The Women’s Network is all about networking—with some ambition sprinkled on top.
In her sophomore year at Syracuse University, Jamie Vinnick founded The Women’s Network. According to Jamie, “The ultimate objective of the Network is to provide collegiate women with an accessible network of contacts to secure internships and jobs.” I can feel the empowerment and confidence radiating off her. I can’t help but respect the heck out of that.
Starting at Syracuse University, the reputation this organization has built is astounding.
The United Nations Senior Director of Integrated Communications, Sueann Tannis, reflects that when thinking about them she immediately thinks of “promise, potential, and power.” I don’t know about you guys, but that sounds like music to my ears.
Now branching out to close to 150 universities throughout the U.S. and Canada and as we spoke earlier today, Vinnick explained that her ambitions don’t stop there. Not only does she hope to bring the Women’s Network to even more people, but she also wants to place additional focus on “providing women with the skills they need to achieve professional success.”
The work Jamie Vinnick’s organization is doing is even more important when you learn about the statistics about women in high-level positions. According to LinkedIn, “Women in the U.S. are 28 percent less likely than men to have a strong network.”
Research has shown that networking is essential for professionals to succeed. More information has come to light on how different characteristics of an organization benefit men more than women, or vice versa. When it comes to men, they benefit “not so much from size of network but from being central in the MBA student network” according to Harvard Business Review. In contrast, women also gain the most help not just from being central in said network, but also having a smaller circle within that where they can flourish even more.
What this might mean is that within an organization of 100 men, they will benefit just as much as women who have both 100 women in the organization and within that, a smaller group where she can relate on a more personal level. Undoubtedly, I am sure that friendships are formed, but so is common knowledge that is imperative for young women: are job advancement opportunities equal for all genders, sexualities, races, and more? Is maternity leave available? Does the company have any history of sexual harassment?
People don’t like to ask these kinds of questions, but as a woman, maybe you should.
One interesting thing about this network is their podcast. And of course, it’s perfectly named: Redefining Ambition. After listening to a few of them myself, I loved how many of the women being interviewed were from different industries and responsibility levels. One guest speaker was Leigh Morgan, former COO of the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation (I did that on purpose). Another was a former NASCAR driver, and another was the Global Managing Director at Waze. With fifteen credit hours, graduate school applications and a part-time job, I barely have time for self-care, much less a networking meeting. However, The Women’s Network understands balancing a heavy workload and has made their inspiration and encouragement that much more malleable to working people.
All in all, I would strongly encourage joining this organization for so many reasons: to help network (its primary focus), to feel more empowered—especially when pursuing dreams and breaking glass ceilings and to help feel a little less alone when you’re conquering Mount Everest.