Asper Network of Empowered Women (ANEW) open to students from all faculties
When Asper students Hilary Ransom and Sarah Holtmann, along with their faculty advisor Wendy Schultz, searched for a support group for women attending the U of M, their search came up empty. They found several groups for female professionals to encourage each other and discuss the challenges they face in their careers, but nothing to prepare university students for these challenges before they happen. This need was how the Asper Network of Empowered Women (ANEW) student group was created.
ANEW’s mission is to create a community of support and encouragement for young women at the U of M.
“We wanted to fill a gap that we saw in our faculty, connect students with strong female leaders and mentors, as well as provide support,” co-president Ransom says.
The student group launched Orientation Week in September 2018 and immediately resonated with students. Co-president Holtmann states: “Over the two days, we signed up over 80 students, women and men, to join ANEW. From this response, I realized how much potential this group has for young women in business and other faculties at the university.”
The group now has over 150 members and holds events such as speaker sessions with female executives in fields like finance and human resources. They’ve also held a holiday donation drive in support of a women and children’s emergency shelter, and have attended SHEday as a group, an event with the aim to provide women with skills and tools to advance them in their leadership roles.
“Our aim for ANEW is to prepare women for the challenges they may face in their careers by providing the necessary skills and tools through speakers, workshops and volunteer opportunities,” says Holtmann.
Despite being created by Asper students, ANEW is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all U of M faculties.
“ANEW is useful for all students who are looking for a different perspective than they’re used to and want to connect and learn from peers,” Ransom says. “We are excited to have built this group to include other faculties, and spark important conversations about how we can be best prepared to enter into our careers.”
Both co-presidents are currently on co-op work terms, where they have already been able to apply the lessons they’ve learned from ANEW. “I’ve learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Everyone feels stress and has insecurities,” Ransom states.
As for the future of ANEW, this is only the beginning. “We are still quite new, but have a lot up our sleeves for the next few months, and are excited to keep growing!” Ransom tells.
To celebrate the new group, ANEW membership is free for this academic year. Membership will ensure you’re informed about all upcoming events. Interested students can sign up for membership at events or email the group in advance.