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Motivational Monday: asset management and long distance rowing

Our latest Motivational Monday is with alumna Jessica Shuman (class of 2008) who works in asset management.  In her spare time, she is a long distance rower and is currently training to row across the Pacific Ocean.

Jessica describes her job as being halfway between a Quantitative Analyst and a Client Director.  “I really enjoy spending time with clients…and feel like I’m always learning new things which I enjoy. I work with a really great team of people, which I’ve come to realise is the most important thing about any job – no job is worth it if you’re not enjoying yourself.”

While not at work, Jessica is part of a team of four training to set a world record and be the fastest female crew to row 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii.  “Rowing for me is the best escape from the stresses of life.  Nothing beats the feeling of being out on the water.  Rowing really is a sport where performance is totally correlated to the effort you put in, which I love,” says Jessica who first picked up the sport while studying English at Oxford University.  “Rowing has opened doors for me – I’ve met awesome people, been paid to race in the US, and now, I’m finding all sorts of people who want to listen to my story… I’m passionate about encouraging girls to take up sport and to push themselves, so the fact that this row has given me a platform to promote this is just wonderful!”

When looking back on the seven years she spent at school and the friendships she made, Jessica says, “South Hampstead helped foster the belief within us that nothing is impossible. I grew up surrounded by inspiring, courageous and passionate people.  When I look at my school friends, I am constantly in awe: one is excelling in her dream job as a freelance food stylist, one has appeared in the Forbes 30 under 30 list, one had the courage to quit her high-paying job at an investment bank and follow her heart to Africa, and another is finding global success as an artist.”

Jessica’s advice to current South Hampstead students is to “embrace challenge and accept that just because something might not work out perfectly, it doesn’t mean you should not give it a go.  If you always stick within your comfort zones, you’ll never get to see what you’re truly capable of, which is such a waste.  This idea has inspired the motto for our row across the Pacific which is ‘Dream, Dare, Do’. We want to encourage girls to dream big, dare to believe in themselves and go out and do something they didn’t necessary think they could.”

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