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A West End actress, the group chief executive chief of The Princes Trust group, chief executive of Suffolk County Council and a beauty expert joined staff and students during an event that was organised by West Suffolk College as part of International Women’s Day.

Kerry-Ellis Townsend (actress), Dame Martina Milburn (Prince’s Trust), Nicola Beach (Suffolk County Council) and Amber Coates from the Image Beauty Salon took part in an online discussion.

The occasion saw two level three multimedia journalism students (Bethany Caulder and Lucy Elsden) grill the panel on their life, careers and the importance of championing women’s rights across the globe.

No topic was off limits as the group reflected on the past - and most recognised that although many improvements have been made in recent times - more work is still needed to be done to ensure more equality is afforded to females both inside and outside of the work place.

During the chat, Kerry-Ellis – who has built an acting and performance career that has seen her perform on The West End and on Broadway in shows such as Wicked and We Will Rock You – said, “I grew up in Suffolk and wanted to celebrate and shout about how important we all are. My overall message is be brave, dream big and you can make it happen.”

Dame Martina Milburn is currently the chief executive of The Prince’s Trust group. The former journalist, said, “It was great to chat to everyone and hopefully inspire them. I think we learn something new every day and my advice to everyone is that you need to be confident and trust your instincts.”

Nicola Beach, the Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council, said, “Remain true to yourself, lead by example and don’t tolerate bad behaviour – but most importantly, do not underestimate your talents and skills.”

Organiser of the talk was Mike Opukah, a business lecturer at the college.

He said, “All our guests were from a range of industries and it was brilliant that they gave up their time to share their experiences and inspire our staff and students. We would like to thank them all for giving up their time to support us.”