Club aims to empower women in university through networking, advice, support
This Sunday, the University of Ottawa club HerCampus will host the networking and empowerment speakers series BLOOM as part of their mandate as a club to inspire women and push them to achieve their goals.
Founded in 2009 by three women attending Harvard University, HerCampus aims to empower women in university through fundraising events, networking, and weekly articles on various topics ranging from politics to fashion. Currently, there are 360 chapters of the club in 11 different countries.
The U of O chapter of HerCampus has been active for nine years. They create a space in which women can be heard and are able to thrive regardless of their goals or backgrounds. It establishes a community of women who encourage and support each other as they maneuver the challenges women can face in the workforce.
Lauren Lindner, one of the club’s campus correspondents, describes HerCampus as a space created “by women, for women.”
“I joined HerCampus because I wanted a place where I could hear voices that were similar to mine but also have my voice heard,” Lindner said. “(HerCampus is) an amazing place where growth happens because you have this kind of symbiotic relationship of women supporting each other.”
HerCampus hosts several events every year to promote an inclusive campus while raising money for charity. One is the Capital Catwalk Fashion Show that is put on every February at the Lansdowne Horticulture building. In this year’s fashion show, the club aims to raise $10,000 to add to the $50,000 that has already been donated to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
Another event is the BLOOM Series, which started as a yearly event, but has since developed into a speaker series offered every semester in order to inspire a “continuous conversation with our audience,” said Lindner. Bloom hosts women from different backgrounds and fields who share their knowledge and offer advice on overcoming challenges within their respective fields.
The upcoming BLOOM event will feature talks and presentations by several women accomplished in their fields.
One is Kaysey Davis, a former HerCampus writer and a current freelance lifestyle writer who has written for Buzzfeed, Elle Canada, and Canadian Living. Also speaking is Dominique Baker, a successful influencer and lifestyle blogger. The event isn’t only geared towards aspiring writers, though HerCampus does produce a lot of lifestyle articles, and has a large online media presence.
The final speaker is Audrey O’Brien, the first woman to be appointed Clerk of the House of Commons in 2005, who worked as a parliamentary public servant for 30 years before retiring in 2015.
“BLOOM is just a really nice atmosphere, a really nice day to generate motivation and inspire women to keep going and pushing in their respective fields,” Lindner said.
HerCampus at the U of O plans to continue building on the momentum that they have accumulated in the last few years and further develop the BLOOM Series by having more panellists and inviting past speakers to present again.
Lindner hopes the club can “save some lives with the money we’ve been raising” at events throughout the year, including the speakers series.
The BLOOM speaker series will be held Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Draft Pub in the Minto Sports Complex. Check out their Facebook page for more information and to purchase tickets.