How the creation of QFLIP turned my hesitation into hope

| by Kira Bollen |

When I was in my second year at Queen’s—my first year as a sparkly new politics major—a new conference popped up, run by two incredible women from my own year. I have to admit that when I first heard about QFLIP, my desire to attend the conference was my second thought. Because my first thought was “oh my god how did they do this already, I am so behind.”

While I was really excited for a conference that combined two of my biggest passions (politics and girl power), I originally let myself be bogged down by the fact that these two awesome leaders seemed years ahead of me in ambition and general together-ness, and we were the same age.

How could I be behind already? How would I ever be like them?

Cue the first day of the conference: I was blown away. Again, I have to say that I was right on the money about Caroline and Rachel—the creators and first ever co-chairs of QFLIP—and their team of high energy high smarts executives being absolute powerhouses.

But what really made QFLIP stand out to me was that while these young executive women were up there shining, they didn’t diminish the glow of any single delegate in attendance.

That amazing beginning is what has allowed the QFLIP experience, that year and every year after, through its speakers and activities and its amazing leadership team, build up its delegates and assure us that we could all succeed, not in competition with one another—but together.

On a personal note, I had received some disheartening “advice” from an international relations professor that year. He had let our class know that international relations was a male dominated field, and the higher up we moved, the fewer women we would find ourselves among. It would’ve been easy to hear that fact and use it as a reason to block others out from your own success.

In this way, QFLIP came at the beginning of my politics journey and exactly when I needed it. QFLIP taught me that the best way to survive in politics—and in life in general—was not by barricading myself behind my own ambition, but by sharing it with others.

QFLIP showed me that we are all better off when we cheer each other on and build each other up. That’s how women succeed: together.

Written by Kira Bollen, Queen's Alumn, Masters Candidate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy