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Navy’s top female engineers sits on Dragon’s Den style panel

3 February 2016
The most senior female engineer in the Royal Navy recently took part in a ‘Dragons Den’ style event aimed at encouraging the next generation of Enterprising Women in Gosport.

Commander Sophie Shaughnessy, the Executive Officer of HMS Sultan was amongst the inspiring mentors and speakers taking part in the event at Bridgemary School, for Girls from Year 9 at Gosport Schools, Bridgemary and Brune Park.

Groups of girls were given the task of formulating a business plan for the local area, under the supervision and guidance of a successful business woman from the local area.

With over 20 years experience as a Marine Engineering Officer, Cdr Shaughnessy was able to help encourage her group as they created their project. 

as I was quite sure of what I wanted to do for a career and I am not sure now, the women here have inspired me that much.


She said: “When you get these sort of teams of girls together, they have such inspiring ideas, they are just phenomenal.

“They respond differently in a dynamic where they are all girls, and they respond well to the mentors and it’s fantastic to see how all these other amazing ladies have talked about their businesses and work and they have all responded really positively to it.

“I think letting girls know they can be anything that they want to be, that there are no doors closed to them is critical.

“The mentors today are from all walks of life from all sorts of businesses and while I would clearly love it if they decided to join the Royal Navy, today is really about just making sure that they all fulfil their potential and making sure that they don’t let anyone tell them that they can’t do something.”

13 year old, Mia from Brune Park School was part of the ‘Seafix’ team which, under the mentoring of Cdr Shaughnessy, came up with a project for servicing local yachts and small ships.

She said: “It’s been quite helpful having a mentor, considering it’s all water and engineering and we have learnt from her on how we can reflect that on our work.”

“The women here today have been very inspiring, especially to me as I was quite sure of what I wanted to do for a career and I am not sure now, the women here have inspired me that much.

“I’ve got some ideas now, I think I can go further in life, considering some of them were quite shy and have gone really far.”

The event was hosted by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage and Jacqueline Gold CBE, who is the CEO of Ann Summers and Knickerbox.

Speaking about the event, Caroline said: “The girls’ projects were really inventive and they all clearly identified businesses that Gosport needs.

“I hope today was an opportunity for them to gain some experience in the business world and be inspired by our fabulous team of businesswomen. 

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