Why DWN Is a Smart Decision (and 7 Reasons I’m Happy I Joined)

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

Jaclyn Hugg
Jaclyn Hugg, DWN’s Communications Team

By Jaclyn Hugg

The average human being makes thousands of decisions daily. Calculate that for a year, and well…you do the math! These decisions can be anything as simple as choosing what cereal to eat for breakfast, to something more complex like contemplating a career change. Yet, many of these decisions have an effect on what we think, say and/or do, and ultimately, aid us in influencing the world around us.

Whereas I cringe when I think about some of the choices I made within the past year (because who doesn’t make mistakes?), one of the things I am most proud of was my decision to apply to become a member of the DePaul Women’s Network (DWN). As a new staff member who had just moved halfway across the country for my current job, I was looking for a way to quickly connect with the university—an entity that would help me explore what it means to be part of the greater campus community, and an outlet that would allow me to serve in accordance with its mission and values. I am happy to say that since joining DWN last July, the Network has not only provided me that which I have described above, but also so much more. And as a way to celebrate my seven months of service, I felt it would only be fitting that I articulate what this experience has meant to me in the form of a top seven list.

Drumroll, please…

  1. Excitement & Challenge. As a member of the Communications team, I have the exciting and challenging task of telling DWN’s story. Through my participation in the Network, I was able to engage my passion for writing and learned new skills in a supportive environment.
  2. Professional Development. Being part of the Network is a great complement to my professional role as Staff Advisor for HerCDM—a student organization aimed at empowering women students within DePaul’s College of Computing & Digital Media (CDM). Because of the knowledge and resources extended to me as a DWN member, I feel as if I can better serve as a resource in regards to helping my students work through gender-related issues in their academic and professional lives. Additionally, I am able to offer timely and relevant suggestions for programming as a result of topics and discussions that emerge from DWN-related activities.
  3. Professional Connections. My participation in the Network put me in contact with women from across the institution that I would have never otherwise met. Through my membership, I developed productive working relationships with other DWN members. I actively seek out DWN members for their expertise, advice and assistance on any number of issues pertaining to my full-time role within CDM. I view a number of these women as mentors, and certainly all as valued colleagues.
  4. Expanded View. I am growing in my knowledge and am becoming more open-minded about gender issues in the workplace and in society in general (specifically as they pertain to women).
  5. Personal Growth. Being “in-the-know” about upcoming activities—uniquely created for and targeted toward women faculty and staff at DePaul, allows me to step out of my comfort zone (I am an introvert by nature) to initiate conversations with colleagues about issues directly related to DWN’s programming. Serving in this role has given me the confidence to network in this way, and somewhat of a platform to encourage fellow women faculty and staff to let their voices be heard and to participate in our events.
  6. Collaborative Environment. DWN sleeps, eats and breathes collaboration between its members and within the campus and surrounding communities! No intense and unnecessary competition amongst women colleagues here! This has been a refreshing change for me.
  7. Lasting Connections. In addition to developing strong professional ties, I am connected with a number of my DWN “sisters” on a more personal level. Through lunch meetings, afternoon walks and coffee dates, these women are great friends and a source of strength and inspiration for me.

As you can see, I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the DePaul Women’s Network and I plan on continuing my participation. My experience so far inspires me to invite you to participate. Become an active member today! Recruitment runs through April 4; visit our website to apply online. To learn more about the Network, you also can check out our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)!

Jaclyn Hugg is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is Assistant Director of Advising for the College of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University.

Volunteer with DWN for Vincentian Service Day

Jackie Posek
Jackie Posek, DWN’s Service & Outreach Team

By Jackie Posek

As I’m sure we all know by now, St. Louise de Marillac was a huge advocate and propagator of service to those living in poverty and on the margins of society. In her time, she worked for some of the least cared-for populations in Paris and rural France: widows, orphans, abandoned children. Even the women she reached to become Daughters of Charity were often poor country girls with few prospects for education or fulfillment. She was the embodiment of servant leadership, engaging with the poor not as lowly, faceless folks whom she could save, but rather as beautiful, dignified human beings who allowed her the privilege of serving them. For St. Louise, to engage with those living in poverty was a huge blessing, because it was in that service that she was able to encounter the face of God in the world.

