I’ve always been passionate about women’s initiatives, especially when it comes to the workplace. I joined Women In Business (WIB) at the David Eccles School of Business as a freshman in college but always wanted to be involved beyond attending a few events a year.
I applied to be a board member last year after a professor of mine saw that WIB was recruiting and suggested I go for it. After going through the interview process, I was so excited to learn about WIB’s initiatives and the women who are behind the events I’d attended in the past. When I got the call that I had been accepted as a board member, I was ecstatic.
At the time, I had no idea how much I was going to grow and evolve from the experience.
Life as a New Board Member
The most striking thing about my experience as a WIB board member was the adjustment of working on a board of all women. I didn’t realize it up until that point, but my experience with a solely female group of leaders passionate like myself had been very limited. I was wildly intimidated, to say the least. I learned a lot about my own confidence and how I manage myself on a team, and I found that I wasn’t at all used to this dynamic.
Throughout the past year, I’ve shared this experience with my fellow board members and found they all felt the same way. Because of how our society is structured and how most leadership teams work, it’s rare for women to be in a collaborative environment together in a board or corporate setting where there are no (or few) men. I was hyper-aware of what everyone else would be thinking of me, and whether I was disrupting their dynamic or overshadowing anyone’s voice. Not only did this experience illuminate the things we as women are taught about working with other women (for example, that unity and collaboration are not natural), but it also pushed me to become a more self-aware, confident, and adaptable leader.
Instead of finding it threatening or uncomfortable to be in a room full of powerful women, I’m now invigorated by it. We may share feelings of uncertainty or inadequacy, but we are rarely there to judge each other or tear each other down. I’ve come to realize how much there is to learn from other women’s experiences, and how strong we are as a united force toward any initiative we set out to complete.
Making an Impact
As a WIB board member, I have the opportunity to work closely with other student leaders in the Eccles School, as well as the administration. It has given me a much more in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the school, as well as our education system as a whole, and how that impacts women’s experiences and opportunities for success. It’s so rewarding to be able to have an impact on the aspects of our culture that inhibit us and to be a voice for those who want their experiences to be heard.
The best part, however, is being able to come together with my amazing fellow board members each week and discuss the ways in which we can improve the experiences and culture of the Eccles School. Planning and hosting events, recruiting members and allies, advocating for change, and collaborating with other leaders toward our common goal of gender equity are all amazing parts of representing WIB.
As a senior, I’m setting my sights toward the impacts I want to make beyond the Eccles School. My experience as a WIB board member has helped me to refine my goals and prepare me to tackle them. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from the other amazing members of the board, and I know I will always have a network and friendship with them. I’m also more aware than ever of the profound positive impact that women’s initiatives have on people of all gender identities. Having had this experience, I’m motivated to continue this work in my career and my life. I’m motivated to empower other women, educate and encourage allyship, and break barriers for those who will come after me. Working with this organization is one of my biggest points of pride and intrinsic reward, and I can’t imagine my college experience without it.
If you’re interested in joining the WIB board, I highly encourage you to do so! Apply here: Eccles.link/WIB-app
Author: McCauley Finnegan