staff and colleagues. The event was hosted by Vice President (Communications) Sarah Atkinson and Vice President (Sales) Olly Maskell.
Marco Comastri, the EMEA General Manager, started the event off by reviewing how FY18 for CA was, including some achievements and areas for improvement. He explained how CA was working very hard and that their theme this year is “Making a difference”. Staff from CA talked to us about what they were doing and how it was helping different organisations achieve their aims and goals.
David Wyndham Lewis, Director of Transformation and Technology for an NHS Trust, discussed how CA has helped with gender transformations and helping the NHS with making difficult decisions. He also said how now 3,000 patients that were in waiting for a gender transformation have received excellent and customised care.
Fionnuala Feighan, CA’s Wellbeing Director, explained how wellbeing is a massive priority at CA and how all members of CA are encouraged in this. She said that CA provides lots of activities that help boost mental resilience and reduce stress, and that CA is trying to help the mental health and wellbeing of staff and colleagues to ensure they enjoy the environment they are working in.
Now, the reason that a few people from Herschel were invited was so that they could be interviewed on how CA is contributing towards society. Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, explained that in about five years there will be a major shortage of people in STEM careers. His main point was to argue that teachers don’t really know about STEM and how it should be made more appealing to both teachers and students. Mr Wilkins (Head of Careers at Herschel Grammar School in Slough) was asked to elaborate on this, and he explained that not many teachers have been in a STEM environment before therefore, although many schools are making sure that students get engaged with STEM careers as much as they can, it is a challenge for teachers to prepare and help students directly for careers in STEM. Sanjana Prayag (a Year 9 student from Herschel) was asked how she felt about STEM and was also asked about how she though the ‘Girls Can Create Tomorrow’ conference, which she attended, was like. Sanjana outlined how, as the event was only for girls, the girls had more of an opportunity to show off their skills and be more assertive because there were no boys there! She concluded by calling for CA to run more programmes like this and confirming that she herself enjoys STEM a lot.
Sonja Aboulez (Vice President, Digital Sales) said that she herself was working on a project that would encourage more girls to get involved in STEM careers.
Finally the event was finished off by announcing an FY18 award, the winner of which was Karine Garchot, a Senior Director. Marco Comastri briefly talked to us about the FY19 Goals and what CA is aiming to achieve.
Overall the event was very exciting and a great chance, especially for Herschel, to see CA as a really really big organisation working hard to make a difference to the workplace.