Fast-forward 350+ years to the present day, and we who want to follow in the footsteps of St Louise have an amazing opportunity to embody her spirit of service and love for the poor by participating in Vincentian Service Day on Saturday, May 3. More than 1,200 DePaulians will gather and go out to various service sites all over Chicago to engage in a morning of service and relationship with the poor and marginalized. But VSD isn’t just about doing work in poor neighborhoods; it’s about being Vincentian in our community, reaching out to those whom we would ordinarily not encounter and receiving the gift of getting to know them. Vincentian service is first and foremost about personal relationships, coming together with those who surround us every day whom we ordinarily might not see, and seeing the face of God in them in a very special way. And we get this chance to do it together as proud, fierce, Vincentian women of the 21st century!

Signing up for VSD is super easy. Just send an email to me, Jackie Posek, by April 4, letting me know that you’re interested. I’ll take care of registering us as a team through the Vincentian Community Service Office and will let you know all the necessary details. The event starts at 9 a.m. on May 3, with an opening ceremony gathering all the volunteers together and sending us forth in service. We’ll do service in the morning at a particular site as a group, and then come back to DePaul in the early afternoon for a picnic gathering for all volunteers.

This is a great chance to do meaningful service with your friends and colleagues from DePaul. Please consider joining the DWN team for Vincentian Service Day. You will be really glad you did!

Jackie Posek is a member of DWN’s Service & Outreach team and is Assistant Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at DePaul University.

Share Your Soles

Are you excited to “Share Your Soles”? Get ready to kickoff your shoes at the next DWN service event on April 1st to help a great nonprofit that collects shoes for those in need. Check out the details below.

When Can I Donate?

DWN is kicking off this year-round service event on April 1st.

How and What Do I Donate?

Donate ANY type of shoe. Just drop it in the bin and “Share Your Soles” with us by snapping a picture to tweet us @DPWomensNetwork with the hashtag #shareyoursoles or post on our Facebook page.

Share Your Soles

Where to Donate?

Lincoln Park Campus
Ray Meyer Fitness & Recreation Center
2235 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60614
The bin is directly to your left as you enter The Ray

Share Your Soles

Loop Campus*
DePaul Center 11th Floor
Directly in front of room 11004
Student Center Office

*Drop- off for Loop location available April-May 2014

Interested in reading about this awesome organization?

Find out more: http://shareyoursoles.org

 

Community Is My Ultimate Reward

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

Laura Durnell
Laura Durnell

By Laura Durnell

Since Autumn 2000, I have taught at DePaul as contingent part-time faculty. I enjoy teaching at DePaul and am inspired by its intelligent and remarkable faculty, student and staff body. As a bonus, DePaul treats its adjunct faculty better than many higher education institutions. Yet even though DePaul made me feel welcome and I had made friends with adjuncts, one feeling remained: isolation.

Adjuncts are jokingly referred to as “Roads Scholars” because we often teach at more than one college. Since graduating with my MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute, I have taught at Roosevelt University, the Graham School of General Studies at the University of Chicago, and Wilbur Wright College in addition to DePaul. Because of the lack of job and income security for adjuncts, teaching at other institutions or working at other jobs is a necessity. And because of not being secured to one university or college, it’s too easy to become disconnected from not only other faculty members but staff and administration as well. Too many times over the past 15 years, I have had other faculty members, part-time and full-time, in my departments ask, “Who are you?”

When I received DWN’s email last year inviting me to apply for membership, I knew DWN would provide the community I needed. In addition, I became excited that DWN would recognize and let me apply my talents and knowledge. Months before DWN’s invitation, I had attended the DWN events “Life on the Academic Ladder” and “Yes, You Can!” with financial planner and author Julie Murphy Casserly. Not only did these events provide fellowship and collegiality  (at “Life on the Academic Ladder” I even reunited with my fellow American Society of Magazine Editors intern who is now a tenure-track English professor at DePaul, Rebecca Johns-Trissler), but they recognized what female faculty and staff offered and needed in terms of professional and personal development.

I am a member of DWN’s Communications Team, which allows me to utilize and further develop my writing skills, most notably writing for the digital age. This year I have written a promotional email and a blog post for “Image/ing Gender.” I invited some of my fellow adjuncts to the event, and one who attended plans to apply for DWN membership for the coming year. One of my application’s goals for 2013-14 stated that I wanted to welcome more adjuncts into DWN. I think I am fulfilling my objective.

Yet community is my ultimate reward. In addition to working with my team, I have met and worked with staff and faculty on other teams and members of DWN’s directorate. Two members who work outside my academic department even requested that we meet for coffee to discuss writing. If I had not applied to be part of DWN, I would have never met these amazing women, and they definitely would not have asked me out for coffee to talk shop. As our Twitter hashtag proclaims, #DePaulWomenRock!

Laura Durnell is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is an adjunct in the Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse Department at DePaul University.

