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 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?
South Garden Art Institute image source: flickr