Follow up on the five women who featured in the Women's Freshers Mixer and their insight.

Published Wednesday, 6th October, 2021 in University news

The Women’s Freshers Mixer, one of the first City Students’ Union events of the 2021 Welcome Week, welcomed five outstanding women to join City women students in a panel discussion about what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. An event by women and for women, this was hosted by the Women in Law Society, BAME Women Society and the Women in Business Society and happened on Monday 27th September 2021 in the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre.

The Panellists

Joining the panel discussion was:

  • Stephanie Itimi – digital entrepreneur; founder of Seidea, a social enterprise helping BAME women build cybersecurity careers and Seinfo, a digital library empowering African women and youth with remote working skills (Instagram: @afrocheri)
  • Katy Thompson – community leader; local lead coordinator of the Waltham Forest Streetbase team, a group working with young people to reduce violent crimes in the City and Local area and advocate for youth inclusion (Instagram: @streetbase_wf)
  • Joey Li (MSc Marketing Strategy and Innovation, 2019) – social enterprise co-founder; founder and CEO of Leiho, a lifestyle brand on a mission to make purchasing basic products more meaningful; for every pair of socks sold by Leiho, a pair is donated to a homeless shelter (Instagram: @joeyyli)
  • Rachida Benamar – entrepreneur, career coach;studied law and has pursued many career paths such as in business, publishing, public speaking, and career mentorship; she has presented career and business talks to several companies, created a sophisticated and educational stationery brand called Rama Publishing, and is a member of the European Mentoring & Coaching Council (Instagram: @rachidabenamarldn)
  • Anju Solanki – diversity and inclusion consulting co-founder; formerly with a career in investment banking and now co-founder of MEA Consulting Group which helps companies build a diverse and inclusive culture; a business mentor for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women which helps aspiring female entrepreneurs in Africa develop their business strategy (Instagram: @anju_solanki_mea)

For more information about each panellist, visit the Women in Business Society’s Instagram page here.

Key advice

Opening the discussion, the panellists were asked, “What advice would you have for women pursuing a career in your field?” Each response throughout the discussion offered the City students in the room plenty to reflect on and remember. Some of the collective key advice shared to help empower other women included:

  • Find a mentor; No one gets anywhere by themselves
  • Authenticity is key; Be the truest form of yourself you can be
  • Grow your network and perspective
  • Don’t be afraid to say no if something doesn’t fit
  • Find your community or create one
  • Use your voice and fight for your rights
  • Don’t compare yourself to others around you
  • Your values will guide you
  • Have clarity on your vision
  • Once you have confidence, you can do anything.

Looking ahead

After the panel discussion and some audience questions, students and panellists were invited right outside the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre for snacks, drinks, and networking with each other. The Women’s Freshers Mixer offered a space for women to learn from other women, to relate to one another’s experiences, and to feel empowered about how to navigate and thrive in future endeavours.

If you’re interested in joining these societies and want to stay up to date on their events, visit their pages on the Students’ Union website.