Holbeach Primary Role Model Seminar

NigelRole Model Seminars


Urban Synergy were at Holbeach Primary School, in Catford, on 7th June 2018 for another Role Model Seminar to help raise the aspirations of the students. The format of the of the seminars begins with a panel who talk about their career journeys, followed by a short Q&A and then a speed mentoring session featuring role models from different industries including the panel.

The panel, at Holbeach, consisted of:

  • Leila Thomas - Network Rationalisation Manager at Thomson Reuters (and also Urban Synergy Founder)
  • Dr. Donald Palmer - Associate Professor of Immunology, Royal Veterinary College, University of London
  • Daniel Walters - Team GB & Former Commonwealth Taekwondo Silver Medallist
  • Shaun Wallace, Barrister and TV Personality, ‘Chaser’ in ITV’s The Chase

The other role models in attendance included a statistician, financial trader, fashion stylist, business manager, solicitor, footballer and coach, IT Manager and content producer.

Leila Thomas - talked about her technical role as a Network Rationalisation Manager at Thomson Reuters and told the students to ‘ask questions and be organised.’ She also told them to ‘believe in yourself and practice, you have to put the time in if you want to be successful in what you want to do.’

Donald Palmer - talked about his love of science and how the fictional superhero character, Spiderman, inspired him to become a scientist. He also said he was fortunate that his parents noticed his love of science and encouraged him by buying him his first science set. Donald told the young audience to ‘be bold, be brave, believe.’ He also told the children to ‘make sure you read, reading is very important. It is really important to focus as you don’t want to miss out on opportunities.’

Daniel Walters - talked about a very difficult and unsettled upbringing and was also in care. He left home at the age of 17 yrs which was extremely hard, especially without regular schooling. Despite his difficulties he kept persevering and found an interest in Taekwondo which helped him and also enabled him to get a scholarship later on to study for a sports science degree at South Bank University. Daniel advised the students to ‘try not to let anything hold you back. Find solutions, how do I win? How do I move forwards?’

Shaun Wallace - talked about being the first black contestant to enter and win Mastermind in 2004. He also talked about his profession as a barrister and brought his wig and gown to show the students what he would normally wear in court. Shaun also talked about appearing on the ITV show The Chase. Shaun advised the children to ‘work hard and study hard, strike a balance between knowing when to play and when to work hard and when to study. Don’t ask yourself why you can’t be like me - because you can.’ Shaun also advised ‘Education is important and is the springboard for everything. You can be anything you want to be, but it does take a lot of support. If you decide to go into sport, it is still important to continue with your education.’

We would like to thank Headteacher, Mr T Bulpitt and Asst Headteacher Miss Cronin, for having us at the school.

Student Feedback


‘I learned that I should never give up on my dreams and that I should always keep trying. I will work as hard as I can.’


I learned that in life there’s difficulty, but you still have to keep going. I will always be determined to reach my goal and never give up because you can be anything you want to be. I enjoyed it when people explained their work and how they got there and what was difficult during their career.’


I enjoyed meeting the role models and learning about their careers and life choices. I will try very hard and set good standards for myself. I will also be brave and speak up.’

Djibril, aged 11yrs:

‘I learned that you can be anything that you want to be but you have to put your mind and soul into it. I will learn, learn, learn and I will be successful and whenever i have a test I won’t wait until the last test day, I will do it in advance.’


‘I learned to work hard to achieve your dreams and to deal with the bumps along the way. Daniel Walters inspired me because I used to do Taekwondo but I quit. Daniel inspired me to keep progressing and never give up. I will behave a lot more inside class as it benefits my education.’


‘Shaun Wallace inspired me because he was the first black tv game show winner (Mastermind). He is also a lawyer and that is amazing, how he can balance it all out. I enjoyed speaking with the people (role models) and talking about all of the different career paths I could take, depending on all of my qualifications.’


‘Shaun Wallace inspired me because he told us to be bold and believe in yourself. I will be bold in school and try to get high scores.’


‘Shaun Wallace inspired me because I watch The Chase most of the time and sometimes my aunty watches the Old Bailey. I will study more and focus and do my homework when I get it.’


‘I learned to be successful when I am older, never give up and let yourself down. I will do well in secondary school and go to college and university so I get a good job in life. I enjoyed speaking to everybody because everybody was nice and polite and just very interactive.’