As the new board is taking over, here are some words of wisdom from the 2019/2020 Board. Thank you to all of our members and partners for making this an amazing experience. We look forward to seeing you face to face again soon and to celebrate a successful year as an organization.
Ana Nico Clément: Head of Communications
I became a board member with the vision of building an inclusive community by providing our members with the same opportunities WIL had afforded me in the past. One of the biggest components of this vision included building a strong communication team where I encouraged members to apply professional skills all the while having the space to unleash their creativity towards the organization’s growth. My team, now composed of 9 members has been invaluable in increasing the reach, enhancing our brand and helping the organization grow. I would like to thank them for bringing forward ideas, their enthusiasm and hard work.
Our 20+ events hosted this year also steadily received an increase in interest with “Why the World Needs Female Leaders Now?” generating an interest of hundreds. Additionally, our members now come from the various institutions around the Hague, one of the key goals we aimed to achieve this year. While these are just numbers and do not reflect the impact we have had on our actual members I believe we have been able to effectively maintain communication and respond to the demands in order to enhance their experience.
On a personal level, the position helped me gain skills in graphic design, pitching, team management, team working, website management, social media management and communications. I am so grateful for the ambitious and determined board I had the pleasure of working alongside. I have learned so much about myself from each one of them. Despite the many obstacles which come with building an association as young professionals, we managed to overcome each one of them, stronger each time on the other side. Thank you all for an amazing year. I can not wait to continue supporting WIL from the side lines.
Laura Herren: Treasurer
I became a WIL board member merely half a year after joining the association. I was not only extremely motivated, but extremely humbled to be able to represent the vision, and everyone taking part in it. Continuing the association that the individuals before me had worked so hard on seemed like a challenge, but one I welcomed with open arms. One of my main aims was to foster the organization’s potential to grow: whether this meant increasing the reach of our events, or whether it meant setting up the infrastructure necessary for the organization to expand.
In the past year, my occupation as treasurer focused on the latter: the association is now not only registered at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, but there is an active bank account that allows for transactions to be made in a more clear, efficient, and beneficial way. We have officially eased the method of membership payments in an attempt to get more individuals to sign up - physically and online - a method which has been successful over the past year. In addition, the search for funding partners has begun on behalf of WIL. Finding associations that stand for our cause and our goals has not necessarily been easy, but yet another challenge that the future treasurer is motivated to tackle. Lastly, the budget is healthy and well; it allows the next board space and opportunity to use it to benefit the entire WIL community.
Personally, the position has really developed my ability to tackle administrative and logistical challenges, has developed my cooperative and communicative skills, and has challenged my ability to stay organized. Nevertheless, the most joyful aspect of this experience was to work with the wonderful individuals on the board, and help organize the events that hopefully benefitted you all! That being said, thank you for your support of WIL and the board, and I will see you around next year!
Abigail Thorley - Head of Partnerships
I joined the Board in February 2020, having been a member for about a year. I was always extremely inspired by what WIL was doing as an organisation and also inspired by the members it attracted. It’s often difficult to find such strong support groups like WIL so joining the Board was a real delight for me. When I joined the Board, I was determined to get the Mentorship Program up and running with inspiring mentors and keen mentees. It was something I really felt passionate about on top of diversifying the number and type of partners we had. For me, I really wanted to make WIL more inclusive for other university students such as those studying at Wijnhaven.
During my time on Board I successfully increased the number of partners we had, specifically in Wijnhaven. I'm very excited to have brought CIROS and Custodia into our list of partners alongside others. I think the achievement I am most proud of, having dedicated a significant amount of time to it, would be the Mentorship Program. At first I was concerned about whether I would be able to establish it within the little time I had on Board, and then when Corona measures kicked in I thought it would be a significant struggle to change the set-up of the Program that I already had in place. Although everyone involved really helped to make things work and with the support of the Board I was able to work things out.
Being on the Board has been such an inspirational moment for me, working with strong and inspiring people. It also opened my eyes further to the amazing network WIL has, something which many young professionals do not have access to around the world. I want to thank the other girls for all of their help when I became Head of Partnerships, and also say congratulations for all of their work (especially the work done behind the scenes!). Personally I am looking forward to being able to build upon everything the current Board has accomplished in the year ahead as I transition to the role of Chair.
Anh Nguyen - Chair
I became a part of WIL in February 2019 during a general meeting. I left that meeting in awe. The community and atmosphere had been so empowering, I still clearly remember it to this day. Cultivating this community and atmosphere have been on my main agenda as Chair. Not only was my goal to improve the opportunities and platform offered at WIL, my goal was also to foster an empowering network of young women, seeking to enhance their professional, personal and social abilities. I believe that we as a Board have managed to do so.
As Chair, my role was to be the main visionary and lead the Board. Although I am confident that I have made noteworthy contributions by guiding the Board members, I still believe that I have been unusually lucky with the colleagues that I have had the pleasure to work with. Together we improved the membership experience, expanded our partnerships, extended our online outreach, powered through all the administrative hurdles and made time to get a drink or two with our members to get to know them better. In addition to this, we also managed to swiftly introduce online workshops and a mentorship program due to COVID-19.
WIL has taught me many things. I have learned a lot about leadership, team building, project management but most importantly about confidence. As a member of WIL, I am confident that I have made a positive impact; I am confident that the Board and my team has made a positive impact; and I am confident that the next Board will continue to do so.
Manon van de Woestijne - Head of Programme
I became part of WIL in the early stages of setting up the organisation in the summer of 2018. My close friend Jennifer Pfister was part of the board and the first Head of Programme and I quickly joined her team. We spent that summer dreaming of what WIL could be and it is incredible to see how many of those dreams we have already achieved. I had gained so much from the organisation, from practical skills, like writing a motivation letter and being a confident speaker, to a vast network of incredibly supportive women. I wanted to ensure that others would also be able to have this experience. Therefore, after a year of working within the innovation team, I was incredibly proud to be elected as the next Head of Programme in the spring of 2019.
In my position as Head of Programme, I lead a wonderful team of young women and together we create the event programme for WIL. In the year 2019-2020, we have organised 20+ events, including workshops, panel talks and networking events with a range of speakers. We are proud to have continued our strong relationship with the Women’s Business Initiative International and make new connections such as with Azkua. These networks have been invaluable to us in organising the programme. At the start my year on the WIL board, we also changed locations from our old office at Stille Veerkade to The Hague Tech, where we made many key connections. I would like to thank Gerrit Jan van ‘t Veen for helping us first by supplying his office space and then for introducing us at The Hague Tech. COVID-19 was, of course, an unexpected challenge, but with the support of my team and the board, we were quickly able to move our usual in person events to an online format for our final block.
I am incredibly proud of what my team and the board has achieved. Personally, I cultivated and furthered my leadership, teamwork and event management skills. I have grown my network and worked with some very inspirational people. I would like to thank all our speakers and everyone who came to our events. I am very excited to see what the new board has in store for us and I am confident that they will continue to help WIL grow.