Initially based in our Salmon Centre, Vanessa Sanyauke is inspiring young girls to fight gender stereotypes. Vanessa, is the founder of Girls Talk London, a service that connects young women with senior women in competitive or male-dominated industries.
In her own words, she says, “We connect women with senior women in FTSE 100 businesses through events, programmes and our website. Our website has content to enable women to have best lives and careers. It’s for any young girl who wants to get in to a male-dominated career. Advice and mentoring. Work experience programmes.”
“We’re currently living in a country where women and men still aren’t equal. And it’s only getting worse: young girls are increasingly taught to aspire to be bad at maths and good at being princesses. It was this reality along with the belief that the only way to change our future is to encourage the younger female generation, that inspired me to set up Girls Talk London in 2012. I asked some women I knew who work in the City to give a talk to a group of schoolgirls, who asked them openly and honestly about how they got to where they are today. The talk was a hit and since then I’ve had a huge variety of speakers, including singer VV Brown and MP Diane Abbott. The talks have helped so many young women, and I regularly receive emails from those whose lives I have directly affected. It’s amazing.”
Over the three years Vanessa has run Girls Talk London, she has attracted speaker from companies that include Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Tindall Riley, Sky News, Weil, PwC, Ernst & Young, Nomura, BBC, Hearst Publications, Bauer Media and QBE Insurance. But getting to this point has not been easy. “You have to do everything as founder – you are your own PR, your own admin, you have to do all the different aspects of running a business yourself.”
In 2015 Vanessa launched Girls Talk London Sessions, an online panel talk show featuring experts from a range of industries.
All of this work has certainly paid off, with Girls Talk London catching the eye of notable media publications, “Getting a feature in a national publication was the biggest highlight for me so far, Look magazine wrote an article on me and my business.” The March 2015 issues of the magazine named Vanessa as one of the most inspiring people to watch. We can see why.