Walking into any YWiB event, a few things are clear: There are TONS of young women in Toronto looking to grow their network and start their career, and there is (unfortunately) no formula that can be shared for launching a career. Since launching YWiB, I’ve met women looking for their first job, trying to leave a job they’re unhappy in, women considering entrepreneurship, or sometimes, a unicorn: a woman happy with her job and career trajectory! We all want to be that last woman, and it’s entirely possible – YWiB just happened to help me get there.
In 2015 a friend of mine told me about an interesting organization based out of Vancouver. She wanted to launch a chapter in Toronto. Nearly a year later, we launched YWiB Toronto with a conference uniting 80 women and men interested in our mission.
I became the Events Director for the organization and our team produced vastly unique monthly events, each one bringing in new women to meet, with many of them becoming members and volunteers. Each month we secured a new venue, tried a different caterer, and facilitated a different activity or panel topic. My favourite was a yoga class that ended with free pressed green juice. The events weren’t perfect, but we learned a lot – working with different vendors and partners can give you a pretty comprehensive understanding of the events landscape. More importantly, it ignited my desire to pursue events full time.
A year after launching YWiB Toronto, I began my career search. At the time, I was a community manager for a shared office space and was enjoying the relaxed and social nature of my job. Unfortunately, growth was stagnant and I needed a new challenge. My first challenge, however, was to figure out how to make the move to launch my career.
I looked at all we’d built with YWiB – an active community of women interested in attending our events – and realized this could be a full-time job. YWiB took over the top spot in my resume, I highlighted some of the community events I had organized at my job, and took to my career search.
My search took 6 months but eventually I found success – I entered an industry I had never worked in before into a role where I’m responsible for organizing conferences of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of attendees! The company is small and appreciates the fact that I had a hand in many sides of the YWiB events, and since none of my colleagues have experience with meetup style networking events, I bring something new to the team. Everything I learned from a year with YWiB is being put to use. I’ve reached Unicorn status - finally, I'm happy with my career trajectory!
YWiB has the potential to help you become a unicorn too. It’s simply what we do – whether you meet someone hiring for a job you want, get inspired by the entrepreneurs on a panel, or even something as small as asking for help on the Facebook Group. Keep in mind that unicorns don’t last forever. After a few months into the new gig you’ll undoubtedly begin wanting something more, some job growth, or a whole new career change… and the cycle continues. Become a unicorn, and I encourage you to use YWiB to help you get there. While you’re there, try helping someone else become a unicorn. Thrive, learn, and grow – then start the journey to become a unicorn all over again.
Written by: Olivia Kitevski, Founding Member & Emailing Marketing Coordinator @ YWiB