The Women’s Network to launch chapter at Tufts

The Women’s Network, a national organization created as a woman-led networking community that connects college students to professionals, will officially launch at Tufts by mid-February. The organization announced in the fall that it was forming a chapter at Tufts in an effort to expand its presence to members of the Medford/Somerville campus.

The organization was started by President Jamie Vinick in 2017 when she was a student at Syracuse University. Vinick created the network to address inequities that women often face in the workplace, particularly in achieving leadership positions.

She was inspired after attending an event at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, during which a female executive banker spoke about her career. 

According to Vinick, issues of gender in the workplace were not addressed during the event.

“I couldn’t believe that not a single question was asked related to gender,” Vinick said. “What I wanted to know were things like ‘What was it like as a woman to successfully ascend in [the] male-dominated field of finance?’”

Since then, Vinick has built The Women’s Network into an organization that has 42 chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and 20 more in the midst of launching, including one at Tufts.

In addition to connecting women with professionals in their desired industries through a networking community, the organization hopes to encourage women to value ambition, according to Vinick.

“Our primary mission is to both connect collegiate and recently graduated women to each other and to leaders across many industries and celebrate ambition,” Vinick said. “It is an incredible thing, an amazing thing, to be ambitious, to have drive, to possess career aspirations and goals in life and to be surrounded by fellow community members who can share that vision.”

During meetings, members are given the opportunity to share and discuss strategies and advice for building confidence in the workplace, as well as in other institutions.

“All of our meetings are centered around empowering women and every single event somehow connects back to our mission: connecting collegiate women and celebrating ambition,” sophomore Katrina Ho wrote in an electronic message to the Daily.

Ilona Lahdesmaki, a first-year, joined the network after they requested to follow her on Instagram.

“I joined the organization, but then I realized that I actually wanted to do a little bit more than that,” Lahdesmaki said. “So I applied to be a campus ambassador to recruit more members.”

Lahdesmaki spoke about resources and events that the chapter is planning to make accessible to organization members.

“We might have speaker events, we might have a leadership workshop or something to do with resume LinkedIn building,” Lahdesmaki said. “The mission of The Women’s Network is to essentially create a community of women that celebrates the desire to achieve.”

Lahdesmaki, who intends to pursue a major in a STEM-related field, said that the organization is also looking to recruit women with backgrounds in STEM.

“At first sight, it looks like a club that’s for politics or finance or business majors … but it’s for anyone,” Lahdesmaki said. “[Women in STEM] are very underrepresented … so this is a really good networking opportunity and learning opportunity.”

The organization intends to support its members both in college as well as in their professional careers.

“[The Women’s Network] is not just any ordinary club that people join on campus and then forget about … this is something that will help [our members] throughout their careers,” Vinick said.