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Empowering young women

[Young Women at Queen’s]
Young Women at Queen’s (YWQ) is part of the larger Employee Resource Group initiative which was developed as a way to promote the career development of equity seeking groups on campus. (University Communications)

A new group at Queen’s University is aimed at providing professional development and mentorship programming specifically for young women.

Young Women at Queen’s (YWQ) is part of the larger Employee Resource Group initiative which was developed as a way to promote the career development of equity seeking groups on campus. YWQ is the first of these groups to be launched and is coordinated by Meagan Suckling, a member of the marketing and communications team at the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.

“YWQ will provide women ages 20-35 with the resources and support that they need to perform their jobs effectively and evolve and grow into young and empowered leaders,” Ms. Suckling says. “The group will aim to offer a platform for young women to exert influence and build a vibrant and innovative campus.”

ERGs are part of a university-wide strategic focus on talent management and are open to anyone who wishes to come forward and begin a group, especially in areas that are traditionally equity seeking. The only other university in Canada to establish such groups is the University of Toronto, which has a thriving LGBTQ ERG.

ERGs are popular at American universities such as Stanford, Princeton and Harvard but are relatively new to post-secondary institutions. They have proven successful in the private sector and are linked to increased recruitment and retention of talent as well as organizational innovation.

The Queen’s initiative has the full support of the Equity Office and Human Resources. It has also gained management backing.

“I fully support Meagan and her work establishing the Young Women at Queen’s group,” says Adam Walker, Director, Marketing and Communications, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “If we all engage more and take an active role outside of our regular work activities, we can make Queen’s an even better place to work and develop our careers.”

Along with development and mentorship, the goals of YWQ are to offer a voice and resources to young women who work at Queen’s to surface areas that can use improvement, teach young women how to bring innovative ideas to their communities within Queen’s and have an impact, attract innovative and diverse talent to the university and help with retention efforts and to exert influence and make changes to enhance the university environment.

“We hope YWQ is the first of many ERGs to develop at Queen’s,” says Emma Sobel, Organizational Development Consultant at Human Resources. “Meagan has set a progressive and inclusive tone with YWQ that could serve as a model for others.”

The kick-off meeting for YWQ is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 20 from noon-1 pm at Mackintosh-Corry, Room B176.

For further information about YWQ, contact meagan.suckling@queensu.ca.

For more on ERGs, contact emma.sobel@queensu.ca.