|The WISE Team|
It all started at good old Costa Coffee. WISE and the CSS got together in October 2015 because they felt that there was a general lack of careers and networking events in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences which primarily focussed on women. In addition, there wasn’t really an event for women with a general interest in technology. WISE and CSS wanted a way to display their dedication to empowering women and promoting equality. Last year, WISE focused more on outreach events and speakers came in and talked to a predominantly female audience. However, the ‘Costa meeting’ turned this year’s conference into an even bigger event.
|The conference in full swing!|
First and foremost, they needed funding. Emails were fired off to sponsors and to the Head of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. The professional use of sponsorship tiers has meant that the conference had 10 big sponsors, such as Goldman Sachs and PWC. This has meant that the WISE Society had not only managed to break-even but more importantly, it allowed the event to become a day-long conference, rather than an all-morning event. The sponsorship money was used to provide lunch and refreshments for all attendees and helped them to publicise the event.
Next, they needed to get their message out there. With the help of CSS, they created a snazzy website for the event. From there, you can find out who the industry speakers will be, who the sponsors are but more importantly, how to sign up the event. This was done via ‘Eventbrite’. The event was also on Facebook – a simple way for the WISE society to get a rough number of attendees. The event was been a big hit, with the maximum number of tickets having been registered! University of Birmingham students were not the only attendees – Aston University students and even Birmingham City University Students attended.
How do they make this a day-long event then? Edna reached out to secure 6 influential female speakers, such as Naomi Mitchison (IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year 2014) and Jessica Rose (Head of Developer Relations, DreamFactory). With the day starting at 10:30am and finishing at 5:00pm, it really was a jam-packed day which will help women to ‘get their foot through the technology door!’ WISE and CSS were volunteering all day in order to ensure the event ran smoothly.
What was the enterprising impact on the WISE and CSS committee members?
Edna told me that she has acquired personal skills which she feels she would never have acquired from her degree. As time consuming as it is being the WISE PR Officer, it has made her into an excellent team plyer, especially when having to cope with a disagreeing team member. On top of this, the challenging task of finding speakers has shown her how to effectively ‘pitch a sale’ – she had to sound convincing and confident in order to secure their time for their event. This has even given her the opportunity to master the art of correspondence. She admitted that her degree never taught her how and when it is appropriate to email someone who has not replied. This skill will most definitely come in handy, especially when hoping to remain in the ‘good books’ of future employers.
|WISE Team distributing lanyards to attendees|
- Pavinder Bhangu