This piece reflects the views of Shilpa Vinod, and not those of Emerald Media Group. It has been edited by the Emerald for grammar and style. Send your columns or submissions about our content or campus issues to [email protected]
Throughout my childhood my mother engrained in mind the importance of being a strong woman and using my power as a woman to raise the voices of other marginalized communities. I chased this very idea during my last four years of college and during that pursuit I came across Women in Business. At the very first meeting I attended I immediately noticed the passion that the executive board had and soon after reached out to the president, Ally Dorst to interview her on her experiences in Women in Business during the last four years.
I asked Ally how she be became so heavily involved in this organization and she said it all began, “with a friend dragging her to a meeting during [her] freshman year and [she] unexpectedly ended up strongly connecting with it.” Ally was the VP of Membership during her junior year and it was during that time that she realized the opportunities for growth that the club had. She made it her mission to function the club outside of the box and give other women the same experiences that she had.
The club brings various guest speakers to each meeting to give members an insight on the post grad life that is set before them as women. The guest speakers are strong business professionals who share their experiences working in different communities that often do not wish to see women succeed in higher up positions. These interactions offer members key insight on battling discrimination in the work place. Often times during site visits, the club is paired with Women in Business alumnae and allows members to foster a more personal relationship with the businesses they visit. This is a wonderful opportunity for members to meet and interact with organizations that they would potentially apply to in the near future.
While the club offers many opportunities for women to grow and network the name it is not limited to just women. The name, “Women in Business” deters people who do not fit into that specific group from joining the club but this does not align with what the executive board hopes for the future of the organization. Ally expressed that her goal was to, “change the name to not only move away from women but to shift from business as well to allow everyone to learn how to be professional in an encouraging and supportive environment.” This process is currently in the works but once the name is changes there will be much more room for inclusivity.
The club is currently working on connecting with other student organizations on campus to share what the club truly means and that is open to everyone. Ally said the key is, “learning to spread the message in the right way and encouraging people to bring friends.” Recently Women in Business had a joint meeting with AMA and PRSSA with a self made woman in PR, Anne Marie Levis as the guest speaker to open everyone to what it means to be in a diverse and inclusive work space.
The club has expanded to doing mentor and menthe programs and the hope is to grow beyond doing routine meetings and site visits. They are planning more socials and workshops for further networking and hands on opportunities.
Being a full time student in college is incredibly time consuming and draining but taking advantage of all the resources that the University of Oregon offers creates a space where education meets an enjoyable and nourishing atmosphere. As a soon to be parting senior Ally stressed the importance of, “putting yourself out there and to never be afraid to get involved and ask questions.” It is easy to get consumed with academics but we only have four years here so make the most of the limited time in this flourishing space and take a step into Women in Business to jump start your career interests.