The Global Head of Sustainability Strategy at one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies has returned to her former school in Coventry to inspire students.

Ashling Mulvaney, who joined Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School in 1985 and went on to take her A-levels there, delivered an encouraging speech to over 200 Year 11 pupils at the school’s sixth-form open evening.

Ashling addressed the audience which included students looking to make the next step in their careers, urging them to explore the opportunities at Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School in Potters Green Road.

She said: “I really wanted to show people that their ability has no boundaries, and that there is plenty to be achieved other than what you initially set out for.

“It was my first time returning to Cardinal Wiseman, and I immediately felt like I could have reverted back to a pupil. I had the same connection and respect to the surroundings that I had 30 years ago.

“I think the evening went very well, I have not done a speech to students or former teachers before, and to have some of the students come up to me afterwards to say they were inspired was a great feeling.

“The school gave me the confidence to go out into the world and be successful, and provided me with knowledge that will never leave me.

“I made lots of great connections and the mentorship that I received, even after leaving, is something that I am truly grateful for.

“There has been significant investment as you would expect since I was a student and the gym is very impressive.

“The school has combined those new developments with a diverse showing of subjects, and retained the old footprint that makes it such a special place.

“I believe that Cardinal Wiseman School will continue to offer great opportunities.”

She has worked for Cambridge-based AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals for over ten years, and also leads a health programme aiming to reach 10 million hypertensive patients across Africa in the next decade.

The company is listed at 115 on the 2018 Forbes list of the world’s best regarded companies.

Richard Kingshott, Head of Sixth Form at Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School, said: “It was fantastic to have Ashling share her experiences with our students, she’s a real inspiration who has come through the school and gone on to achieve at the highest level.

“She gave a fantastic speech and I think she perfectly captured what studying here is all about.

“We will be setting up a new alumni system, so our current students will be able to benefit from the support of former students like Ashling more frequently.

“One of our main aims is to offer potential students a wide range of subjects, as we want to open up all opportunities to them and really indulge them in the things they are passionate about.

“Our new partnership with The Strachan Football Foundation is testament to our aims of offering new and innovative approaches to post-16 study and another route towards higher education or employment.

“We’ve recently had a brand new sixth form centre built in the school, and we hope that can be a real catalyst for growth for our post-16 students. To see the number of enthusiastic pupils who came along was really encouraging.

“One student Franceska Tchapdeu, who plans to study medicine, was given Ashling’s contact details as she has many useful contacts that could open doors for Franceska. It is these kinds of connections that we love to see when our former pupils return.”

Caption: Ashling Mulvaney speaks to parents and pupils at the Cardinal Wiseman Catholic School sixth form open evening.