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A Younger Member’s Perspective: 2013 Multi Region Leadership Conference

By Alison Graves, P.E., M. ASCE

Alison and Melantha Miller Brewery

I was so fortunate to recently attend the 2013 Multi Region Leadership Conference held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on January 11th and 12th.  A quick overview: the conference is comprised of the Workshop for Section and Branch Leaders (WSBL), the Younger Member Council (YMC), and the Workshop for Student Chapter Leaders (WSCL).  This was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about ASCE, meet the regional and national leadership, make tons of new contacts within ASCE and develop new ideas on how to improve the Section and Younger Member Group.  Matt Harper and Mike Beuchter represented the St. Louis Section at the Workshop for Section and Branch Leaders and St. Louis University students were local representatives to the Workshop for Student Leaders.

At the MRLC, our section was honored to receive two major awards! Matt and Mike accepted the 2012 Outstanding Section Award, recognizing our “outstanding contribution to the Society and the St. Louis community through your programs and activities.  It is a testament to the group of talented and committed professionals that comprise the membership, committees, and executive board of the St. Louis Section.” Melantha Norton and I accepted the 2012 Diversity Award, recognizing our “stellar efforts in demonstrating your support of equitable opportunity for participation of people within the civil engineering profession without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or physical challenges.  From the strategic direction of your Committee on Diversity & Inclusion, the Section’s trailblazing commitment to tracking and reporting demographics of chapter leadership, sustained Younger Member committee’s commitment to sharing their expertise via the Rebuilding Together community initiative, to your collaboration with the St. Louis Metropolitan District focused on addressing issues of disparity, the St. Louis Section is an ASCE model for making sustained and impactful contributions to creating a more inclusive profession.”

Melantha and I attended the Younger Member Council and we participated in sessions geared towards leadership development of our young professionals.  Session topics included Sustainability, Roberts Rules of Order, Roundtable Group Reports, Hosting a STEM Expo, Social Media and Project Management for Younger Members.  Of particular interest were the Roundtable Group Reports, where Younger Members brainstormed and shared ideas about what worked and what didn’t within their own Groups back home.  In addition to the sessions, we attended social events that highlighted the great city of Milwaukee, including The Miller Brewery tour on Friday night and a fun Beer Barons tour on Saturday.

We were very pleased to get to know the local leadership here in St. Louis, including the area governors. The conference was very energizing, and we left ready to implement some new ideas within our own Younger Member Group relating to Outreach, Leadership Roles and Recruiting and Retaining New Members. 

We're looking forward to January of 2014 when the Multi Region Leadership Conference will be held here in St. Louis, downtown at the Hilton at the Ballpark!  Melantha and I are chairing the Central Region Younger Member Council and we have begun preliminary planning with a committee of 5 other Younger Members.  It will be a significant effort to organize the Younger Member Sessions and plan (and fund) 3 social events for all three groups at the MRLC, but we will all gain great experience from our involvement. The 2014 CRYMC Conference presents a unique opportunity for you or your company to show your support for Leadership Development for our Younger Members.  We would love to have a session focused on an interesting local project and are looking for great ideas and presenters.  Sponsorships from local companies are also needed.  If your company is interested in supporting young engineers at this conference, or if you have any ideas for fundraising, social events or an interesting technical tour, please email me or Melantha.