|5 Jan 2023
|Old Girls' Association
Virginia Pulbrook kindly credits St Swithun’s with helping her develop many positive character traits…resilience, confidence, loyalty, humility and the belief that you make your own luck.
After A-levels, Ginny wasn’t sure what to study at university but as she loved languages she chose to live in Germany and immerse herself in learning German. On her return to the UK she wanted to work for Rothschild & Co in London and went in person to ask for a job. They hadn’t actually advertised one but after she mentioned she was fluent in German they offered her a position that had just arisen!
Working hard - often 24/7 - and with demanding time-lines in the investment banking and listed companies sectors, she has developed expertise in complex capital markets transactions, crisis management and board-level advisory roles across a multitude of corporates across the world.
Her distinguished 40-year career includes corporate finance/forex trading in investment banking, founding a business, winning industry awards, being a Non-Executive Director and chairing various committees. However, throughout these diverse experiences, there has always been a common thread of responsibility towards others and the environment, echoing back to Ginny’s time at St Swithun’s with its motto of Caritas, Humilitas, Sinceritas.
Ginny feels that whatever your demanding day job may be, it is always enhanced by what you do outside work. It is easy to become consumed by your day job but meeting with others in different forums provides an opportunity to engage with diverse personalities - a thoroughly enriching experience.
One of Ginny’s first projects was to work on the design and launch of the Natural History Museum’s (NHM) Darwin Centre. She was challenged to change the public’s view of the museum from being focussed on the past to something more current. When asked what came to mind when they thought of the NHM, most people referred to dinosaurs, the blue whale and stuffed animals but in reality the museum had and still has a huge group of scientists working on vital areas like tropical diseases for example. Thankfully that perception has largely changed now and the NHM is known as a world-leading science research centre.
Ginny helped to raise money for both the building of and ongoing work at The Darwin Centre, which was opened by Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2002. Ginny realised there was a funding gap and so developed the Patrons’ Programme to raise vital funds -something which is still successfully running today. To help support the NHM yourself, you can click here.
Another venture Ginny worked on with far-reaching environmental benefits was the development of the first mechanical biological waste treatment centre in East London. She was involved in setting up the centre and advised the company who built it on how to manage its relationships with its stakeholders. As a result of this technology, less rubbish is sent to landfill sites and plants such as this one also produce energy from the waste they process, which in turn supports the National Grid.
Nowadays, Ginny is involved with Carers UK, a charity giving unpaid carers expert advice, information and support. It also lobbies at government level for positive change to laws affecting unpaid carers in the UK.
It is a cause close to her own heart as Ginny herself cared for her mother for 11 years after she developed Parkinson’s disease. After her death, Ginny applied to become a trustee for Carers UK and has been honoured to support them for many years now. More recently, she helped launch Employers for Carers (EfC), an ever-growing group of employers who are committed to supporting and retaining employees with unpaid caring responsibilities.
Ginny feels that support from an employer reminds unpaid carers they are valued, provides them with financial and emotional support and gives them a familiar place to return to work once their caring responsibility has come to an end. It is mutually beneficial when good business sense also supports fellow human beings through a traumatic time in their lives.
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