YWA is an organization that supports, empowers, and connects women through personal and professional educational programs and events. What most people don’t realize is that YWA is a 100% volunteer run organization without a single paid staff member. This is only possible because our members join committees to take part in the day to day planning and execution of YWA’s operations. There are 81 leadership positions that range from planning the Austin Under 40 event, to coordinating the book club, to increasing diversity in the organization as well as 10 committees with unique focuses that provide members opportunities to develop different skills.
Members who join a committee are helping support YWA’s mission to create the next generation of women leaders through the Future Women Leaders Fund. Joining a committee also provides the opportunity to shape the goals and direction of the organization and impact change at the community level.
Four current committee members share why they love being a chair and why they recommend joining a committee this year.
Rebecca Bennett is the book club chair within the membership committee. She has loved her leadership experience in YWA and will continue on the board as Co-VP of operations later this year. “Beyond enjoying my role, getting to know other women from my committee on a deeper level made me so much more comfortable attending events and at least knowing a few people already.” In her role she got to help out with other parts of the membership committee as well, such as attending volunteer events for new members and putting together new member gifts. “I felt included and got to play a larger role in the direction that YWA is going.”
Megan McDermott had a great experience on the Austin Under 40 committee as a sponsorship chair and is planning to apply for another committee this year. “I would love the opportunity to get involved in the Programs Committee and support the impactful work that team is doing with the Speaker Series and professional development.” Megan has learned a lot during her time as sponsorship chair, and emphasizes how important it is to try new things. She thinks joining a committee is a great opportunity for new members to connect with one another and develop skills they didn’t even know they were missing.
“Being a committee member is a great way to focus on two of my personal values of growth and connection! Being on a YWA committee provides you with a more intimate and focused view of what YWA is all about. You are given an opportunity to not only connect deeply with other members of YWA who all have something in common with you by being a part of that committee. But you also have the opportunity to build out skills that you are focused on stretching and growing. The skills I learned on the sponsorship team translated into my professional life of finding ways to be nimble with change, persistent in showcasing someone’s buy on new ideas or projects, and the ability to witness first hand the amazing Brittany Sharkey and YWA leadership put on a gala for hundreds!”
Samantha Nowak used her experience as the YWA Recruitment Chair to gain skills and grew her opportunity to become YWA’s incoming VP of Membership. Some of the skills she has gained through her chair position are public speaking and event planning. The bonds she built with the other women on her team was by far her favorite part of being on a committee. “Being a chair has gotten me to become more involved in YWA. Without it, I don’t think I’d have made the friends I did or gained the experiences I have. It’s good to know that I am making an impact on YWA.”
Allison Moujaes is the community service co- chair on the Community Impact committee. This was her second year as a chair, and she has loved building communication skills that she doesn’t have the chance to build at work. “In my role, I have learned new software and programs. These are programs that I otherwise would not have had a reason to use in my day-to-day work. I have also had the opportunity to work with other committees on projects giving me the chance to meet more people. Before YWA, my social circle was limited to my coworkers. I have now grown a diverse network of people who care, who are going through the same struggles, and who want to see me succeed, which I feel is invaluable.” She thinks joining a committee is a great opportunity for people that consider themselves shy because it helps build confidence and fast friendships.
YWA has proven to bring people together and foster long lasting relationships. Not only is joining a committee a great way to meet new friends, it is also a way to connect on a deeper level with people who are passionate about the same things as you. Women who have joined committees have developed new skills, grown in their careers, and improved their community. We would love to invite you to apply and see for yourself.
Committee Applications are now open for the 2022-2023 YWA year. Learn more about each chair position to see which role might be the best fit for you. Be sure to apply before applications close on Monday May 2nd.