Forget about A-levels and degrees, manners maketh the career woman, says Kate Reardon, editor of Tatler magazine.
She told girls at the independent school Westonbirt in Tetbury that if they treat people with respect and dignity then they would go far.
“It doesn’t matter how many A-levels you have, what kind of a degree you have, if you have good manners people will like you. And, if they like you, they will help you,” Ms Reardon told the audience during speech day.
“I’m not talking about manners about using the right spoon for soup or eating asparagus with your left hand. I’m talking about being polite and respectful and making people you interact with feel valued.”
Ms Reardon, who went to Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Stowe School, rejected a place at university to pursue a career in journalism. Instead, at the age of 19, she went to New York to become a fashion assistant on American Vogue. At 21 she became the youngest ever fashion editor of Tatler.
She was appointed editor of Tatler – the bible of high society – in 2010.
Her other tips for the girls included being tidied and organised – “being chaotic isn’t cute” – and learning to communicate.
“You have all grown up with so many digital ways of avoiding face to face, eyeball to eyeball interaction,” she told the girls.
“Never hide behind a computer or mobile phone if you want to communicate your truth – they need know who you are and they need to understand you.”
A passionate rider, Ms Reardon, who has a cottage in Wiltshire, spends much of her free time in the Cotswolds. She rides out with Beaufort Hunt.
Westonbirt, a girls’ school in the Cotswolds, has 210 students, aged from 11 to 18. The vast majority of the girls gain places at the university of their choice, including a large proportion to the Russell Group of universities.