Student Organization Spotlight: Undergraduate Women’s Network

At UIC Business, March always begins with celebrating the success of women in business at the annual conference hosted by the  Undergraduate Women’s Network (UWN). The UWN team has been instrumental in sharing success stories to inspire women to continue their journey to the top of the corporate ladder. Their efforts have made women more inspired, motivated and empowered to succeed. As they start to make the road map for the coming semester, we catch up with Akanksha Chaudhari (President, UWN & Sophomore at UIC Business) to learn about her journey with UWN.

What is the purpose of UWN?
The Undergraduate Women's Network is an organization that aims to become the home and hub for all things pre-professional women need in order to become inspired, encouraged, and confident while pursuing their careers. We are an ambitious group working with companies and organizations, regardless of their industry, to bring in diverse perspectives to students. Our events and programming focus on workplace equality, professional development, networking etiquette, and an  insider POV on different types of careers as well as engage in the ongoing dialogue about women in the workplace today. 
In what direction would you like to take the organization this year?
The mission of UWN is to increase education, awareness, and advocacy for workplace and wage equality while working to aid all students in becoming their best professional selves. This year we hope to continue fostering those goals within the UIC community and are excited to be working on various online initiatives for our students to take advantages from for the upcoming summer and fall semester. We hope to continue to engage students with professionals in one on one calls and group conferences as well as work to plan our signature fall events like the UWNxFCG Accenture Case Competition through online means if possible. We are all faced with uncertainty of face to face interactions and thus as event planners we are hard at work to secure safe and enriching opportunities for our students in this “new normal” scenario. 
Tell us about the impact UWN has on its members & the events you organize.
UWN is known to be a community that empowers members with a tremendous amount of positive energy and brings in togetherness amongst its members, UWN hopes to be the backbone of support for students in bringing great minds together and be there for each other through mutual respect. UWN hosts all kinds of professional events like speaker series, company panels, workshops, site visits, socials and philanthropic events. We also host the annual Women In Business/Leadership Conference that brings together many renowned C-suite Executives, Entrepreneurs, Political prodigies and more to inspire the young generations from various Chicago universities. 
Congratulations on the success of the “Women In Business” event in the beginning of the semester! What was it like to organize and plan the event? 
Organizing the 6th Annual Women In Business Conference was a thrilling and enriching experience for me in every possible way. There were so many learning curves almost every week from October to the day of the conference. In the end, thanks to all the assistance from the amazing group of dedicated ladies at UWN has led to the success of the conference. The ease with which we could coordinate our executive panelist and speakers side is also because of the efforts put together by the team. 
How can students get involved & what is the takeaway for them?
Students can get involved with UWN through social media by simply following us on instagram (@uwn_uic) and also registering to become a member on our official website. The biggest takeaway UWN has offered most of its members is networking which has led to some pretty amazing employment opportunities and of course, leadership opportunities. We are a community of ambitious students eager to always help each other excel and have each other's support. 
What is the highlight of your association with the Undergraduate Women’s Network?
Personally, my highlight of being with UWN was my entire Presidency period and all the lessons learned together as an organization. There is no solo work in UWN, we boast of some amazing communication and organization skills that lead to our daily success as a student organization. Also, for me the sheer ability to be able to become a better professional student leader has been one of the best experiences ever at UIC Business. 
Lastly, how important do you think it is to be a part of a student organization at UIC?
I've heard most students on campus who are associated with student organizations end up coming out of UIC Business as individuals with a unique experience to go forward with. Student organizations are constantly offering opportunities for great personal growth and professional growth as well. Being involved with these initiatives is imperative for student success in their post academic career and not to mention the personal development that comes handy in creating a unique brand value for yourself.
Thank you Akanksha, for sharing your story with us and we wish the UWN team all the very best for all the future endeavours. May your organization continue to infuse positive energy in the minds of women to help them succeed in every possible way and also, help all of us realize the importance of-“breaking stereotypes”. To know more about UWN, please find further details on the website.