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.
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.
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.
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?