11 August 2022
A leading academic who played a key role in the national response to the Covid-19 outbreak was guest of honour at Harrogate Ladies’ College annual Speech Day and Prize Giving.
Dr Emily Lawson DBE, Head of the Delivery Unit at 10 Downing Street previously worked at NHS England and Improvement where she was National Director for the NHS Covid-19 vaccine deployment programme. She led the operational delivery of the vaccine across the NHS in England from its inception and returned to the role to lead the booster programme.
The theme of this year’s Speech Day at the school was ‘Building Forward Together’ which reflects the school decisive response to the outbreak two years ago and its determination to lead the way in girls education moving forward.
Dame Emily told the audience that her role was to ensure the vaccine rolled out in line with the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice and in a way that ensured fair and equitable access, maximising uptake across all communities.
Emily also attended the school’s associated junior school, Highfield Prep School the day before for its annual Speech Day where she presented the children with prizes for their efforts throughout the term, and listened carefully to speeches made by the Highfield Head Boy and Girl.
A Molecular Geneticist by background, Emily has led a number of large-scale organisational change programmes. She was Chief People Officer at Kingfisher plc, and worked at Morrisons and McKinsey.
She was a founding member and has also been Deputy Chair of the 30% Club, which aims to increase representation of women on UK plc boards, and to research and support greater diversity in the UK and global institutions.
Principal of Harrogate Ladies’ College and recipient of a Northern Power Women Award, Mrs Sylvia Brett, said: “We were delighted that Emily was able to join us, on what is a very special day for our pupils, their families and our staff.
“Emily is a leading figure in promoting gender diversity and women in the workplace. Her message underpins our aim to inspire the next generation our women to follow their dreams in whatever field they lay and not to be restricted in their choices by their gender.
“Our Speech Day and Prize Giving event is about celebrating excellence and potential but it’s not about being perfect. Emily’s message to us about self-belief and hard work was a wonderful note on which to end the school year as we prepare to build forward together.”
Harrogate Ladies’ College Speech Day is an opportunity for pupils, their families, friends and academic and support staff to come together to celebrate the achievements of the previous year.