Hilary Term 2021 in review

Hilary term provided unique challenges and opportunities for the OxWIB committee, as we navigated a term where the majority of students were away from Oxford. For the Events team this meant ensuring events were as engaging as possible and battling students' zoom fatigue. One benefit of the online format was the ability to invite and connect speakers from all around the world with our members, who were also joining us internationally.



We began this unique term with a relaxed online coffee chat with our long term sponsor Wiser on Tuesday the 19th January. Wiser is an award-winning creative & recruitment company that combines culture and performance to change the way people think about work. They were promoting Fraser group's Finding the Fearless contest for students in the UK.


Our first panel, celebrating Women in Entrepreneurship, took place on Thursday the 21st January. We were so excited to welcome:

Bilyane Freye, Co-Founder and CEO of Orbiit, a virtual networking platform helping managers systematically connect their members through 1:1 conversations.

Anneliese James, founder of 22Midnight, a marketing, business development, brand creation and visual content company.

Joy McCarthy, founder of Joyous Health, a lifestyle blog and brand, and author of three best-selling books, The Joyous Cookbook, Joyous Detox, and Joyous Health.

This event quickly became a committee favourite due to the warm and supportive atmosphere between the panelists, who were so generous with their time and advice, and the attendees. It was an empowering evening which also acknowledged the tough reality of being a women entrepreneur.


In Week 2, we co-hosted a very popular Introduction to Blockchain workshop with the Oxford Blockchain Society. Designed as an introduction for beginners, we were joined by over 100 attendees of different skill levels and encouraged to start engaging with cryptocurrency.


Friday evening, on the 12th February, we joined forces with the Oxford Advertising Society to host New York's formidable Cindy Gallop, the self described "Michael Bay of business." Cindy's no-nonsense approach to the often taboo topic of porn was eye-opening as she explained the vision and work behind her social justice companies, IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn. Cindy's TED talk "Make Love Not Porn" was one of the most talked about presentations at the 2009 TED conference. Watch it below:


The next Monday, 15th February, Hannah Power led a personal branding workshop for our members. For Hannah, personal branding is not about fancy logos, Linkedin profile, Instagram filters and blogs. It’s about standing for something, it’s about leading a movement. The first part of her workshop focused on realisation of your vision. With a series of questions and exercises, participants were encouraged to summarise the purpose of their work into two punchy sentences. Having identified this, participants were invited to a second workshop two weeks later which gave tips and tricks in finding and producing content around your vision. Hannah shared how she schedules her social media content, the best free sites to use and how to avoid negative content online. Overall, the workshop series gave participants focus, inspiration, confidence and resources to revamp their personal brand.


On the 17th February we held our second panel of the term: Women in the Social Sector. Trying to expand the notion of business, we invited leading women in the social sector to join us. We were honoured to host:

Vicky Browning, CEO of ACEVO

Roli Barker, Development Manager at Shelter UK

Adeela Warley, CEO of CharityComms and

Precious Sithole, Founder and CEO of Social Practice ENT

We discussed their inspiration when embarking on their careers, the skills gained along the way and their incredible work in fighting homelessness, communications, building strategies for charitable organisations and accountancy and consulting for charities. Each speaker took a different route into the social sector, but they were all united in their encouragement of students to pursue a career in social justice.


In Week 6 we continued to explore creative industries with the Women in Media and Journalism panel, in collaboration with the Oxford University Media Society. We were delighted to hear from varied perspectives within the broad sector:

Mythili Rao, Senior Producer on the Guardian's Today in Focus podcast

Myrna Blyth, VP and Editorial Director at AARP Media Solutions

Megan Agnew, Features writer and Comissioning Editor for TV & Film at The Sunday Times Magazine

The panel gave great insight into the future of media, as panelists discussed the emergence of Substack, the growing dominance of podcasting and changing representations of women in media.


On Friday of Week 6 we had a virtual Catch-up and Cupcakes social, a chance for members to connect whilst baking their favourite sweet treats at home.


On Thursday the 4th March, Week 7, we were delighted to continue our long-running Inspirational Women Series, adding Tai Fayose and Samantha Helen-Witte to our esteemed speaker list.

Tai has worked in financial crime and regulatory compliance at Barclays. She is currently the Deputy Money Laundering Reporting Officer at CDC Group, a development finance institution owned by the UK government.

Samantha has worked as an energy consultant at the World Bank. She is currently completing her PhD in Economics at Oxford. Upon graduation, she will be joining Wellington Management as an Investor.

Their diverse backgrounds and experiences have led them to launch AspireXAccess, a platform which enables young adults to discover and pursue their own paths to success. It was a touching and personal event as both women opened up about the barriers they have faced and espoused the importance of family planning alongside career planning for those wanting children.