WeARC, a group devoted to empowering every woman to achieve their full potential within ARC, was established in March 2019 as part of our Women’s History Month celebration.
As one of the founding members of WeARC, I was motivated by ARC’s 2018 leadership program, “Inspire.” In it, we learned the core values of being a leader, inspiring others, and the importance of employee engagement and experience. Taking these key learnings and applying them to WeARC, we seek to offer opportunities for women at ARC to address issues and topics important to them, as well as create connections across our offices.
We seek to offer opportunities for women at ARC to address issues and topics important to them, as well as create connections across our offices.
One of the major undertakings of WeARC in the first year was the creation of our mentoring program. Knowing how critical mentoring is from a career development standpoint, we placed a high emphasis on this program, which helped introduce participants and develop meaningful professional relationships. From June 2019 to December 2019, the program brought together more than 20 mentees with eight mentors across every office. We wanted to create a variety of forums for participants to interact, so we started one-on-one direct mentoring pairs, five mentoring circles and “reverse mentoring,” where more junior employees partnered with more senior-level employees to exchange skills and knowledge.
Throughout the course of 2019, we also held and participated in several women-focused events, including:
- A successful kick-off meeting in March led by ARC EVP and COO Lauri Reishus,
- A Lunch & Learn in May titled “Sorry, Not Sorry,” focusing on ways for women to communicate more confidently with colleagues,
- A co-sponsored speaker series with Airbus Vice President for Research & Technology Amanda Simpson ,
- Meeting with current Chairwoman of the ARC Board Bonnie Reitz in September to discuss her experience in leadership roles and the industry as a whole,
- Attending the Women in Technology Louisville Conference in December.
We look to continue our momentum in 2020 with a leadership conversation series, community involvement and additional networking events. With our foundation for mentoring in place, we expect to grow this year’s mentoring program and have more informal meetings now that relationships have been made.
On top of the mentoring program and events, WeARC has been successful in part due to the involvement of our executive team and leadership.
At ARC, women hold leadership positions across the company, several in historically male-dominated areas.
They have been instrumental in the growth of this group. Dickie Oliver, who serves as vice president and chief information officer (CIO) overseeing the IT department, is our group’s executive sponsor. Given the typical underrepresentation of women in IT, his involvement shows our company’s commitment to this area of growth. With Lauri Reishus stepping in as CEO at the end of 2020, we have an amazing opportunity to continue to grow and impact the company.
While our group is still fairly new and has work to do to further increase engagement at every level of our organization, I am excited and encouraged by the response we’ve gotten so far and for what the future holds!