One day, in the summer before my second year of university, I was scrolling through Facebook on the infamously populated Laurier Brantford Official page. This is where everyone and everything associated with our school can find out the latest information from upcoming parties and events to where to go when you lose your One Card (I’m looking right at you, first years). Amidst all the traffic, I saw a fellow student named Jessa post about wanting to start a Her Campus magazine chapter at LB, only needing a few executives to get the ball rolling.
I messaged her immediately, inquiring about becoming the Senior Editor, and within a few weeks we had a full executive team, writers and social media curators to kick off Her Campus LB’s premier year. I remember, in the winter of this year, life was becoming increasingly dark for me – from family to friendship struggles, I grew very stressed. Just as I was determining to take a step back from anything beyond the necessities like schoolwork, Jessa and my now co-president, Bryanna, had a meeting with me, asking me to become the editor-in-chief for the 2019-2020 year.
It was as though the clouds were parting right above my head that day in Revolution Coffeehouse (*sigh*, rest in peace). I accepted, knowing this would be the right decision and that investing in Her Campus would be a mission that went far beyond my own reward. I had already met some incredible women through it and wanted to continue fostering a spirit of feminism on campus however I could, and written word had always been my strongest suit.
When September 2019 rolled around, I was as excited as I was petrified. I knew that in times past, high-up leadership positions intimidated me – I was always more comfortable having a seat at the executive table, but not calling the shots. I worried I would fail those around me who were relying on my supposed expertise. But over time, this imposter syndrome began to fade. My focus returned to the reality that I was in a position I deserved, aiming to support women of all walks of life show their world that what they have to say matters.
Most of the journey was fun and invigorating: hosting game nights, brunches and fundraisers, collaborating with other clubs and services, and generally holding space for marginalized peoples to be, do and say whatever that want. That is, in fact, my life’s one mission, and the fact that Her Campus contributed to it makes me forever indebted. Some of the journey wasn’t always as fun, like staying up very late when the publishing software decided to crap out or having to assert myself with a strong hand if a member simply stopped contributing. However, my most important takeaway is that leaders do not have to be dictators. Anyone around you could be experiencing hardships you might not ever have imagined; developing a relationship through empathy will get you way farther than being punitive and punishing – your teammates are humans, so treat them as such!
This entire experience has been such a blessing and allowed me for the first time to see myself as a leader. It has also given me an outlet to share the things I care most about, like social justice. I wrote about the amazing Billy Porter and the astonishing Misty Copeland for Black History Month. I told men exactly what they can do to become better allies in the stride for gender equity. I opened up about the realities of my chronic illnesses. I connected with talented, badass artists who read my articles celebrating their work. And now, I have shared my journey with the same community that’s been supporting me all along.
I want to say thank you – to Jessa, as well as Bryanna, Jonnica, Sam and Hannah, the women who have been leading with me from the beginning. Thank you to the incredible writers who have stunned me time and again with their amazing content and unique perspectives. Thank you to the wonderful social media team who has Laurier’s most popular web content, always keeping us going with some kickass templates and positive reminders. Thank you to those who have read, posted and shared alongside us, letting us know that our voices are not only valid but necessary. And thank you to Her Campus for creating a platform where women and gender minorities are able to connect and be seen. I hope going forward Her Campus continues to be a defining part of the Laurier Brantford family, opening more doors to friendship, leadership and justice for years to come.
For the last time, HCXO Golden Hawks!