Younger Members Symposium Promotes Leadership Skills, Camaraderie in Equal Measure

August 10, 2017
Ryan Condol takes to the white board for a session during the 2017 Younger Member Leadership Symposium. PHOTO: Jason Dixson Photography

Set a bunch of ASCE’s best and brightest younger members loose on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and what are they going to do?

Form a human pyramid. Of course. They are civil engineers, after all.

It’s to be expected during ASCE’s annual Younger Member Leadership Symposium.

“Seeing people have fun, doing cartwheels, human pyramids, and all that – that’s exactly what I want to see, just laughing and getting together and getting to know each other, networking and building that friendship,” said Jaffer Almosawy, EI, ENV SP, A.M.ASCE, president-elect of the Las Vegas Younger Member Forum.

“Everybody that I went to YMLS with last year, in 2016, became really good friends, really established a lifelong friendship.”

A three-day workshop in Reston, VA, the 2017 Younger Member Leadership Symposium brought together up-and-coming civil engineers from around the country (and even Albania) to further hone their leadership skills.

The ASCE Younger Members build their own monument on the National Mall. PHOTO: Jaffer Almosawy

The ASCE Younger Members build their own monument on the National Mall. PHOTO: Jaffer Almosawy

Yes, there was plenty of fun – as evidenced by the tours of the Capitol, National Mall, and Lake Anne (VA) as well as a series of hilarious skits demonstrating best practices for handling difficult conversations in the workplace.

Leadership SidebarBut the heart of the weekend was a series of educational sessions organized by Committee on Younger Members Chair Kelly Doyle, P.E., M.ASCE, and Elizabeth Ruedas, CYM programs chair, P.E., M.ASCE.

The program taught attendees to develop their own personal career vision, various communication styles, negotiating skills, and to successfully find a sustainable work-life balance, among other skills. Robert Wolff, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE, led a mentorship panel of ASCE Fellows providing a variety of career advice.

Feeling good on Day 2 of #YMLS2017! #ascemademe

A post shared by ASCE Younger Members (@asce_yms) on

“It has been a just unbelievable experience,” said Robert Mascarenas, A.M.ASCE, a geostructural engineer for Brierley Associates in Denver. “It’s helped me identify ways that I can be a leader, both from my current position and roles that I see myself in later in the future.”

Gjergi Kota, S.E., M.ASCE, took two flights covering a total of 15 hours to attend the symposium, all the way from his home in Durres, Albania.

“I thought it would be useful for my career in being a good manager and a good leader for my company,” said Kota, who works as head of the master plan and port development department for the Durres Port Authority. “It’s been amazing, very helpful – especially the panel of mentors.

“I think this association [ASCE] is not only useful for the members here in the USA, but it’s very useful for the international members. I think that all the forms of benefit are very important for growing and developing of engineers all over the world.”

  #happinessoverload . . . . #ymls2017 #ascemademe #asce #enginerds #ascelandmark   A post shared by Elizabeth Ruedas (@ely_ruedas) on

1 Comment
  • Glad to note that everyone had a good time! This is one of the cornerstones of the organization – provide opportunities to meet, collaborate, learn and develop leadership skills outside of the work place.

    Thanks to Kelly Doyle, Elizabeth Ruedas, Robert Wolff, staff and everyone else for taking the time to provide this positive experience for all those who attended.



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