Two inspirational retirees share their stories and advice for younger generations on International Women’s Day.
Be inspired for International Women’s Day
Although people can often become overlooked as they get older the older generation are often a collection of fascinating individuals with resilience, talent and skills that many of us could learn a thing (or two!) from – perhaps one of the reasons government is calling for retired professionals to re-join the workforce.
The inspirational women pin-pointed by the retirement company include a former Senior Personal Secretary for the Ministry of Defence and a former house maid for the late Queen at Windsor Castle.
Retired Senior Personal Secretary for the Ministry of Defence
Valerie Hall, 91, from Godalming, received an MBE from the Queen in 1992 in recognition for spending nearly 40 years in service as a Senior Personal Secretary to a Deputy Controller on nuclear matters for the Ministry of Defence. After leaving school at 15 and later working at a day nursery, Valerie divorced and decided to become a secretary to earn more money. She eventually became a senior secretary after putting herself through both the civil service and senior secretary examinations, joining the MoD in her early twenties.
“It wasn’t my dream role at the start but the more I got into it, the more I loved it. I really enjoyed the personal nature of the role and being able to work directly with one person.”
Retired from working for the Queen at Windsor Castle
Linda Pouncett, 73, from Dorset, was working for the Queen at Windsor Castle for 10 years as part of her house maid staff, starting in her early 60s. Linda started work at Windsor Castle after working for many years at a printing company and she never looked back. Her only regret was not having the job earlier in her life. Linda’s greatest learning during her role was doing things the old-fashioned way, which was how the Queen liked it. Linda said: “You don’t get duvets in a castle, so all the beds were made up the old-fashioned way.”
Here is the advice Valerie and Linda offer women starting out in their careers, and what they would tell their younger selves, if they could:
“I would advise having two things to be successful in what you do…common sense and a pleasant manner…” – Valerie Hall
“If you have a dream role, go for it and if you get the chance, do it earlier in your career, rather than later.” – Linda Pouncett
“I wasn’t always computer literate, but this didn’t put me off when interviewing for jobs. Looking back, I have no regrets and my top tip for any woman would be, don’t doubt yourself and get on with it.” – Valerie Hall
Lorraine Collis, Chief Executive at ELM Group, said:
“As people age, we sometimes forget what fascinating achievements older people have had and how impactful this is for women today. We are lucky to manage property for many different residents and we are proud to celebrate their successes over the years.”
ELM Group manages retirement communities across the South of England and has become one of the UK’s leading retirement leasehold management companies. The company originated in 1971 as Retirement Lease Housing Association (RLHA) a charitable organisation founded by a group of volunteers with a shared vision – to pioneer the development of sheltered housing for sale to people of retirement age. Sheltered housing for rent was already widely available, but the founders wanted to introduce the concept to those who valued owning their own property and saw the benefits of a purpose-built Estate, with onsite support from an Estate Manager.