Get to know SME's Young Leaders Committee

William Gleason

July 20, 2021

SME’s Young Leaders Committee (YLC) is a committee for SME members under the age of 40 to develop and strengthen careers in the mining and underground construction industry while adding value to the entire SME organization.

Members find opportunities for professional development, opportunities to gain and share professional knowledge and professional networking opportunities. The YLC works within SME to reach student chapters, the general public and provide value to SME members throughout the year.
The committees’ roots date back to 1998 when four members formed the Future Leaders program. Since then the group’s mission was re-evaluated in 2001 and renamed to the Young Leaders Committee.

The Young Leaders believe the path to success for this committee is to build a diverse and inclusive community of rising professionals, and a strong network of support from YLC alumni and industry veterans. The Young Leaders will aim to do this by creating sustainable value through consistent engagement with the society, and fostering professional development and networking opportunities. The committee’s goals include professional development, outreach, industry engagement and networking.

Recently, 2021 YLC Chair Kathleen Tew took some time to speak about her involvement with YLC.

Goals for 2021: “The Young Leaders Committee (YLC) is working on reconnecting with our members in innovative ways, better supporting the SME International Community, and continuing to develop our members and young professionals in 2021. In 2021, the YLC Executive Committee also wanted to bring back a sense of normalcy but at the same time evolve to better support our members who are based farther away.”

Why should young members get involved with the YLC? “Young Leaders offer a unique chance to develop your professional, networking and outreach skills; in that we are a diverse group of individuals from academia to consulting, the United States to Ghana, and everywhere in between. Our group offers the chance to develop our members, help students and our communities. YLC also works with the larger SME community in helping with SME divisions, strategic committees and standing committees. After graduating from Young Leaders, members have gained a diverse network of professionals and also should have gained insight into how SME works and how to better stay involved with SME.”
What does the committee do that stands out? “The best part of Young Leaders is that we are completely self-driven by what our members want to do -- if someone has an idea for a project we try to make it work. The committee is run by young professionals, and we recognize that there are many facets to each individual and we do our best to support that. Our members are always ready to volunteer and help wherever needed.”

What are your favorite things/memories about your time with the committee? “I can't describe just one individual moment but instead the overall experience and feeling that being a part of YLC gives. Over the last four years I have learned how to be a better leader, how to truly work to support a diverse group of people and how SME works on various levels. I have loved working on professional development webinars, with MEC on the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) rock boxes, helping with our mine rescue skills test, and so much more. I take great pride in seeing the people around me grow and our group tackle various projects. This is corny, but over time our group becomes friends and a support network, even after graduating from the program these wonderful people stick with you.”



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