New Miss Buckinghamshire Rachel Pitman shares her story
PUBLISHED: 12:40 06 August 2015 | UPDATED: 12:40 06 August 2015
Here's proof that a business brain can happily work alongside tiaras, glitz and glamour, courtesy of our new Miss Buckinghamshire, Rachel Pitman. When she contacted editor Jan Raycroft, we decided to invite Rachel to tell her own story…
I grew up in the small village of Wingrave, attending Wingrave CE combined primary school before moving on to Cedars Upper School in Leighton Buzzard to complete A levels in Economics, English, Psychology and Law. I then moved to the University of Reading to study for a BSc in Consumer Behaviour and Marketing.
My parents began their own software company (Aquaforest) together when I was right, naming it partly after my favourite teddy bear, Forest. Looking back, I now realise that moment probably played a significant role in where I am now: 21, launching my own business and writing a first book.
After starting university I took a part time job as Student Brand Manager for EY (previously Ernst & Young). EY’s ‘Women Fast Forward’ culture and my manager there, Holly McGhee, made me passionate about both my future career but also women in business.
I am now on my placement year at ProspectSoft in Stokenchurch, where again I really looked up to one of my managers. She was 25 and already a Marketing Manager, making a massive difference to a company. She pushed me to realise I could actually achieve things I never dreamt I would.
So as you’ve probably realised by now, the female role models in my life were the main driving force behind turning my ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’. Therefore, as soon as I found out that entering Miss Buckinghamshire would give me opportunities to help other young girls, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going for it.
Miss England also provides incredible role models. For example, the current Miss England, Carina Tyrell, is a doctor at Cambridge – what an inspiring woman for people to look up to. I was recently crowned Miss Buckinghamshire and my Miss England journey began. Preparing for the finals includes raising money for the Miss England Charity – Beauty with a Purpose, that supports millions of disadvantaged children all over the world. This is a really important part of Miss England. All the girls competing for regional and the national title participate in as much charity work as possible. I have already run a half marathon and will be climbing Snowdon to raise money for Beauty With a Purpose, as well as volunteering at homeless shelters.
The community has already been great in supporting me. My old school is running a competition with the students there to design my eco dress and I even get the privilege of interviewing the top five designers to find out the story behind their dress designs.
One of the questions that was asked during the Miss Buckinghamshire finals was ‘What would you do if you were to gain this title’, my answer was to start an initiative to boost girls’ confidence. With only a third of young girls having high self-esteem, we could lose 319,000 future businesswomen, lawyers and doctors, as well as more than 60 women MPs by 2050 – unless young women can be helped to retain confidence in their own abilities.
I am a member of Bucks Business First (www.bbf.uk.com), which provides amazing services for businesses in Buckinghamshire. I am aiming to learn from both them and local charities about what can be done to boost young girls’ confidence so they know that they can achieve whatever they set out to.
When given an opportunity and platform to help others by Miss England, why wouldn’t you put your whole heart in to doing so? So that’s what I’m aiming to do.
• Karen Kay: why the festival scene just isn’t for me - Soggy fields and hunting down dodgy loos, that’s the truth beyond immaculate celebs in designer clothes, says Karen. Anyway, she’d rather go clubbing before breakfast
• Top tips for planning the perfect wedding - A must read for every bride and groom… Bonnie May’s top tips for planning that perfect wedding