How WIN Started
The Women's Initiative Network (WIN) at Stanford's Graduate School of Business (GSB) was conceived during a conversation among women classmates of the GSB class of 1979 at their 25th reunion. They knew that GSB alumnae as a group were successful, talented and connected, but how could all of that experience be shared? They started WIN as a means of helping female GSB alumnae help one another to achieve their full potential.
With the assistance of the GSB and dedicated resources from the GSB Alumni Relations staff, WIN volunteers have been working hard since 2006, turning the germ of a great idea into a full-fledged virtual community for all 4,500 GSB alumnae. WIN's efforts are coordinated by the WIN Advisory Committee, which provides the GSB with external perspective and feedback on various WIN and GSB initiatives to assist women.
The easiest way to describe WIN is that it is simply an invitation to connect - with alumnae you might already know, with GSB women you don't yet know, but who might be able to assist you or you them, and with the GSB itself. It is women who choose to make themselves available to share their expertise, contacts and experience with others who might seek it but who also might want to tap into the expertise, contacts and experience of others. The subject matter can be anything, but most of all WIN is there to help GSB women achieve their goals - for their businesses, their careers, and their lives in their communities and homes. The vision of WIN is to help women remove barriers to their becoming successful leaders in whatever their chosen field.
- Admissions - Increase the pool of talented women interested in attending business school
and make Stanford Graduate School of Business their first choice.
- GSB Student Life - Improve GSB students' awareness of career issues and how to address these issues working with the student leadership of Women in Management (WIM). Offer opportunities to meet alumnae.
- Industry Networking - Connect GSB alumna working in targeted industries (beginning with finance, internet, and social sector), as well as female students interested in those particular career paths.
- Networking and Transitions - Provide regional forums for alumnae to develop relationships, share expertise, and support each other through life and career transitions.
- Women's Events - Engage alumnae in the life of the school by hosting women's conferences containing both education and networking components.
- WIN Website - Make the website an easy-to-navigate tool to enable GSB alumnae to connect, to share, and to help each other.
- Stanford Women on Boards Initiative - The demand for women to serve on corporate boards has never been greater, yet those responsible for recruiting new corporate directors claim there aren't enough qualified women to fill the spots. The goal of the Stanford Women on Boards Initiative is to increase the representation of women on boards. Learn More
Maybe you're thinking to yourself that WIN sounds interesting, but is it really for you?
- Are you just starting out/contributing in volunteer roles/not in any formal leadership position? Is WIN just for women in the corporate world?
No, WIN is for all GSB women. As GSB alumnae, we all have knowledge and connections to inspire and support one another, and as our goals evolve, there is a wide range of valuable resources available to the WIN community.
- Are you very senior in your organization and really busy? Will you really get anything out of your time investment in WIN?
We think so! WIN has something for everyone. From resources and contacts to help you find a seat on a public board, to a network of peers who can help with a career transition, to access to the leaders of tomorrow -- you will find a way to get closer to your leadership goals while enjoying the good feeling that comes from helping talented people achieve their objectives.
- How much time commitment is required?
It's up to you! You can just choose to attend WIN events and learn from the community, no strings attached. You can participate virtually, joining peer groups online through the WIN Website Discussion Boards. You can support WIN in an ad hoc way, being available for a limited number of targeted informational or coaching interviews, sharing contacts or information or assisting in projects at the GSB that benefit women students. You can commit more time - and have a richer experience - if you choose to join a small group or forum of like-minded women in your area or your industry. And, if you want to commit significant time to building WIN, please email Susan Austin in the GSB Alumni Relations Office.
Okay, I'm interested - so what do I do next?
- The first step
The first step is to make sure you have set up your GSB alumni username and password. Then from our women's site, you will find upcoming events, and online groups to join. Make sure to opt-in to your class group discussion boards so that you can exchange emails with your classmates. After that, feel free to contact your Class Captain with ways that you'd like to become involved - both what resources you can offer your fellow alums, and any questions you might have or resources that you might need, that might be available through other WIN members. The ability to give and receive is what makes WIN so exciting.
- I'm sure that there must be some women in WIN that could assist me with a current business situation. How do I go about tapping into WIN?
Send a post to one of the women's group Discussion Boards. Email your class captain (she will be listed on your class group site). If it's of a confidential nature, please email Susan Austin in the GSB Alumni Relations Office and she'll follow-up - confidentially, of course.