Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, CWIB! To share the love during this holiday, I wanted to feature all the many reasons why our leadership team, committees, and general membership appreciate what they are provided with through being a part of CWIB. All of you are integral pieces of what makes this organization a success, so take the time to read about why we love CWIB!
With CWIB’s pillars being empower, prepare, and connect, I can’t help but notice how “empower” resonates with the majority of us the most. I honestly can say I have never left a monthly meeting not feeling empowered and inspired by all that our leadership team executes, the advice our amazing guest speakers provide, and the day-to-day opportunities you all pursue in order to reach your goals. One of our Co-CEOs, Ashton Hughes, seems to agree as she “LOVES being surrounded by such a large group of driven, intelligent, and multifaceted women.” Since we all bring unique talents and skills to our jobs, classes, and extracurriculars, it always keeps things interesting hearing about the opportunities we all have going on for ourselves. It truly shows how passionate we are; we each can inspire each other every day by sharing our personal experiences, because our stories are meaningful and empowering.
The reason we all feel so empowered being apart of CWIB is that “the friendships you make here are built on support from the beginning, so you know you can always lean on each other and ask for help when you need it,” as our COO Kaelyn Petrides said. Never having to question whether our friends will genuinely encourage us is a wonderful feeling. CWIB prides itself on empowering all women to make real, lasting connections, and this is evident through the bonds we hold with current and former members to this day. Another reason Kaelyn loves CWIB (I really love this reason myself) is that she “gets to be a boss without the fear of being called bossy.” She can be the “strong and professional and compassionate woman that she wants to be in the workplace.” CWIB sets us women up for success by teaching us to embrace our thoughts, opinions, and ideas because they matter! We are exposed to practicing this mentality before we enter the workforce so that when we do, we are better negotiators, more equipped to collaborate with others, and confident in the work we accomplish. Being able to network with others in order to make connections is another crucial aspect we will have to tackle in the workforce, which is why our CMO Abby Mercatoris-Morrison loves CWIB. She tells me “I love CWIB because of the connections I’ve made and the friendships I’ve gained.” I’m sure you all want to be friends, or at least on good terms, with your coworkers on day, and it’s much easier to feel this way when you are supported by those around you. Abby realizes this too as “she feels confident being surrounded by supportive women.”
Our Chronicles writers shared what they love about CWIB too! Lauren Miles states, “I love CWIB because it gives me so many opportunities to learn about the workplace and meet talented and successful women.” As a freshman, Lauren appreciates gaining experience from older members and getting a feel for what they did as an underclassman to set themselves up for success. It is important to learn these skills early on in our collegiate careers, which is another wonderful aspect CWIB provides. Our senior members feel honored to share their knowledge with the eager underclassmen; being able to teach others what you were once taught is extremely empowering and a main aspect of growing up. This is something our guest speakers can resonate with as I’m confident they enjoy imploring their knowledge and skills with us, after all they were once in our shoes. Gyu Ri Kim states she feels “the empowerment after guest lecturers come share their stories with us.” She loves hearing their successes and appreciates that CWIB gives us the platform to learn from these successful women.
With all the amazing organizations Virginia Tech has, CWIB has a special place in our heart for our dedicated members. It may seem overwhelming finding your place here at school, but Lindsay Barnes tells the Chronicles that CWIB was the first organization she joined when she got to Tech. “CWIB gave me a lot of direction in terms of my major and the ability to get involved in something so early on,” Lindsay says. Even if you do not know other women in the organization at first, our members are always welcoming and eager to meet others! Grace Farmelo states that she “always ends up having a good time and talking to other women [she] has a lot in common with” at the variety of CWIB events. She loves the uplifting community CWIB is, and that she can attend events without the worry of not being able to connect with someone.
We all come to college looking to find resources that help us in our professional and personal endeavors. Ashley Mattson loves all the activities, workshops, and events CWIB gives us. The resources we provide are unlike other clubs’ and the possibility of advancement in leadership positions is quite evident. Shannon Kelly appreciates the growth opportunities in certain positions and the self-confidence you gain from being a part of committees. The fact that new leadership teams and committees can continue the work of the previous one represents the great passion we have for continuing the success of CWIB.
As for myself, I love that CWIB has helped me gain life skills such as collaborating with others, not being afraid to speak up, and making meaningful connections. I have leaped out of my shell since joining CWIB and I can see that many other women have too. No matter your major, professional goals, or collegiate stage of life, CWIB has something we all can take advantage of to better ourselves. I hope you feel the CWIB love after reading all these inspiring testimonials and don’t forget to do something kind for someone today, try something new, and spread the love you have for all the amazing women (and men!) in your life.
By: Emma Harwood