The Team Behind WE Local Des Moines

Meet the 2020 WE Local Des Moines Host Committee, also known as the Des Moines LHC!
2020 WE Local Des Moines banner

Here’s what you need to know about WE Local: WE Local is a scaled-down version of SWE’s Annual conference. It is a two-day event that allows attendees and organizations to “Meet Locally. Learn Socially.”

In particular, WE Local Des Moines will include:

  • 40+ professional development breakout sessions
  • 25+ organizations participating in a career fair
  • 3 keynote speakers
  • 2 social networking events (Celebration and Networking Breakfast)
  • 1 Collegiate Competition
  • 1 Outreach event (SWENext DesignLab)
  • 1 “WE Achieve” awards ceremony

Basically, WE Local is a great way to network, promote your career development, increase outreach efforts, and learn how to become more involved in SWE!

But WE Local does not come together overnight.

Three teams partner together over several months to orchestrate and promote the event:  SWE Headquarters, WE Local Advisory Board (LAB) and WE Local Host Committee (LHC).  The LHC has a chair and subcommittee liaisons/members; subcommittees include awards, collegiate competition, marketing, program (speakers), social, sponsorship and SWENext DesignLab efforts. There is also a floater role who contributes wherever needed to make WE Local a success. Participation on the LHC requires time contribution, integrity, inclusivity and trust as well as the important role of adding local flavor!  Volunteering on the LHC provides the opportunity to build more leadership experience and time and project management skills, and grow your knowledge of working with diverse, multi-generational virtual teams.

The 2020 WE Local Des Moines Host Committee is made up of a dynamic team of women from around the Midwest and WE Local Headquarters Staff.  It is because of them WE Local Des Moines is possible, so here is a little more about them and some quotes about what got them excited about supporting WE Local Des Moines:

  • Helen Colvin | Local Host Committee Chair | Ames, Iowa
  • Robin Willick | Program Subcommittee | Quad Cities, Iowa
  • Jena Wilson | Program Subcommittee | Company: Olsson | Lincoln, Nebraska

“I wanted to volunteer on the LHC because I wanted a chance to meet and connect with other local SWE members and help plan such a fun, empowering event.”

  • Sarah Witte | SWENext DesignLab Subcommittee | Company: Emerson | Ames, Iowa

“I have a passion for STEM K-12 outreach and some of the most rewarding moments I have had were seeing students have an “ahha!” moment and their excitement as they realized they did it! I am looking forward to providing an environment at WE Local Des Moines where students have the chance to explore and learn about STEM with the SWENext DesignLab.”

  • Laura Kimbel | Collegiate Competition Subcommittee | Company: Boeing

“I became interested in volunteering with the LHC as I had a lot of fun with it last year at WE Local St. Louis.”

  • Kimberly Velez | Social Subcommittee | Company: John Deere Power Systems | Cedar Falls, Iowa

“I was recently elected as the president of my local chapter (Cedar Valley SWE) and I wanted to get more involved in SWE national to connect with other sections and hopefully bring back some new, fresh ideas to our section.”

  • Natalie Vig | Social Subcommittee | University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Ashleysha Pujari | SWENext Design Lab Subcommittee | Des Moines, Iowa
  • Kim Groshek | Sponsor Subcommittee | Company:  Associated Bank | Wisconsin

“The reason I volunteer on the LHC is because I truly like helping people and sharing my talents and time with others. I also enjoy meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures while volunteering, and I like having my comfort zone stretched and expanded.”

  • Samantha Achambault | WE Local Des Moines Floater | Company: Northrop Grumman | Lafayette, Colorado

“I want to get more involved with SWE and I had such a great time at the 2019 WE Local in Denver. I am looking forward to learning about how the WE Local conferences are put on behind the scenes and meeting more SWE members!”

  • Vanessa Velasco | Senior Manager, Marketing and Events | WE Local HQ Section | Chicago, IL
  • Mackenzie Morgan | Coordinator, Events | WE Local HQ Section | Chicago, IL
  • Afton Coleman | Marketing Subcommittee | Company: Emerson | Marshalltown, Iowa

As the marketing liaison, I am personally excited to engage with other professional and collegiate engineering women in my area. I’ll be sharing posts on here (AllTogether) monthly and on the WE Local Des Moines Facebook events page – check back here (and there) for updates. Let me know if you have any questions!

On behalf of the WE Local Des Moines Host Committee, I can confidently say that we are very much looking forward to coordinating and supporting 2020 WE Local Des Moines!


Afton Coleman
Marketing Liaison
WE Local Des Moines Host Committee


Author(s) Information

  • The Team Behind WE Local Des Moines WE Local Des Moines SWE Blog

    SWE Blog provides up-to-date information and news about the Society and how our members are making a difference every day. You’ll find stories about SWE members, engineering, technology, and other STEM-related topics.

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