A Memorable Year for QWIL – What Made This Year So Special?
With the academic year at a close, and Queen’s students reflecting on their successes, challenges, growth, and experiences this past year, it only makes sense that QWIL reflect on its own progress over the last several months before setting goals for the upcoming year.
QWIL’s empowering and hardworking team worked passionately and intensely to provide diverse, resourceful, and impactful experiences and opportunities for Queen’s students and the external communities. The team broke through new barriers and increased access to academic, career, wellness, and other educational resources while promoting a safe and empowering platform dedicated to helping students reach new heights. Of course, none of this would be possible without QWIL’s supportive and recognized alumni network.
Let’s look at some of the most memorable highlights from this past year and the incredible work of QWIL’s members.
The Print Launch: WilPower in Print
QWIL recently launched its second issue of WilPower in Print. The print was brought to life with collaboration by QWIL’s amazing Print Team – Melanie Greenwood (Print Advisor), Dione Ng (Content Editor), and Sara Guo (Creative Editor). The three worked tirelessly to create a resource showcasing the immense talent and hard work of female leaders across various industries to inspire and motivate readers, specifically Queen’s students, as they embark on their journeys.
WilPower in Print recognizes females' diverse experiences, backgrounds, and challenges in their careers, school, and personal lives while guiding readers to overcome equity-related barriers and other obstacles to accomplish their goals. The inspiring and reflective piece includes features from several influential women, including Christine Dereza and Heyishi Zhang. If you haven’t read it already, give it a read! And if not for the content, you’ll find some solid recommendations for reading material, podcasts, movies, study spots, and must-see local Kingston shops.
Check out some pictures of QWIL’s remarkable (and adorable) team and attendees at the print launch event this past year! As always, the support for the print launch was above and beyond.
The Equity Summit
If you thought QWIL’s work this year stopped at the WilPower in Print launch, you thought wrong.
Last November, QWIL introduced Beyond the Conversation: A QWIL Equity Summit. The Equity Summit took place at the Delta Kingston Waterfront Hotel, where delegates were joined by a group of dedicated and accomplished female panellists. Speakers touched on valuable topics such as promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workforce and prioritizing well-being while highlighting personal stories and anecdotes intended to inspire, teach, and guide attendees. The QWIL executive also treated delegates and keynote speakers to lunch at The Keg. What a treat!
We are incredibly humbled, honoured, and excited to announce that ComSoc awarded the event for winning the 2023 Best Queen’s Undergraduate Event. This was a notable accomplishment for QWIL, with it being the first time the club has run the event. This could not have come to fruition without the Logistics and Partnerships team working tirelessly, as well as the over-encompassing support and outreach of the QWIL Executive.
QWIL’s First-Year Membership Program
QWIL’s First-Year Membership Program continued to provide first-year students with opportunities to learn from QWIL executives and seek mentorship while building a supportive and uplifting community amongst members.
Thanks to QWIL’s Student Initiatives Team, QWIL’s first-year members had the chance to connect with other first-years grappling with similar anxieties and challenges that come with a new life experience. First-year can be challenging to navigate. Meeting new people, managing classes and extracurriculars, and adjusting to campus life away from home can be scary and uncomfortable. To help build stronger relationships amongst QWIL’s first-year members, QWIL held a group fitness class at the ARC. What better way to break the ice than with an intense workout session? We’re so excited to bring back the First Year Membership Community this fall.
Education and Empowerment
What is QWIL without education and empowerment?
While the WILPower in Print and Equity Summit served as two fundamental educational and empowerment tools for QWIL’s delegates and members, QWIL’s outreach initiatives further led the way in fostering EDII (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) across Queen’s and the local community this year.
Some initiatives QWIL expanded and explored over the last year include its First-Year Membership Program, Care Packages, Research Initiatives, WILPower Out Loud Podcasts, the QCA X QWIL Women in Consulting Panel and its third annual Stock Pitch Fundamentals Event. Through these initiatives, QWIL supported Queen’s students across various diverse and unique backgrounds as well as promoted local Kingston businesses and charities.
QWIL raised $600 from its Exam Care Packages for Kingston charities, including Kingston Sexual Assault Centre and Dawn House. In these packages, all items were purchased from local Kingston businesses, allowing us to support the local economy and shine a light on these businesses. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important we recognize QWIL’s efforts in supporting Queen’s students’ mental well-being during one of the most stressful periods of the school year. QWIL has always been one for student mental health!
QWIL’s first-ever podcast, WILPower Out Loud, gave its audiences a chance to hear from incredibly talented, hardworking, and inspiring individuals dedicated to making an impact on issues such as mental health and childhood cancer while helping students reach their highest potential. The podcasts were designed to showcase each interviewee's diverse paths and journeys and how their experiences shaped them to be who they are today. In case you missed them, check out the WILPower Out Loud episodes to get inspired and learn from some amazing people, including Claire Davenport, Eloise McIntosh, Chloe Staines, Stephanie Joseph-Flatts, and Eric Windeler.
The QCA X QWIL Women in Consulting Panel explored women's experiences in consulting, including the unique challenges women face, and the support systems firms provide. The goal of the event was to encourage female students to pursue consulting as a career by sharing the lived experiences of female consultants, such as Langni Zeng (McKinsey & Company), Rachel Jing (Bain & Company), and Cierra Madore (Accenture). Together, the three touch on topics concerning females in the consulting space, including imposter syndrome, gender-influenced barriers, firm-provided support systems, mentorship, allyship, and the acknowledgement and support of intersectionality.
The Stock Pitch Fundamentals Event offered female-identifying students at Queen’s interested in finance to learn more about finance from experienced women pursuing careers in finance. The event created a safe space where female students could learn and develop new skills without feeling out of place in an environment typically dominated by males. Such events have done well in boosting confidence and encouraging more female Queen’s students to enter the finance industry; we love to see it!
What’s Next for QWIL?
There are no limits to what QWIL’s new executive team will achieve this year. QWIL’s 2023/24 Co-Chairs, Ashley Smith and Galiya Vendrov, are committed to continuing to build on QWIL’s progress in supporting women and equity-related causes through research, education, empowerment, and experience.
In light of Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I’d end this year-end reflection by reminding you to take care of yourselves and each other. Everyone is fighting a battle that others cannot see. Be kind. Be respectful. Be understanding. Be supportive. And most importantly, do the best that you can because that’s all any of us can do!