When Gwen K. Young was recruited to lead the Women in Public Service Project she immediately saw an opportunity to tackle women’s representation in government in a different way. Rather than recreating the wheel or using limited resources to duplicate existing efforts, she instead turned her focus to the lack of available data needed to fully understand where women were missing in government and public service. She didn’t focus just on elected positions (where data already exists); instead, she looked at other governmental sectors that include municipal, judicial and civil service positions as well.
Gwen’s approach illustrates a new way of thinking about how we measure women’s leadership and the power women hold in government positions from police chiefs and city managers all the way up to the highest cabinet level positions. Her work training women in conflict regions of Africa informed her perspective and her approach and it was there that she learned the value of partnerships which has been critical to her work.
We talked with Gwen not only about the project and her ambitious goals, but also about her thoughts on her own career and what success looks like. She is an innovative leader whose perspective and approach is nothing short of inspiring!