Diversity events abundant at Congress

Augie Chang
Senior Project Manager
San Diego, California
Immediate Past Chair, APWA Diversity Committee

Congress in San Antonio was a blur with a myriad of events hosted by the Diversity Committee, starting with the First-Timers Meeting on opening day of Congress, and attended by a record-setting 340 newcomers. Valuable information on how to get the most out of their Congress visit was presented, and they were treated to a full breakfast by our sponsor. We are optimistic that Congress in New Orleans next year will have an even greater attendance of first-time attendees to Congress.

The Diversity Committee met later that day to meet new members of the committee and set the course for the upcoming year. Ms. Jennifer Adams, City of Tempe, will serve as chair of this year’s committee. Look for articles in the APWA Reporter on matters relating to diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace and in APWA. We look forward to further interactions with our APWA Chapter Diversity Liaisons through a series of upcoming communications.

A packed house listened to APWA Region III Director Elizabeth Treadway speak at the Progressive Women in Public Works Breakfast during the 2007 Congress.

Our Women in Public Works Subcommittee, working with the Leadership and Management Committee, hosted our second Progressive Women in Public Works Breakfast. Over 100 people registered for the breakfast and heard from Elizabeth Treadway, APWA Region III Director and former Top Ten recipient, on how women have advanced in the field of public works. A Progressive Women in Public Works Reception was held later that evening.

We gathered approximately 50 essays from women in the public works field, who shared their work-related stories and experiences, including challenges and successes along the way, and helpful tips for future generations of women. CDs of these essays were distributed at the various events sponsored by the Diversity Committee. If you would like a copy of these essays, please contact Kaye Sullivan at (816) 595-5233 or ksullivan@apwa.net.

This year, the Diversity Committee presented three educational sessions at Congress including:

  • “Finding Your Future Employees” – a forum discussing struggles and strategies on recruiting new talent;
  • “Progressive Women in Public Works Panel Discussion” – a forum of women who shared their professional experiences in the field of public works and the positive lessons they have learned; and
  • “City of San Diego’s Diversity Program” (2006 Diversity Exemplary Practices Award winner) – featured not only a model program from a public agency, but a comparable one from the private sector (PBS&J).

Jelynne LeBlanc Burley, Deputy City Manager, City of San Antonio, Tex., spoke to the attendees at the Diversity Brunch on Congress Tuesday.

The Diversity Brunch was attended by over 80 people, who listened to Ms. Jelynne LeBlanc Burley, Deputy City Manager for the City of San Antonio, share her experiences throughout her professional career.

We hope Congress attendees noticed the signature pink stickers on the Congress badges that have become a tradition at Congress. These stickers signify APWA’s support of diversity and inclusiveness in the organization. We thank the Board of Directors for their continued support of our mission.

The New Orleans Congress in 2008 promises to bring even more and better events from this committee. Look for our sponsored events. We hope you will join us!

Please visit our webpage at www.apwa.net/aboutapwa/diversity.com for more information about our committee and programs.

Augie Chang can be reached at (858) 576-9200 or achang@psomas.com.