As we transition to a new board, the 2020-21 board has taken time to reflect on the joys and challenges of WIL during this unique year. We wish them the best of luck in all their future endeavours!
Thanks to all of our members, partners, and speakers for your support and engagement. We are so excited for the next year of (hopefully face-to-face) learning and growth together.
Like many of my other board member peers we entered this year with high hopes of being
able to witness a transition to in person events and once again to feel the true community of WIL. The year had different plans for us of course but I’m grateful for the things it taught me and the continued sense of community that came through. Being a part of this board has been an unforeseen support group as we helped each other through trying moments and came together to continue to organize and facilitate meaningful events, despite a multitude of challenges. It was an honour to be a part of this incredible organization and I can’t wait to see the ways in which it transforms in the next year!
Christine: Head of Communications
Being a board member during such uncertain times as we have experienced this past year has been a very unique experience, but it has also highlighted some of the very best things about WIL. It has shown the dedication of our members, who continued to show up to our events online. It has shown the strength of the community because when people opened up and shared personal experiences during workshops, they trusted each other to handle that information with grace. And it has shown the importance of being part of a board that truly supports each other. I think one of the best decisions we made as a board was to be very open with each other almost from the start because not only did it make us work well together but it gave us an unexpected support network that I am incredibly grateful for.
As a board we were trying to navigate the pandemic on an individual level just like everyone else, but we were also trying to bring the most certainty and stability to our members at times when there wasn’t much certainty to be found. This was both challenging but it also sparked a lot of ideas and gave new opportunities to WIL. Personally, I got to try out a lot of new things in my role as Head of Communications and it has actually given me a lot of direction in terms of my academic and future professional career. I have learned so much from this year, both professionally and personally, and I am incredibly excited to see in which directions the new board will take WIL over the next year!
Chiara: Head of Partnerships
I joined WIL in my first year at LUC. One of my neighbors, Ana Nico, invited me to an open mic night, which I misinterpreted as a musical open mic night and performed before the WIL community and was supported and cheered on by my peers. I felt so comforted and then partook in the event where a variety of women spoke out and gave me the push I needed to take more of an active role in WIL.
That is what motivated me to join the team that is the WIL board. I took on the role of our 2020-2021 Chair, the Head of partnerships. I joined to help lead activities as well as gather perfect speakers to lead us in the right direction for our careers. I feel the WIL organization is a bed of opportunities for young women and I wanted to be able to engage as well as take advantage of the opportunities myself.
I am ecstatic to pass my chair onto Arja and see how this new board gives a fresh view to the WIL board as well as the partnerships we’ll be able to benefit from in 2021-2022 .
Clara: Head of Innovation
Although organizing our program throughout the pandemic posed a challenge, as online events are often less personal and energizing than those that allow for in-person interactions, the WIL Board and Innovation Team worked hard to make events as engaging as possible. My team and I asked speakers to incorporate breakout rooms and general discussions in their workshops. Furthermore, we organized several formal and informal networking events to increase the sense of community among our members, reintroduced open mic nights, by welcoming current and past members to present their knowledge on financial literacy, and started a new series of events centering around TEDx Talks. Another perk of the online format was that it allowed us to diversify the range of speakers we invited. For instance, we were joined by the Swedish Youth Representative to the United Nations General Assembly, WIL’s founder, who is currently located in Finland, and several speakers from the United States. We also welcomed speakers whose past events had proven successful, including Manuela Damant, Frank Ingruber, and Audrey Dickinson. Aside from attaining further leadership experience, the past year has taught me about topics including positive intelligence, burnout prevention, and maximizing the use of my LinkedIn, to name a few. My personal favorite event was the WIL Talk on Antiracism and Allyship featuring Dr. Anica Camela Mulzac, Antonevia Ocho-Coultes, and Bahumi Mogwe-Jansen, as it gave me the tools to think about (internalized) racism and to be a better ally to my BIPOC peers.
In comparison to last year, I expanded the Innovation Team and started holding weekly meetings that allowed for regular input from all team members on events that were in the making. It was a pleasure to get to know the team members better and to build on our professional networks together. Thanks to the help of Manuela Damant, who has been my mentor throughout the past year, I felt increasingly comfortable delegating, whilst holding my team members accountable.
It is a pleasure to see two of my most active Team Members serve on the next Board and I am looking forward to seeing how the organization will develop in the year to come.
I originally joined the Board in February 2020 as the Head of Partnerships and was lucky to be able to transition into the role of Chair in June 2020. WIL has always been an inspirational organisation in my eyes, from bringing together students and young professionals to facilitating workshops on a variety of sectors. Although, the main thing that attracted me to working for WIL was the beautiful community of members. What is empowering about WIL is that, in this past year, we have already been able to bring WIL alumni back to present workshops and provide experience on topics such as finance and public speaking. One of the highlights for me was presenting a workshop on public speaking with my close friend Alice. It was a true moment showcasing how WIL members can learn and grow from each other alongside the workshops provided by established professionals in the workplace.
As a Board, we transitioned into our roles in a time of many unknowns; we did not know whether in-person events would be possible, whether people would be interested in online workshops, or if we would be able to keep that community feel. During my time as Chair, I spent the year working to ensure that the Board could meet its vision, despite the turn of events. I worked hard to create an open and inclusive atmosphere while we pioneered some changes to WIL including transitioning to a semester fee, trialing a fully online program, inviting speakers from outside of the Netherlands, creating a monthly newsletter, and developing new partnerships. It truly has been a year of many changes for WIL and I’m happy to say that the Board was able to build upon the successes of previous years.
I have truly loved working with my fellow Board members who are all so inspirational in their own ways, however, it has been hard at times given we were only able to meet once in-person with each other when restrictions weren’t as tight. Looking into the future, I hope we will be able to get our Board picture soon! Lastly, I want to thank the Board and the teams for all the hard work they have put in over this past year despite everything going on. Many people don’t see all the work that goes on behind the scenes to be able to create the programs we do throughout the year, but I am so proud of all the work that has gone in this year and everything we achieved because of it. Cheers to three years of WIL!