A Chat with the DWN President (Part III): Why and How to Get Involved

Christine Gallagher Kearney, DWN PresidentDWN Communication & Technology Chair Lark Mills recently sat down with Christine Gallagher Kearney, president of the DePaul Women’s Network for fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 through June 2013).

In Part II of the chat with DWN President Christine Gallagher Kearney, she discussed the mission and goals of DWN. In this final Part III, hear Christine’s thoughts on why and how to get involved with DWN.

What are some benefits to volunteering with the DePaul Women’s Network?

Explore Leadership & Service Opportunities

DWN gives you a chance to branch outside of your normal 9-to-5 duties. It allows you to step into a leadership role and serve the university in a capacity that supports the mission and values of DePaul. Since DWN roles are volunteer positions, women get an opportunity to do something they are passionate about, even if it is not within their current job description.

Gain Confidence & Exposure to New Areas

Volunteering with DWN also provides you opportunity to gain confidence in areas that you don’t get exposure to in your day-to-day job. You get exposure to multiple areas of the university by meeting women in various departments.

Leader in front of a CrowdBecome a Standout Resource

Being involved with DWN allows you to be a standout in your own department. Once other women find out that you are in a position to execute ideas, people start coming to you as a resource. You become a point person because you are part of the network. You create connections with more women at DePaul, so you become an information hub.

Utilize Your Talents & Explore Interests

Maybe your day job at DePaul only provides you with opportunities to use a few of your skills and explore only a few of your interests. By volunteering with DWN, you can explore other interests and skills. There are various committees that are part of the planning committee board. Just pick one that interests you and get involved.

Grow Your Support Network

DWN is a resource within the university that can help you grow your support network. I’ve gotten to know many women at the university and I recognize tons of women just from having attended and hosted events. The annual event is nice because it always involves great conversations with other women about work-life balance, women’s issues, professional development and careers at DePaul. It’s getting the human contact that is important for the human spirit. DePaul really stands for that human element, so DWN strives to respect and validate this element.
Because of the network, you may make a new friend at work that you can call on to work through professional development or work-life balance issues. DWN provides you with another resource to call upon when you don’t know what to do in a certain situation. If you are struggling with an issue, it’s nice to bounce your thoughts off another colleague from DWN. The DWN women are here to back you up when you need it.

How can DePaul female faculty and staff get involved with DWN?

Talk to Your Manager

First and foremost, you need the support of your manager. It is important to have a conversation with your direct supervisor to discuss the time commitment. It does take time away from your regular job, so you need to be able to set aside time to work on the network and be committed to doing something above and beyond your normal job duties.

Know Yourself

You also have to be clear on why you want to be involved with the organization. All reasons are legitimate, whether you have a passion for women’s issues or you want to get professional development experience. Moreover, it is important to bring ideas and be able to identify your own strengths so that you can articulate them at board meetings. You need to be able to confidently express your ideas and how you want to contribute to the network.

Contact Us

It is each planning board member’s responsibility to be an ambassador and take the time to talk to other women at the university who have questions about how to get involved with DWN. You can contact anyone on the board and say, “Can we have a one-on-one conversation? I want to run something by you.” The one thing that is so awesome about the planning board is that everyone is there as a resource to any woman at the university.

Choose a Commitment Level

There are lots of ways to volunteer with DWN and lots of ways to spend your time. It does not have to be a year-long commitment. Maybe you only want to help on the day of the annual event by checking in registered participants. That’s fantastic. We need people like that. Maybe you want to volunteer the entire year on the new communications and technology committee. That’s a bigger commitment.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my passions?
  • How much time do I have to devote?
  • How much support do I have within my department?

Related Posts

A Chat with DWN President (Part I): Leadership

A Chat with DWN President (Part II): Mission & Goals

We welcome you to comment about how and why you would like to get involved with DWN. In what other capacities have you volunteered or contributed to your community (whether at DePaul or elsewhere)? What were some unexpected benefits? What motivated you to volunteer?

A Chat with DWN President (Part II): Mission & Goals

Christine Gallagher Kearney, DWN PresidentDWN Communication & Technology Chair Lark Mills recently sat down with Christine Gallagher Kearney, president of the DePaul Women’s Network for fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 through June 2013). In Part I of the chat, Christine described her path toward becoming this year’s DWN president. In Part II, hear about DWN’s mission and goals for the upcoming year and Christine’s vision for the future:

How does the DWN mission support the DePaul University Vincentian Mission and Values?St. Vincent de Paul

Goals Tied to Vision 2018

When the planning committee board members of FY 2013 met in June, we discussed what was important to us in regard to the university mission. Now, all DWN goals are developed and inspired with DePaul’s mission and the Vision 2018 goals in mind.


We strive to support the DePaul mission by providing networking opportunities for all female faculty and staff, especially the Brown Bag Luncheons. You get to meet and exchange ideas with women you would not get a chance to interact with otherwise.

