Skip to main content

Gillian Pearl

It was important to me to get a broad understanding of our history and our context, and to have the luxury to study ideas and concepts before studying a skill or profession.

Studying history at Queen's, and the structure of the lectures and tutorials, afforded me the opportunity to study specific topics deeply and to discuss them with classmates and our professors.  During the time studying history, I was particularly interested in women's economic history, and was awakened to 
the concept of unwaged labour and women's rights.  Ever since that time, I've been very interested in being involved in and supporting women's economic opportunities and development.

My training in history provided me with a great foundation of general knowledge, analytical and presentation skills that have served me throughout my professional career.  After leaving Queen's, I moved to Asia Pacific where I ran an English language teaching company before starting to work for multinationals in their marketing communications teams.  I worked for Unilever, ABN AMRO and then Microsoft in regional jobs, enabling me to travel across Asia Pacific, working with teams in over 15 countries.  It was at ABN AMRO where I first became involved in corporate citizenship / corporate responsibility, and then held a regional role at Microsoft in that area.  Following the birth of my first child, I started my own social impact  consultancy, Pearl Consulting, and now we have consultants working in over 10 countries around the world.

Studying history really helped me to develop a better understanding of our place in the world and the inequity that exists, and particularly spark an interest in gender inequality that has continued to influence my career and how I work.

I made great friends at Queen's who remain some of my best friends to this day. I really loved the community at Queen's and being able to live and study in a small town, where I was able to be so embedded in school life, something that is much harder to achieve in larger cities.  My favourite place to study was at Douglas Library, with its beautiful architecture and grand windows.  Of course, Alfie's on Fridays was fantastic. I also really enjoyed being part of the student council activities as well as the inter-faith council.

Advice to History Students: 
If someone was interested in social impact or international development work, I believe that a history degree is a fantastic foundation.  I would suggest thinking about the topic or geography that is of most interest to you, and do what you can to focus in that area to develop a bit of a specialization. I think that would serve you well, as you explore the next stage after this degree.

Stay connected on LinkedIn

Pearl Consulting

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.