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Mental health activist wins UNiDAYS Student Woman of the Year 2021


May 6, 2021

Shanna Su, Co-Founder of charity Conscious Edinburgh talks to UNiDAYS CEO Josh Rathour.

Since International Women’s Day, UNiDAYS and AllBright have been looking for female-identifying students who have been working hard to make a positive difference for the Student Woman of the Year Awards. UNiDAYS, the world’s largest student affinity network, received over five thousand inspiring, and often heart-breaking, entries from what has been a challenging year.

During the award show, Debbie Wosskow, OBE, Co-Founder of AllBright, joined top business leader and UNiDAYS GM Viviane Paxinos, for an inspiring virtual event, How to Stay Focused and Achieve Your Goals. They were joined by entrepreneur Joanne Morales, founder of skin-matching underwear brand Nunude, and top confidence coach Tiwalola Ogunlesi.

The UK winner was Shanna Su, a med student who co-founded Conscious Edinburgh, a student-led mental health charity that aims to provide a safe space for students to speak about their mental wellbeing. Over the past two years, Conscious has raised over £30,000 for different national mental health charities as well as funded over 30 students to be trained in mental health first aid too. Shanna has won mentorship with the founders of female professional networking platform AllBright, a one-year membership with exclusive access to the global community of professional women, courses and events, and £1,000.

UNiDAYS CEO Josh Rathour spoke with Shanna Su about her charity and winning the award.

How do you feel about winning UNiDAYS Student Woman of the Year 2021?

I feel so happy and overwhelmed that I have received this award. I’m so thrilled that Conscious and I were picked out amongst other such amazing women and causes. It is a real privilege to be given this opportunity to shine a spotlight on what we are doing. I feel that mental health is becoming less of a taboo with more people willing to talk about it than ever before, however, from our experience, people are often uncertain of how to start these conversations - whether this is due to fear of saying the 'wrong' thing or not knowing how to respond.

What was your key takeaway from the UNiDAYS How to Stay Focused and Achieve Your Goals panel event?

I think my key takeaway from the event is that failing is ok. Failing gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

“UNiDAYS are so proud and grateful to everyone for taking the time and energy to take part," says Viviane Paxinos, GM of UNiDAYS. "I challenge brand and business leaders to take note of the winners names and initiatives for ones to watch in the future.”

Other winners of this year's award included:

Student Woman of the Year USA: Sophia Kianni

As an Iranian-American climate activist, Sophia founded Climate Cardinals, an international non-profit organization with 8000 volunteers in 41 countries.

Student Woman of the Year Australia: Elizabeth Payne

Elizabeth is a youth activist for Plan International Australia, she co-authored A Better Normal: Girls Call for a Revolutionary Reset, which was presented at the 75th United Nations General Assembly.

Student Woman of the Year Germany: Aylin Shakibi

Aylin created the free Wover app, designed to help women connect with each other and certified drivers to get home safely when travelling alone.

Student Woman of the Year France: Olga Shuster

Born deaf, Olga passionately campaigns for equality and accessibility for the deaf community and teaches sign language to students

Watch the inspiring panel session featuring straight-talking entrepreneur Joanne Morales and top confidence coach Tiwalola Ogunlesi here


Student Woman of the Year
student affinity network
viviane paxinos
future leaders
female talent
Josh Rathour