Hannah Forrestall (nee Corneby)

“SGS provided so much opportunity to try a broad range of things and I discovered lots of talents that I otherwise might not have done.”

Hannah Forrestall (nee Corneby), class of 1998, is working for Lloyds enjoying the variety and challenge available in finance.

How do you feel SGS helped to shape the person you are today?

It helped me to grown in confidence. I was only 10 when I went to SGS and despite still being one of the tallest in my year at that point I preferred to try and not stand out (if that were possible). By the end of school I sought out the spotlight appearing in school plays and also making a speech at speech day.

What was your experience at SGS like?

Really enjoyable it provided so much opportunity to try a broad range of things and I discovered lots of talents that I otherwise might not have done.

Were there any teachers who inspired you or made a particular impression on you?

I wasn’t very good at English and so consequently didn’t like it very much (I tend to only like stuff I am good at) but Ms Ashton turned that around for me she really pushed me to do better as she saw potential. Also Mr Vanstone, I loved GCSE history with him. I think anyone not taught by him thought he was really scary and intimidating but in lessons whist you didn’t mess about in his classes he was wickedly funny and really inspired a passion for the subject.

What did you do after SGS?

I went to The University of Birmingham initially to study Maths but quickly changed to Economics when I realised a maths degree seemed to involve more Greek letters than actual numbers. I graduated in 2002 having had an amazing time. I made friends for life at uni and was afforded some great opportunities. I had aspirations at school of being a professional athlete and whilst I made a decision later that the commitment level required for this alongside study/work was not something I was prepared to do I did keep up with my athletics at Uni and went on an expenses paid tour to the US to compete against Yale,Harvard and other Ivy League universities. After university I stayed in Birmingham for another 14 years initially training to be an accountant with a small practice and then going on to work for a car leasing company before finally landing at Lloyd’s in 2010. In 2016 I took the opportunity for a promotion and a change of scenery accepting a role in the Bristol office eventually moving home to reduce the commute time in 2017. Lloyd’s is huge so the options in finance are also seemingly endless which is great as i have a low boredom threshold so have been able to move on to a new challenge every 18 months or so. Finance is really varied which I don’t think everyone appreciates. I hated working in practice but it was a very good learning environment when I was studying so after qualifying I was able to move on and find something that did suit me better.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Probably gaining my professional qualification. I am not a good student and spent more of my study leave from work watching neighbours than studying so it was a relief and minor miracle when I finally finished and passed all my exams. It’s also nice to have the reassurance that it adds to me employability and would hope now well over 10 years since passing them that if the worst happens and I get made redundant someone else will give me a job.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow a similar path to you?

After university i didn’t actually know what i wanted to do only that my pref was to stay in Birmingham. Consequently i applied for lots of different jobs and only 1 accountancy job it just so happens that that was the first one i got offered. I would say don’t restrict yourself in your career choices too much you don’t need to stay in the same job, career or company forever and sometimes only by trying things will you be able to whittle down the the things you do like vs the ones that don’t float your boat.

What are your ambitions for the future?

I am not hugely career ambitious I just always strive to do something that interests me and will pay me enough money to fund my travel habit

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time I am a keen hockey player. I spend most Saturdays playing for Stafford Ladies Hockey Club and train on a Wednesday night. Occasionally I will go to the gym, but not as much as I should! I spend a lot of time with my grandparents, and always try to keep in touch with friends at some point in the week. To be entirely honest, I have a very busy life as a teacher and I spend a lot of my time away from work thinking about planning, making resources and marking. I haven’t quite mastered the work/life balance just yet, but I love what I do, so that’s okay!