Kelly Doyle leads a session at the 2018 Younger Member Leadership Symposium. PHOTO: Jaffer Almosawy

Kelly Doyle has grown accustomed to making people uncomfortable.

For five years, she has helped lead the ASCE Younger Member Leadership Symposium, where her presentations don’t simply provide leadership tools or guidance; they prompt existential crisis.

Who are you? Why are you here? What are you hoping to accomplish in this life?

“I think for most people it’s the first time they’ve really had to think about it,” said Doyle, a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. “A lot of us think we know what we want in life. And even if you do know, you may not be there living it.

“I know one woman who came to YMLS a couple of years ago said that the personal vision program changed her whole life. Sometimes it’s necessary to take that step back and say, ‘OK, is this actually aligning with what I want out of life?’”

Back in 2014, Kyle Twitchell – then program chair of ASCE’s Committee on Younger Members – relaunched the YMLS as an annual event, each August, at ASCE Headquarters in Reston, VA. Doyle has since taken it to the next level, with the 2018 attendance more than double what it was five years ago.

As she worked toward her Master of Business Administration degree, she would flag any interesting nugget of wisdom from her classwork for use in the YMLS. The resulting program is a mix of real-world advice, leadership training, and of course, some pretty hardcore introspection.

“I am just really passionate and excited about leadership and management for civil engineers,” Doyle said. “There are so many things about leadership which are so important that maybe we never learned in school. So, hopefully we’re helping them and giving people skills they can take home and apply.”

Learn more about the 2019 Younger Member Leadership Symposium.

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