When there is a will, there is a way. Thanks to Sonal Gupta, a senior studying finance with a minor in Spanish, an old saying is now used in a new form.
Last semester, Gupta created a media network called Women with Will. Women with Will (WWW) is an email chain that serves as a community for young professional women to share enlightening stories about women leaving their mark in the business world and in society. By allowing subscribes to submit content and pass it along to one another, WWW builds confidence in contributing to the conversation. The network acts as a strong support system and an open place for women to talk about the challenges they face.
There are over 100 members in the WWW network right now, most of them being Ohio State students. Gupta utilized her own network to form the group: she talked to family, collaborated with the student organizations she is in, and worked with friends at other schools to share the material with their involvement groups. Members have access to a survey to submit their stories at any time. Whether it is a conference they attended, an article they read or a personal challenge they have encountered, Gupta encourages them to share with the group.
“It’s about women empowering women,” Gupta says. “Women in power topics, news article, pieces of inspiration and motivation are shared through WWW.” She believes her network is unique in the variety of stories shared: ted talks, speeches, and even songs can relate to each member in a different way.
Gupta was a business technology analyst intern at Deloitte Consulting last summer, where she will be returning full-time after graduation. Deloitte has a lot of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion. Last year they eliminated affinity groups in an effort to promote inclusion among everyone. Their stance is that diversity is everyone’s responsibility.
Deloitte is where Gupta’s idea came to life. While at a breakfast hosted by mentors at her summer internship, she was “quite impressed that open talks can happen between coworkers,” she says, “because coworkers usually feel uncomfortable discussing the challenges they face or exchanging ideas on how to handle those situations”. After the breakfast, one of the women emailed all attendees with resources she valued. “I remember one article was about research on women checking emails more often,” Gupta explains. “I wanted a place that is easy to share moments all the time.”
Currently, there is no screening process for content. Gupta will personally check the content to make sure it is appropriate. She expects a larger community to form as the year unfolds, and is now actively looking for a team to help with the behind-the-scenes operations of the network. Her goal is to establish it as a nonprofit one day. She would love to host events such as women’s conferences, panel discussions, and online sessions on women in power topics.
During the Honors Cohort’s winter break trip to Brazil, Gupta had the privilege of sitting on her first panel discussion. Cohort was hosted by the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW) in São Paulo. The panel picked apart the challenges women continue to struggle with today, both in the United States and in Brazil. While they are attaining entry-level positions, upward mobility is limited. A gender pay gap still exists in many countries. Gupta mentioned that “women are not advocating for themselves and there are no mentors to advocate for them.”
According to Gupta, it was an eye-opening experience to hear her peers and young professionals come together to discuss actionable solutions. The BPW emphasized the importance of taking things one step at a time and creating committees, just as Gupta has done.
The next critical step forward for WWW would be to bring men into the conversation. Gupta believes that men do not yet feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts. “We need to stop the ‘me vs. you’ mentality when men and women are talking about gender inequality and change it to ‘we and us,’” says Gupta.
If you are interested in getting involved with WWW in any capacity, contact Gupta at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.