In 2004 Diane McGiffen and Shari Afshari co-chair a forum to explore obstacles faced by women at all levels and to recommend ways to improve their opportunities. The forum was briefly called Women Managers Network, then renamed Public Works Women's Council (PWWC).
The fledgling Council establishes its organizational structure, creates subcommittees for mentoring and marketing, conducts a Management Secretaries Focus Group and a Cultural Assessment Survey, and creates a Help Guide that outlines the resources available to Public Works employees struggling with work-related and personal issues.
Darlene Brown designs the PWWC logo for use in public relations material, and the Council launches its Intranet site. The site allows PWWC to share information, raise awareness on women issues, engage with site visitors through blogs and surveys, and attract new membership.
Nearly 160 Public Works employees attended the Council's first Brown Bag featuring guest speaker Patricia Galloway. At the closing, Council Co-Chair Diane McGiffen presented Ms. Galloway with a token of appreciation - PWWC's unique pink hard hat. This Brown Bag is the first of many more Brown Bags on topics as diverse as health, career, women issues, finance, work life balance, etc.
After a January survey of women in the field revealed the existence of many gender-based obstacles, the Council began outreach efforts targeting women in non-traditional positions. Its goals: promote more acceptance and provide career guidance. Field Outreach Meetings provide a safe, supportive environment where female field employees can network, share their experiences and concerns, and get their questions answered. And yes, male field employees do attend.
The Council begins its participation in Public Works Safety Awards, a program designed to recognize field employees who follow safe work and driving practices. At the field locations where the ceremonies are conducted, Council members share information about the Council and encourage field employees to participate in the Council's field outreach meetings to discuss any issues and obstacles they may face.
PWWC contributes an essay to an American Public Works Association (APWA) publication titled "Women in Public Works Essays". It partners with the Human Resources Division to launch a Mentoring Pilot Program on September 25, 2007, providing guidelines and parameters for mentor/mentee relationships and monitoring the progress of 22 pairs of mentors/mentees.
The Council was recognized for its services, receiving the National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award and a Certificate of recognition from Los Angeles County's Quality & Productivity Commission.
The PWWLC hosts the Inaugural Women's Leadership Legacy Conference and launches an Internet Conference website. The Conference is designed to promote leadership on a personal level, in the workplace and in the community. The highly successful, sold-out event, funded entirely through corporate sponsorship, culminates many years of effort by dedicated Council members.
The Council receives its second NaCo award. It creates a new Website Committee to oversee a major overhaul of the Intranet website, and conducts a Secretary Recruitment/Retention Survey to determine if issues/concerns previously reported by secretaries are still relevant.
The PWWLC goes social with Twitter (@LACWomenLeaders), and form their own video production group, PWWLC Productions. The videos are part of the Council's marketing and recruitment campaigns.
The Council celebrates Women's History Month with displays, games and prizes. It replaces its Communications Committee with a Marketing Committee to emphasize the importance of a consistent and effective marketing strategy that encompasses all the Council's events and media.
The Women's Leadership Council is featured in the 92.3 FM The Beat radio show with host Josefa Salinas to discuss the Council's efforts in advocating for women's issues and promoting its mission to inspire women to seek leadership positions in all arenas.
PWWLC celebrates its 10-year anniversary with a renewed commitment to encourage, inspire and empower women at Public Works. In keeping with its original mandate, "explore obstacles faced by women and improve their opportunities", the Council continues to highlight significant events and role models for women and to provide employees with opportunities to learn, network and realize their leadership potential.
The 5th Annual Women's Leadership Conference (WLC) evolved from an event hosted by the Department of Public Works into a County-wide conference hosted by 15 different County Departments. Public Works collaborated with several Los Angeles County Departments to launch the 2015 Conference themed Mission: Empowerment. The PWWLC surpassed it's goal by having over 900 attendees attend the conference.
The Public Works Women's Leadership Council was recognized for its dedicated service to the affairs of the community and for the civic pride demonstrated by numerous contributions for the benefit of all the citizens of Los Angeles County. The Council received a certificate of commendation from The Los Angeles County Chair of the Board Supervisor, First District, Hilda L. Solis.