After graduating from Exeter in 2013, Georgie Hazell worked in a number of startups across the marketing and people functions before heading back to Exeter for her MBA and moving into venture capital where she now heads up engagement at Augmentum Fintech, helping to find and support high-potential fintech teams across Europe. Georgie also works as a coach, helping women find clarity and develop their confidence.
Georgie launched Her Campus in Exeter (and the UK) in January 2012 while in her second year of undergrad, after getting involved with the publication on her term abroad in the US as a way of meeting people. We spoke to Georgie about her experiences launching Her Campus in Exeter, from the launch process to funny moments and advice for students involved in the organization now.
1. How did you find out about Her campus?
I was lucky enough to study abroad in Virginia, US in my second year at Exeter. I was interested in media and magazines and heard about Her Campus through one of the other international students. My main reason for joining was to meet people and try something new – I was only there for a term so I wanted to make the most of it. I went to an intro meeting and found the President there to be really inspiring, so I thought I would give it a go. Who would have known where this would lead!
2. Why did you decide to bring Her campus to Exeter?
My time in the US was eye-opening, not least because of how ‘cool’ it was to be involved in any club or other extra-curricular activity you wanted, from acapella to Harry Potter and sports – none was any ‘better’ than the others and I loved how much people threw themselves into these. This felt like a contrast to Exeter in which the sports clubs (and their alcohol-fueled socials) seemed to be thought of as ‘above’ many of the others – while well-meaning, they had a tendency to be clique-y. I found Her Campus to be such a positive, progressive community which went far beyond ‘just a magazine’ and thought if I felt that way, others may well do as well.
3. What was the process of bringing her campus to exeter like?
I wrote a proposal, edited some articles and had an interview with the Her Campus co-founders. I was confident there was a gap in the market at Exeter but it hadn’t been done before and I didn’t have visibility over the Her Campus growth plans so wasn’t sure how this would be received by the founders. I must have said something right as we were accepted. I was over the moon and set to work roping in people to help with the launch the same day!
4. did you have many members when you started?
We did a big marketing push which involved homemade branded t-shirts and photo backdrops, a social media campaign, roping in sports teams and good old-fashioned handing out of leaflets on campus. We launched with 100 members (99 female, one male!), proving out my thinking that there would be huge demand for something like this. The number stayed that high for the full year which was brilliant to see.
5. Did you have a favourite section to write for?
I edited much more than I wrote (a skill that still comes in handy now!), but I loved bringing the exec teams together and discussing different ways of approaching content and motivating writers. I also loved how much say we had in shaping UK and wider European strategy. When we started Her Campus Exeter, Her Campus was very US-centric and we were fortunate the founders were open to hearing our thoughts on how this could be broadened out to take account of the cultural nuances and resonate with a wider audience.
6. what was your favourite thing about our chapter?
By far and away it was the diversity of members, from courses and uni years to interests and personalities. I built Her Campus in Exeter with inclusivity at the heart of it and encouraging different perspectives – my worst nightmare was it becoming an exclusive clique for a certain type of person and I truly felt energised every time we got together as a team. I learnt so much from the other members and feel so proud to see how it has evolved over the years. This really is thanks to every person who has been even a small part of the organisation over the years and I feel grateful to still count many as friends.
7. what is your favourite memory from her campus?
I felt energised discussing content and marketing ideas with the team, and seeing the impact in terms of rising traffic over the years. My favourite memories are those of team members developing confidence in sharing their ideas as time went on however, and comments from people saying that their involvement in Her Campus meant they could ‘be themselves’ for the first time at university. I never took these kinds of comments lightly – they really meant the world.
8. Were there any funny stories from your time as the first president of Her campus exeter?
Spencer from Made in Chelsea turned up at our launch event! The show had recently launched and was proving very popular on campus. He was there for something else (and I’m not sure on reflection he would necessarily have been our target surprise guest!) but we got some good photos of him with Her Campus stash which was amusing.
I also used to love that so many guys would tell me they loved reading Her Campus, usually after a few drinks and with a “don’t tell anyone” caveat!
9. Do you have any advice for current and future her campus members as the founder of the exeter chapter?
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that being part of Her Campus changed my life. I learnt so much from the experience, from building a team to motivating people (who weren’t being paid), writing/editing skills and managing my time and competing priorities, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. I spoke about the experience in internship and job interviews for years to come and it has always been met with great interest. There is sadly still a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and I believe that platforms like Her Campus at universities are leading the charge in making real change.
My advice would simply be to enjoy the process, stay open-minded to what can come from it and put yourself forward to opportunities even if (/especially if!) they scare you. Being part of Her Campus brings about the opportunity to build self-confidence and share different perspectives with a wide range of people. I think it can be seen as a real privilege to have the opportunity to stimulate people’s minds, help people feel heard and try something new as part of a safe, supportive community.