Lifelong Learning & Service

DWN supports DePaul’s mission to be a lifelong learning institution. By attending events or by joining a planning committee, you are serving the DePaul community. By getting involved, you learn a lot about your own personal and professional development and gain a deeper understanding of the DePaul mission and values.

Women of Spirit and Action Awards

The Annual Women of Spirit and Action Awards are an important a way to recognize the various talents and efforts of women at DePaul. The event speaks to recognizing human potential and what our employees, staff and faculty bring to the institution.

Goal Setting Mind MapWhat are your goals for DWN this year?

Foster Collaborative Partnerships

Collaborating across the university is going to be especially important for the sustainability of DWN. Because we are a volunteer organization and we have the force of 20 women on the planning committee board this year, we have the ability to help other organizations at the university. We are really excited to partner more heavily with the Women’s Center on certain events this year to work together to reach our audience.

Become a Model Women’s Network

DWN can help elevate DePaul at the national level. If we can become a model for how a women’s network can support a university’s diversity effort, then we can present at conferences. Maybe the DWN president two years from now could be a keynote speaker somewhere to help spread our success!

Produce Year-End Reports

If we want to share our success, it is important that we track our progress. Another important goal for this year is to pull all the data from past event evaluations and create an executive report to share with university stakeholders.

Establish Policies & Procedures

We plan to continue to establish our policies and procedures around communication and technology. For example, we have launched a new twitter account and Facebook page in addition to our LinkedIn group. We are enhancing our communication and technology standards so that we can pass information on to the next generation of DWN leaders. Whoever steps into these roles after us will be able to take the reins and move forward instead of having to start from scratch. Again, we are trying to create a sustainable network.

Explore Mentorship Needs

Mentorship has been on people’s minds and has been a consistent interest in our event evaluations. So, our efforts this year are to look at how we can address this need for mentorship in partnership with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity (DWN’s parent department), which has already done research on the issue.

Related Posts

A Chat with DWN Presidnet (Part I): Leadership)

A Chat with DWN President (Part III): Get Involved

What do you think of this year’s DWN goals? We welcome you to comment and share our thoughts and idea.

St Vincent dePaul portrait image source: St. Vincent dePaul Image Archive Goal Image source: Money Saving Mom Blog

A Chat with DWN President (Part I): Leadership

DWN Communication & Technology Chair Lark Mills recently sat down to chat with Christine Gallagher Kearney, president of the DePaul Women’s Network for fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 through June 2013). Read on for details from their discussion:

Christine Gallagher Kearney, DWN President 2012-13Christine and I spontaneously decided to stroll over to the Chicago Art Institute’s South Garden. As we sat under a ceiling of branches on one of the last days of summer, I was intrigued to learn about Christine’s ambition to sharpen her leadership skills by becoming this year’s DWN president. Above all, I learned that our DWN president is a fearless leader. Once she sets her mind to do something, she just does it.

When and how did you first get involved with DWN?

When I saw in 2010 that DePaul had a women’s network, I was immediately interested in getting involved one way or another. I found out who was leading the network at the time [Jessica Hallam and Deb Schmidt-Rogers]. I reached out to Jessica and explained that I’d like to get involved. This was right before they were putting out the request for applications for the next year’s board positions. I applied and became Brown Bag committee chair for fiscal year 2010-11.

In 2011, I was the president-elect and I also acted as an advisor to the Brown Bag committee. The president-elect position allowed me to observe and listen. It was a great year of wearing training wheels and now I get to take them off as I move into the role as president.

What motivated you to become the DWN president for FY 2013?

When I first started getting involved with DWN, I knew I wanted to lead the organization. However, I also knew I could not step into the position without knowing what the DePaul Women’s Network was all about. While developing programming for Brown Bag events, I got excited because I recognized areas for growth and change within the organization.

I saw the president role as not only a way for me to contribute to the DePaul community, but also a professional development opportunity for me to become more confident as a woman professional. I strongly value equity for women in the workforce. Having this opportunity to be a voice for women within the university is exciting. I knew the role as president would be a challenge at times, but I never hesitated in pursuing this opportunity. I didn’t see myself doing anything else.

How did you develop the leadership skills necessary for the role of DWN president?

Being a part of the network the past two years and growing with it has given me additional confidence as a leader. I have had leadership opportunities within my department. However, the DePaul Women’s Network helped me enhance my leadership skills on another level. I have been able to utilize my leadership skills across the university.

DWN gives you a chance to branch outside your normal 9-to-5 duties. It allows you to step into a leadership role and serve the university in a capacity that supports the mission and values of DePaul.  Being involved with DWN is a peer-to-peer experience. You learn from your peers as you grow within DWN in order to gain leadership skills.

We welcome you to share your own stories about leadership by posting a comment! What have you done to develop your leadership skills and grow your confidence as a leader?

Related Posts

A Chat with DWN President (Part II): Mission and Goals

A Chat with DWN President (Part III): Get Involved

South Garden Art Institute image source: flickr