Queen Anne’s Alumna and Global Director for Operations for World Vision speaks to Sixth Form
Friday 16th November 2018
For the next installment of the Academic Enrichment Programme, our Sixth Form Students had the pleasure of being joined by Queen Anne’s alumna Eleanor Monbiot, on Friday 2 November.
Eleanor is the Global Director, Field Operations, at World Vision International a global Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Having spent most of her life on the road, Eleanor describes her career as “great, but professional” and “the best job in the world”.
To highlight the more serious issues in her line of work, some of the Lower Sixth were asked by Eleanor to stand to represent that, if you lived in the Republic of Chad, 79% under the age of 18 would have been married with a child. In Papua New Guinea, 66% under 18 would have been physically assaulted. These are shocking statistics, highlighting current world issues for the girls to reflect on.
Eleanor gave Queen Anne’s credit for her ambition to seek such a career and showed a photo of the school hall in 1986, where Oxfam visited and played a game with them. This game was a representation of gender inequality which inspired Eleanor to spend her career helping and making a difference, claiming at the time she thought, “I understand what I want to do now”.
The girls were offered career guidance during the lecture; Eleanor suggested that if anybody is interested in her line of work they should firstly pursue a relevant degree and volunteering experience to gain a deeper understanding of the world. She also advised that having a second language would also be hugely advantageous. Her role is very dynamic and involves being on the road 50-70% of the time, so being agile and flexible is very important.
The floor was then open to questions from the lower sixth, where one student asked “What does your company do to help women who have been taken out of education?” to which Eleanor explained how, at World Vision International, they work very closely with faith leader to help prevent child marriage. Another student raised their hand to ask, “What do you do on a day-to-day basis?” where Eleanor replied by emphasising how no two days are the same but, when she isn’t travelling, her main duties involves crises and risk management; looking at what is and isn’t working, then implementing changes and applying strategy.
Hazelle M (L6) kindly gave her thoughts on Eleanor’s inspiring lecture:
“As part of the lecture series the L6 have been enjoying, Eleanor Monbiot, a QAS alumni from 1988, came in to share her career story with us all, which proved both terrifying and heart-warming.
As a student who already has an interest in humanitarian issues, this talk helped to broaden my mind into the world I will be driving into.
Eleanor, who works for World Vision, the world’s largest NGO, shared shocking facts and touching stories of those she has had the pleasure of working with. She explained how she rose up the ranks from just a smiley-faced volunteer to a Global Director for Operations, who is responsible for 72 countries and has a budget of $1.9 billion.
But personally, I believe what was most striking about this talk was not the things she had done, but the person she had become.
What I will take away the most from this lecture, is when she said that to be able to do this type of work, with all the atrocities you will face, it is absolutely paramount to be an optimist.
Eleanor saw and presented the world as a place where there is still hope, still a future, and although situations may look hopeless, she said that if you focus on these you will never get out of the hole you will dig for yourself.
We were all very impressed also, by the array of qualifications she had accumulated from ground-shaking institutions such as MIT and UC Berkeley, which proved to us all that if we have a passion for something, we can chase it to the highest level.
But to wrap this up, I, as well the whole of L6 I’m sure, thank Eleanor for taking the time to talk with us and we look forward to hearing all the amazing things she will get up to.”