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Warwick Girl Boss in 2019/20 (Ellie Mayall)

Ellie Mayall, the incoming president of Warwick Girl Boss Society, looks back on the events of this academic year, and looks forward to seeing the society grow in the future.

Warwick Girl Boss Society is a supportive community for ambitious women at Warwick, who inspire, empower and encourage each other to reach their aspirations. We strongly believe that wellbeing is the foundation of all success, and thus seek to provide events and spaces for both personal and professional development. Having been established in 2019, we are a relatively new society and are so grateful to all of our wonderful members for their support and belief in what we stand for.

This year was a hugely productive one for Girl Boss (under the expert guidance of our president, Weiran Li), starting with a rebranding and going on to expand on the wonderful work done by our founders. We also decided to ensure professional development was at the fore of our society, hosting career events applicable to many industries. Our community makes us who we are, and we are still overjoyed that we were a finalist for the Women’s Society Award in Bright Network’s Society of the Year Awards 2019. I want to thank the executive team of 2019-20 for all of their hard work and cannot wait to build on this with the incoming executive team.

Girl Boss was founded on the principle of helping both the personal and professional development of women, and we particularly sought to deliver the latter from the outset of the year. Our events were wide-ranging, from panel discussions to workshops, masterclasses to presentations.

One of our highlights of the year was our Personal Brand Masterclass with Sallee Poinsette-Nash, where we learnt the importance of promoting our authentic selves and were given great tasks to help us do so.

Above: Our masterclass with Sallee Poinsette-Nash

We were also honoured to have speakers from Warwick Enterprise, in particular Rachel Davis and Debbie Smith. We were inspired by Rachel’s journey and grateful for the wisdom we gained from Debbie’s workshop. Our members loved these experiences, so we hope to have many more in the year to come.

Above: Rachel Davis and Debbie Smith deliver sessions

In the Autumn Term of 2019, Girl Boss teamed up again with Warwick Enterprise to host Her Innovation Collective. As we said in our Facebook post at the time:

The two panel discussions with successful female entrepreneurs/businesswomen left us feeling hopeful, ambitious and ready for the real world. Not only did we learn about starting and shaping our career path, we gained extensive insights on life outside the corporate scene; maintaining work-life balance, overcoming burnout, etc. Special thanks to NOI Club, the all-female network that supports entrepreneurs and ambitious women around the world, whose founder Paola Garbini hosted and brought along more inspiring females to our last panel discussion. We were so glad to meet our new members through this experience and, with this new partnership with Warwick Enterprise, we are excited to bring you many more career-events in Term 2!

(And you can now sign up to Her Innovation Collective Online, as part of Warwick Enterprise's Summer Programme 2020.)

In addition to the above collaborations, financial support from Warwick Enterprise has helped us to run more events, to market them effectively, and to pay for guests’ travel expenses.

Above: Her Innovation Collective

Our other career events have also sought to utilise the expertise and experiences of Warwick’s own Girl Bosses, resulting in our first career event of the year being a Student Career Panel. Further, we went on to have a collaboration with the Women in Finance branch of Warwick Finance Societies on how to pitch yourself professionally and personally. Both events provided our members with tangible knowledge from their peers, thus we are thankful to Women in Finance and our panellists for all of their hard work and time.

Our flagship event, Spilling the Tea, has also gone from strength to strength, confronting topics that we felt were a necessity for the ambitious women of Warwick to talk about frankly. We particularly enjoyed our collaboration with Sexpression Warwick, where we examined relationships, wellbeing, and a range of thought-provoking subjects in our whole-group and pair discussions.

Above: Spilling the Tea

Another brilliant Spilling the Tea session was our Valentine’s Day-inspired self-love workshop, where attendees were asked to complete tasks such as letters to themselves and write compliments to each other. Personally, I really enjoyed this event and we now each have a lovely page of compliments which we can look back on if feeling down. These fully interactive events are ones that we look forward to continuing and expanding on this term and next academic year.

One of our final events of the Spring Term also focused on the wellbeing aspect of personal development, in our panel discussion ‘Let's Talk: Mental Health’ which was in collaboration with ConnectUs and Healing Clouds. The emphasis was on the importance of focusing on mental health - a highly relevant topic given an audience of University students with looming deadlines, but also one that I hope can now be utilised and reflected on by our members who attended, and can be discussed with friends and family during these dark and uncertain times.

It is inevitable that COVID-19 will make any plans that we had for Spilling the Tea and de-stressing sessions in Term 3 a little harder to carry out; however, I am sure that the knowledge and skill of the wonderful new exec team for 2020-21 will mean that we are able to overcome this adversity and move our events and support onto a virtual platform. We aim to grow Girl Boss into an even larger community of ambitious women over the next year, and cannot wait to bring in new speakers and host great events, making a tangible difference to the lives of women at Warwick.

If this resonates with you, and you are interested in joining our society, please sign up to the mailing list which can be found on our Facebook page. If you want to keep up with what we will be doing this year, we are also on Instagram (@warwickgirlboss) and LinkedIn.

I am Ellie Mayall, an English Literature student at the University of Warwick. I believe in the importance of open conversation and empowering women to reach their potential. I have found these beliefs and much more reflected in Girl Boss society and I am honoured to be its incoming President.