WGR Blog October


In May, WGR members elected four new members to join the Board of Directors. Since then, these accomplished women have been continuing to step into their leadership roles and serve the organization as they start their two year terms. To help other WGR members become familiar with some of these new leaders, we wanted to share a few details about their goals, passion for government relations, and inspirations. We had a chance to chat with Charla McManus, Bree Raum and Kathleen Coulombe. Below are excerpts of their answer

Charla McManus, WSW
Why did you run for the WGR Board?
“In joining WGR I found a community of smart, driven, capable women: living examples of what could be done and how to do it. Mentors, comrades and friends made time for me and offered that hand up when I needed it. For me WGR offered me the tools I needed to succeed and – just as important - the confidence and the courage to do it. And for that I am grateful. At a recent task force event – we found ourselves with a speaking panel of all men, save one.  It was a stark reminder that WGR’s mission is just as relevant as ever.  I have enjoyed my time as a task force co-chair tremendously; but now it is as a member of the Board of Directors I can best contribute to WGR by furthering that mission.”

What are your goals for your new Board position?

“ 1. Learn.  2. Increase the amount and diversity of programming for mid-career WGR members. By offering more opportunities to not only mentor younger members but to network and market amongst their peers such as inclusion in a WGR speakers bureau.  [… ] 3.       Build a WGR Ambassador program. Adding to the variety volunteer opportunities, a small group of members would take on the responsibility of representing WGR at [government relations/public relations] events around town in order to raise our profile and forge lasting relationships with other organizations will similar goals and values.”

Bree Raum, American Gas Association
What has been your favorite program or event with WGR?
“My all-time favorite event is the annual Welcome Back to Congress Reception hosted by the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force.  It always has a fun theme.  One year it was a ‘homecoming’ theme with a balloon arch, a football field for carpeting and tailgate food. Last year, the event was held on Groundhog Day, so the venue was decorated in winter and spring, with mini stuffed groundhogs scattered around and the movie Groundhog Day playing in the background. There is nothing like a little Bill Murray to really cap off an amazing WGR event!”

What career advice would you offer to someone interested in government relations?
“I am a firm believer in Woody Allen’s saying that ‘80 percent of success is showing up.’ Show up to hearings instead of watching them on your computer.  Go to meetings instead of calling in.  Go to the networking events.  Those encounters provide opportunities to meet new people and expand your network and knowledge base.”

Kathleen Coulombe, Society for Human Resource Management
Who do you admire?
“Many strong women in my life. First and foremost – my Mom and sisters. But there are a handful of women that have not only supported me over the years, but have challenged me to be better personally and professionally. I truly admire them for their accomplishments but also what they bring to my life.”

What do you think is the biggest challenge for government relations professionals today?
“I think a challenge for professional women in general is a lack of pay transparency. It’s hard to know what you’re worth when no one talks about it. Having some benchmarks and general ideas of what our counterparts earn would be helpful for professional women as they traverse their careers.”

Find the full list of the WGR Board of Directors here.