The following post is written by Muniba Ahmed. I first met her at YWiB’s International Women’s Day Conference when I was manning the HootSuite booth. She approached the booth with a lovely smile and enthusiasm to just listen to my story. After the conference was over, she said she was disappointed that she did not win the raffle to win “one hour with Stephanie Wiriahardja”. I said just contact me and we’ll make it happen. I’m so glad she followed up! I think I had more fun and was inspired more by her, than she was with me. I love her glowing enthusiasm and I have no doubt that this gal would go so far in life. Please note that this post was not altered in any way.
I met Stephanie at YWiB’s International Women’s Day conference in March, and as soon as I met her I felt inspired. I could tell she loved her job, and to me that was kind of an amazing thing because many of the new grads I’ve met weren’t happy with what they were doing and simply thought of it as a rough patch after graduation.
Stephanie told me about her time at HootSuite, and how she had started off as an unpaid intern and worked her way to being the Community Manager that she is now. As a co-op student who is looking for a position, I was extremely interested to hear more about her experiences with the unpaid internship and how that opened up more opportunities for her than people commonly think of. I think another part of the reason that I felt a connection with Stephanie is that she had been with HootSuite, almost since its beginnings and had seen it grow to the fast growing technology company that it is now.
Stephanie was kind enough to give me the opportunity to visit the HootSuite offices, and see the office culture. And as soon as I stepped in the door I realized that this company was a place where people came to work because they loved what they do, it was an office where you looked forward to coming to do work and did not dread leaving at the end of your 9-5 day.
Talking to Stephanie really helped me realize that sometimes if you are given an opportunity to do something that you love, even if it isn’t exactly what other people told you to look for, you should always say yes. Unpaid internships made me hesitant, but working for one of the fastest growing tech companies in the industry is an opportunity that comes once in a lifetime, and meeting with Stephanie helped me see that.
Overall, saying ‘hello’ to Stephanie at the International Women’s Day Conference was probably one of the best introductions I’ve done recently. She helped me see a lot more than just beyond the academics and social parts of university life. I definitely felt energized and empowered after meeting her, and look forward to keeping our connection.