This time last year, an opportunity arose to join the Young Women's Trust advisory panel. The Young Women's Trust are a charity that supports and represents young women who are at risk of being trapped in poverty by work, education and inequality.
I first got in contact with them when they asked for anyone that had experienced maternity discrimination to share their story for a report. After explaining my story they invited me to join the panel of 30 young women that act as the young voices of the charity. But what has happened since joining has been a whirlwind of adventure and discovery so I'm going to share my top moments.
I think I have to kick off with the residential weekends you attend as a panel member. Throughout your time with the panel you are invited along to 4 residential weekends over the space of 2 years. At these weekends, all the other panel members join together to talk ideas, learn what's been going on with the charity and take part in workshops.
Whilst it doesn't sound too exciting, it's amazing as you are surrounded by inspiring women from all different backgrounds that have a likeminded view of the future. The energy you feel when you go there and see friends you know are going to be lifelong ones is amazing. I love that every 6 months we are thrown together in a little bubble, these ladies are amazing and I honestly swear they are all queens in my eyes.
Learning new skills is one of the perks of being a panel member. When you are at the residential weekends you take part in different skills based workshops. I've learnt vlogging skills, public speaking techniques and even done some social media planning. Not only that but I've had a go at spoken word poetry, dancing like Beyonce and stepping out of my comfort zone.
I've loved the fact that I've had the opportunity to do some amazing things. I've been to parliament to discuss maternity discrimination, I've helped interview for a job in the office and even had a Q&A session with Martina Cole in front of tonnes of people!
But it doesn't even stop there. I've had even more experiences thanks to Young Women's Trust. Including helping pilot the Digital Mums bursary scheme and writing blog posts about various campaigns.
And finally. You wouldn't be part of the Young Women's Trust Advisory Panel without doing a bit of campaigning. I've done everything from hand out leaflets to being on TV. I can definitely say I've thrown myself in at the deep end.
A few months ago I joined up with EHRC to launch a campaign which ended up in me featuring all over different types of media outlets. Add to this the twitter chats I've done and the talks with MP's I have had. It's been an amazing and unexpected ride.
I can honestly say that joining the Young Women's Trust Advisory Panel was one of the best decisions I ever could have made. To know that I've made some life long friends, learnt new skills and campaigned my heart out for young women everywhere is amazing. I would have never thought that a year ago my journey would have come this far and I can't wait for what's in store for my second year with them.