Game, set and match for Navratilova House!
On Wednesday 28th September, four students from Navratilova House were accompanied by Karen Raper (Student Manager) and Louise Davey (Head of House) to the offices of Goldman Sachs to meet the Sporting Legend Martina Navratilova. As part of our visit we were invited to take part in a conference complete with a Q & A session led by a senior executive from Goldman Sachs. The event was the finale to a host of activities that have taken place during the company’s annual Diversity Week. The conference took place in the main conference room in the building which accommodates more than 200 delegates. We were overawed by the enormity of the event especially when we were told that the conference was being fed live around the globe to more than 1600 members of the Goldman Sachs team.
We then enjoyed a hugely engaging and motivational speech from Martina addressing the need for diversity in every aspect of life and the workplace. We were told about her early struggles after she defected from Czechoslovakia and her eventual American citizenship. She also spoke openly about her sexuality and how despite never being ashamed of who she is felt pressured to not speak openly in public until later in her career.
Once the formal session ended we were all ushered for a private reception where we came face to face with this remarkable lady. The warmth and interest shown in us as individuals and as representatives of The Harefield Academy was genuine. We talked about the House system that we operate here at The Academy and we discussed the Olympic Value that Navratilova House has been assigned ‘Respect’. It was at this point that we presented Miss Navratilova with her Award for Respect on behalf of The Harefield Academy and we were able to tell her why she is such an inspiration to us and how we try to emulate her respectful attitude towards others in every circumstance.
The whole trip has provided us all with memories that we will treasure always. To come face to face with a Sporting Legend is more than anyone can ask for, but to meet someone with the charisma and sincerity of Martina Navratilova is something truly awe inspiring.
The event concluded with Martina assuring us that she will visit The Harefield Academy in the future.