John Lewis Chair inspires students with video message

Sharon White shares experiences with Business students at Sir John Deane's

Business students at Sir John Deane’s were thrilled when they recently received a surprise video message from entrepreneur and Chair of John Lewis Partnership, Sharon White.

Inspired by a lesson on female entrepreneurs and a display board in the classroom celebrating key female business leaders, Year 12 student Elliot McLean contacted Sharon directly to share how his class have learnt about her success and achievements as part of the Business A level course.

To his surprise, she quickly responded with a video message for the whole class.

Elliot, who also works part-time at Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “For Sharon to take time to make this video is certainly something we are proud of. Sharon is one of the most influential black businesswoman in Britain, so this video is highly topical as we celebrate Black History Month within our community. We look forward to inspiring the leaders of tomorrow using Sharon’s video.”

Sharon is Chair of the John Lewis Partnership having previously held a variety of roles in the Civil Service and was the Chief Executive of the British media regulator Ofcom from March 2015 to November 2019. She was Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury from 2013 to 2015 and was the first black person, and the second woman, to become a Permanent Secretary at the Treasury.

Claire Hillier, Head of Business at the College, said: “We have a notice board in my classroom showcasing female leaders and it’s having quite an influence on students. I was delighted to find out that Elliot had contacted Sharon and completely amazed to discover she had responded with a personal video message to the whole class, sharing her experiences and in turn inspiring our students to take their place in the world.”