Women in Business connects college and community
There is power in women coming together, says Medicine Hat College (MHC) alumna Lyndsay McBride.
Speaking from experience, the nursing graduate and MHC instructor found herself in the role of entrepreneur when she and her husband took over Grand Rental Station five years ago. Accustomed to her position as a critical care nurse, the transition to business owner presented new challenges and a very steep learning curve. Women in Business (WIB), a local non-profit networking organization, helped her navigate unfamiliar territory and open doors to opportunities she never knew existed.
“The entrepreneurial world took me by storm but the Women in Business community has been amazing. I’ve found great friends and a real support network,” says McBride, who joined the WIB committee in September after attending events during the previous year.
“It’s really about building community over competition. We can work together and help each other grow. Not just professionally, but personally as well.” - McBride
The group was formed in 2001 by five forward thinking female professionals and has grown to be the dynamic and responsive organization it is today.
Women in Business has a special relationship with MHC. There is a strong presence of alumni involved in the organization, with 11 out of 13 committee members having attended Medicine Hat College, says Brooke Hawker, WIB chair and graduate of Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Business Administration program offered at MHC.
Giving back is an important part of the group’s mandate. Not only does Women in Business support MHC’s Pathways Student Life Enhancement Fund to remove barriers to education, they also provide a unique learning environment by inviting a current MHC student to sit on their committee. This mentorship program provides students with opportunities to gain experience and build valuable community connections.
Hawker was the student invited to join the mentorship program in 2013 and served on the committee for two years before becoming vice-chair and eventually chair of the group.
“Holding the student position had a huge impact on my connection with the Medicine Hat community and my path as an entrepreneur. The members that mentored me through the WIB saw potential that I wasn't even aware of and that is what I hope we continue to provide to the student position. Volunteering on the Women in Business committee creates an opportunity for the student to try new things and gain real-life experience, but with a safety net of business women to support them,” says Hawker, owner of Evoke Inspired Marketing.
“You need a network of like-minded people who can inspire you to be persistent, confident, and ultimately successful, even when you're unsure of yourself.” - Hawker
And that is exactly what McBride has found with Women in Business.
“Finding balance can be tricky,” admits the mom of three young children. “Through Women in Business, I received so much support, mentorship, and encouragement. I want to share that with others.”
Learn more about the great work done by MHC alumni through Women in Business at facebook.com/WIBMedicineHat/.