Women’s Network empowers women to succeed in noncompetitive environment

The executive team of The Woman's Network serves to build up their peers and create a new strive for greatness. Photo courtesy of Ashley Ehler

By Ashlyn Beck | Staff Writer

Since launching a chapter at Baylor two weeks ago, the Women’s Network has been dedicated to helping college women prepare for the next step in their careers in a supportive environment.

Chandler, Ariz., junior Ashley Ehler is president of the Baylor Women’s Network. She said the national organization reached out to her, asking her to found the chapter. According to the Women’s Network website, it’s at over 120 college campuses in North America and Europe.

“Our mission statement is creating a community of women that celebrates the desire to achieve, cultivating ambition to prepare the next generation of leaders,” Ehler said.

Ehler said the network is motivated by the need to prepare women to transition from college into the workforce, with meetings and events to help.

“We aim to provide professional development skills that will help women move from college life to career life,” Ehler said.

San Francisco junior Isabella Tole is one of the two vice presidents of the Baylor Women’s Network. She said the network opens opportunities all over the country.

“We’re a network that not only has connections within Baylor but all across the country, and we prioritize opportunities for our members,” Tole said.

Ehler and Tole both said the network seeks to create a noncompetitive environment that encourages women to support one another rather than compete for jobs.

“We value authenticity,” Ehler said. “We’re a group of women that are about to meet each other [from] a lot of different cultures, a lot of different backgrounds, a lot of different beliefs. So we ask for respect. We will give you respect. We are a supportive environment.”

According to Ehler and Tole, the noncompetitive environment is essential to creating a safe space for women to learn and grow.

“It’s super important for me as a member to be in that sort of community with that uplifting environment, versus competing against each other for opportunities,” Tole said.

Ehler said the network is for women across all disciplines. Tole said networking is essential for all areas of study.

“I’m really grateful and proud to say our network extends across all industries, because our network is from a national chapter,” Tole said.

Because it wants to be accessible to all women on campus, Ehler said the network does not have dues. Rather, the membership requirement is attending 50% of all events, which is about six hours of commitment per semester.

“[We’re] doing a big interview section before career day so that everybody can get in the mindset of how to be confident when you’re speaking,” Ehler said.

Ehler said another goal of the network is to prioritize mental health, so she sends out newsletters that include book recommendations or time-management tips to encourage members.

“I think one thing that makes women very successful in their lives is also having a balanced lifestyle,” Ehler said.

The Baylor Women’s Network meets biweekly on Thursday evenings. The first meeting was last week, with 30 to 35 women in attendance. Ehler said they are hoping to expand as the chapter grows and connects with other women’s organizations on campus.

Ehler and Tole said the network values authenticity and expects members to be their “true selves.”

Those interested can join by filling out the link on the Women’s Network website.

“Ultimately, just gaining strength within ourselves, our personal beliefs, our profession, strength and all of that,” Ehler said. “We’re here to connect with one another, so we value you no matter what.”