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Why I’m Volunteering at WE19

Meet Paola Chavira, a project manager for the CNG/LNG Group under the Construction department at SoCalGas and the Local Host Committee Co-Chair for WE19 in Anaheim.
Why I’m Volunteering At We19
Paola Chavira headshot
Paola Chavira

WE19 volunteer Paola Chavira is a project manager for the CNG/LNG Group under the Construction department at SoCalGas. She makes sure customers have an alternative source of natural gas when there is a risk of service interruption. Before her SoCalGas career, Paola started her work in the energy industry at Fluor Corporation.

Paola’s passions are supporting women and children’s programs in her communities. She is particularly interested in making sure women succeed professionally. She serves as the Local Host Committee Co-Chair for WE19 in Anaheim. She is also a part of  the Curriculum Committee as Leadership Summit Chair and is the counselor for the Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Baptist sections. Additionally, she mentors new women engineers at SoCalGas and created a woman support group called Women In STEM and Energy (WiSE) for this purpose. She is a member of the Leading Big Jr. Member board for Big Brothers Big Sisters – Inland Empire. She is also in her 3rd year relationship as a big sister with her little. She graduated with B.S. in Mechanical engineering in 2008 and her M.S. in Engineering Management in 2011, both from Cal Poly Pomona. She lives in Jurupa Valley with her husband and her huskies.


We wanted to find out more about Paola and what drew her to get involved with SWE and WE19, so we posed her a few questions!

How did you hear about this volunteer opportunity?

I joined SWE in 2004, and I believe it was 2005 when the annual conference was in Anaheim. I didn’t know it back then, but I volunteered for the conference under the direction of SWE OC members. About 14 years later, the same leader of Orange County (Kim O’rourke) suggested I volunteer as a co-chair along with Nadia Bess since WE19 would be coming to Anaheim. I took her up on it and our names were submitted to the CAB.

Is this your first time volunteering at a WE conference, or are you a returning volunteer?

Like I mentioned, I first volunteered as a student in 2005. I have volunteered for most of the annual conferences that I’ve attended. The discount is a great perk, and this way I can guarantee that I’ll be able to attend some sessions (you get to pick sessions to monitor).  

What made you want to volunteer for this SWE event?

I am really passionate about this organization and I wanted to give back by volunteering my time to this effort. I also wanted to make sure we added the local flavors of Orange County to this massive international conference.

What do you think the benefits are of volunteering at a WE conference?

First of all, you get to learn about all that the conference has to offer because you are at the heart and center of the “command center.” It’s amazing to see all the different teams and leaders that are involved in the making of this great event. Secondly, I love to meet SWE members from all over the world and hear their stories as you gear up for the day. Lastly, it helps you understand the SWE organization a lot better since you are so involved with coordination between headquarters’ staff, sections, volunteers, affinity groups and the different companies that support SWE. Overall, it’s a great way to network and find more ways to give back to SWE.

Have you looked at the agenda for WE19? If so, what are you most excited about?

The keynotes are always my favorite; I love that we can stream them live since most of these events sell out. I am looking forward to hearing all these great women and learning from their experiences. I’d like to hear from Rachel Hutter and hear about what it takes to be the leader of an international entertainment organization as huge as Disney!

Thank you to Paola Chavira and ALL of our SWE volunteers!

Interested in volunteering at WE19? Learn more here!

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