Last week, we held our yearly Evolution Conference, which is targeted at young black girls age 15-18. This year’s theme “CTRL + ALT” focused on helping the young girls take control of their pending academic and career paths, whilst also exploring alternative routes to success. Hosted by EY at their Financial Services office in Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, it was an insightful and inspiring day for our young girls.
The day kicked off with a light-hearted icebreaker from our girls, which was intended to bring them together. The ladies were assigned varying questions, about which they were to discuss in their groups. It was particularly daunting to discover some of the girls had answered ‘Lil Uzi Vert’, ‘Bruno Mars’ and ‘Davido’ to the imminent question “Who is the greatest performer of all time?” Briefly, my life flashed before my eyes as I sunk deep into despair of the sudden realisation that the generation after me possessed such ill taste in music. Thankfully, hope was restored, as some girls uttered the names “Beyoncé” and “Michael Jackson”.
Following the ice breaker, a brief introduction was made by our founder, Mariam Jimoh, who outlined the aims and objectives of WCAN as organisation. The day continued with our first interactive session, led by Amake Uche, (Talent Acquisition, EY). The girls were provided with insights on how to ace case-studies and strengths assessments, and a first hand-guide to a successful group and final stage assessments at the firm.
Up next, a session from LSE graduate turned Content Creator, Elizabeth Jemiyo (Lizzie Loves), who detailed her journey via the creative path, after initially following a conventional educational route. Lizzie highlighted the processes involved in building her now strong and continuously growing brand and business; detailing the hard work and effort that goes into creating content her subscribers would come to love her for. Leaving no stones unturned, Lizzie assisted our girls in understanding the importance of grit and perseverance when pursuing any career path.
After a brief lunch provided, our girls came back into the auditorium for a graduate panel session boasting Sonia Ike (Junior Doctor, NHS), Raifa Rafiq (Trainee Solicitor at Clifford Chance, Podcaster), Esther Chidowe (Co-founder of Bankra Travels), Neyet Mehari (Consultant at Accenture), and Coleen Mensa- trainee solicitor at EY. This was an opportunity for our girls to ask our recent graduates and young professionals any questions they had about university life, including the highlights and the struggles as well as their current careers. Whilst we encouraged a ‘nothing is off-limits’ environment, it seemed some of our girls were a little preoccupied with relationships. to which I respond, “GO AND FACE YOUR BOOKS LADIES!” The panelists also talked about their choices in academic path, their biggest personal challenges faced during university, and what they would have done differently.
Afterwards, our girls took part in another interactive session led by the lovely Natalie Wireko-Brobbey. The girls were assigned group exercises which focused on identifying what they want to study/ what industry they want to work in, structuring a great personal statement/cover letter, and improving outward perceptions of themselves. The session also taught the ladies the importance of keeping a consistent online brand and being weary of how potential employers might perceive them.
The day concluded with a networking session, where our girls had the opportunity to not only connect with one another, but with a range of sponsors and prospective universities. It was another successful event, which resulted in more of our girls building new relationships and fortifying themselves with more knowledge to help them stand out amongst their peers. We at WCAN thank our attendees for making another Evolution Conference Possible!
Up next is our Law Conference on the 13th of September, and we will be celebrating 5 years of our Annual Conference come October! Keep up with us on all of our social media outlets to find out more!!