(Learn more about being part of the DePaul Women’s Network during recruitment for 2014-15. Applications are being accepted now until April 4!)

‘Workdate’: Connecting with New Moms at DePaul

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

Louisa Fitzgerald
Louisa Fitzgerald

By Louisa Fitzgerald

In August 2012, my daughter was born. Around the same time, several friends gave birth, and during those first months of new motherhood, we leaned on each other—commiserating about sleep patterns, nursing, developmental milestones and the major life decisions that come with having a kid. For me, as with many people, those decisions included determining whether or not I would continue to work.

I’ll spare you details of my struggle to make this decision, but ultimately, I went back to work full time. And I’m in good company—according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 44 percent of mothers return to work after three months of maternity leave.

While those numbers didn’t make the choice any easier, I had a pretty good sense of what I was giving up in terms of time with my daughter. What I didn’t expect was the loss I felt when I realized that the camaraderie I had with other new moms was slipping away. Choosing to work full time outside of the home meant giving up the important mom connections that are made during the week at the park, storytimes and playdates. But with the added pressures of balancing work with raising a baby and maintaining a household (even with dad shouldering much of the load), it seemed impossible to make those relationships a priority.

Moreover, the parenting issues I face now are largely a byproduct of the decision to work full time outside of the home. I knew that I wanted to strengthen my network of moms who could empathize with my situation. And knowing that time is always at a premium for parents of young children, I decided to make an effort to seek out new moms at DePaul.

Meeting moms is easy. Casual chats with acquaintances in elevators, meetings and even the bathroom easily turn into longer conversations about kids and often end in a passing suggestion of lunch. I used to write these offers off as a polite way to exit a pleasant conversation, but I decided to start making good on them. Once I got over the initial hesitation of sending a follow-up email, I became more proactive with my invitations.

Reaching out in this way forced me to step outside my comfort zone. I’ve never considered myself good at networking, but having motherhood as common ground allowed me to set aside my apprehension and connect with coworkers in a meaningful way. And my efforts have also helped me have a broader understanding what is going on in our university and how other people’s work is important to our shared goals. Ultimately, getting to know the people I work with beyond my team, my department and even my division has made me feel more connected to our DePaul community.

What I’ve found is that making the effort is usually appreciated. I have yet to find a mom who isn’t into the idea of chatting about her kid over lunch with someone who shares similar doubts, concerns, struggles and successes. Bonus: Being sans child usually means you can have a full-on conversation without someone melting down. Moreover, the network I’m creating for myself is playing a vital role in helping me stay sane as a working mom to a young toddler. And for me, right now, sanity is the best perk I can ask for.

Louisa Fitzgerald is Associate Director, Marketing Communications, in the University Marketing Communications, Enrollment Management and Marketing Department at DePaul University.

Network Power

For Women’s History Month this March, DWN invited a variety guest authors to share their insights. Read on to see why #DePaulWomenRock!

PhyllisGregg
Phyllis A. Gregg

By Phyllis A. Gregg

Americans take pride in our independence. From the moment of birth we are taught to be independent, to “go it alone,” to be tough. While being independent and self-sufficient are admirable qualities, I find myself concerned when I see people, especially women, exclude themselves from the opportunity of community. There’s power in community, so consider this a call for a change. Let’s move from independence to interdependence.

To be clear, interdependence isn’t a sign of weakness. Rather, interdependence is a source of power, that’s why women’s networks matter. A women’s network is a vital resource. While women are powerful in their own right (let’s face it, a woman on a mission is a force), when you connect with other women you maximize your power. Today I challenge you to exercise your wisdom and recognize the power of a network.

I know first-hand what a network can do. Over the course of my career I built a network of friends and family, colleagues and professional contacts. My network is a source of strength and a place of refreshment. What does my network do for me? If I need to think through an idea, I reach out to my network. If I need a laugh (and who doesn’t need a laugh), I turn to my network. If I need the comfort of companionship, I relax with my network. The women and men in my network come from all walks of life, and it is their diversity that gives me the courage to meet the challenges facing me. My network empowers and spurs me on to embrace my full potential.

I hope my sharing inspires you to reach out to others and allow others to reach out to you. So many women tell me they don’t have time to network. However, the reality is that you cannot afford to not be part of a network. Without a network, you close yourself off, stifling your personal and professional development. Networking is you investing in yourself and in others. It takes very little to get started but once you do, the returns are incredible!

Phyllis A. Gregg, M.A., joined the DePaul University community in 1992 as an evening coordinator in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and currently works in the Office of the President as a Senior Executive Assistant.

She is a doctoral student at DePaul University, Board President of the National Association of Presidential Assistants in Higher Education and, through the Office of Faith-based Initiatives with the Chicago Public School system, has created and implemented an anti-bullying curriculum for the Safehaven program.

Phyllis is a motivational speaker on issues pertaining to women, spirituality and wholeness, and on topics related to exploring the soul. She spends her evenings in the company of her husband, Gregory, her daughter, Lindsey, and her four grandchildren, Ashleigh, Kevin, Sarah and Kelly.

(Learn more about being part of the DePaul Women’s Network now during recruitment for 2014-15!)

Where and When I Enter: Intersectionality, African-American Women and Higher Education

As Part of DePaul Women’s Network Women of Culture Series, DWN, in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity, and the School for New Learning, had the honor to recently present: “Where and When I Enter: Intersectionality, African-American Women and Higher Education”, featuring Dr. Venus Evans-Winters, Associate Professor of Education at Illinois State University. Read on for DWN Communications Team Member Dorothy Griggs’ recap of the event. 

By Dorothy Griggs

Dorothy Griggs
DWN Communications Team Member Dorothy Griggs

Dr. Evans-Winters is an Associate Professor of Education at Illinois State University in the department of Educational Administration and Foundations, and is a Faculty Affiliate with Women & Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies.  Dr. Evans-Winters’ research and teaching interests are the sociology of education, educational policy, critical race theory and feminism.  Dr. Evans-Winters is also a therapist and the author of the book, Teaching Black Girls – Resiliency in Urban Classrooms.

An energetic speaker with an infectious laugh and the uncanny ability to make her audience feel more like kinfolk than strangers, Dr. Venus Evans-Winters began her talk by showing a YouTube video of Nina Simone on stage singing, “Four Women,” where she sang about four of the many varied and distinct histories of African-American women.  While the song itself is over forty years old, it speaks to the intersectionality of racism, sexism and classism that still exists today.

Dr. Evans-Winters spoke about some of the issues faced by African-American women in higher education.  Most are well known and well-documented:

  • Fewer African-Americans receive tenure
  • Inequity in pay
  • Only allowed to teach race and gender specific classes
  • The number of diverse faculty members not keeping pace with the increased diversity of the student body

She went on to speak on issues that are not as obvious – mini abrasions, she called them:

  • Walking into a room of your peers and it being assumed that you are the support staff
  • Ideas and opinions devalued
  • Personal choices of how to wear one’s hair negatively impacting evaluations, which in turn, negatively impacts opportunities for tenure
  • When speaking up, the risk of  being labeled an “angry Black woman”

When looking to quickly gauge a company’s values and culture, many African-Americans know that it is often as simple as looking around for someone who looks like them.  Do they span the ranks of the organization from the top down, or are they all clustered near the bottom?  The color and gender of the top hierarchy of any organization speaks louder than its motto or mission statement.

Dr. Evans-Winters stated that no one should be the only “one.”  If a company recruits an African-American executive, there should be other African-American executives for her to be able to elicit support, from the perspective of being one of the few.  The same thinking applies to students.

Dr. Evans-Winters spoke on how the Eurocentric, privileged and elitist culture of higher education is vastly different from the cultural many African-Americans have grown up in.  And while most Blacks are well versed in the culture of White Americans, the larger population knows very little about the psyche of African-Americans, due in part to the fact that the little research that is conducted deals primarily with the pathologies and deficiencies of that population.  Dr. Evans-Winters believes that to better understand African-Americans, research would be better served by focusing on the resiliency and strength of character that allowed African-Americans to rise from the depths of slavery.

Many African-Americans in higher education feel that they must split their identities and conform to the ideologies and culture of the dominant race in order to be successful.  But wherever people of color go, they bring their history, their culture, and their unique perspective of the world.

A one time practicing therapist, Dr. Evans-Winters talked of how there was never any psychological therapy given to Blacks when slavery ended.  None was offered following the mass lynching of black men or, in more recent history, following the abolition of Jim Crow.  Black women have learned to lean on one other to overcome these and numerous other hardships and atrocities, the effects of which outsiders cannot begin to comprehend.

To that end, Dr. Evans-Winters advocates that Black women should have a ‘Room of One’s Own,’ where they can create a safe place to share their stories, a place of community to nurture and heal, time to network with one another, and a loving environment with de-colonized images of beauty.

Additionally, women of color need allies from higher-ups, equal pay, students educated in a pluralistic democracy, professional development, and cultural diversity in the work place, with the goal being the humanization of the individual.

Dorothy Griggs is a member of DWN’s Communications team and is the department assistant for the Center for Students with Disabilities at DePaul University.