Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren Sveen, WG'90
Lauren Sveen, WG'90 is President of the Wharton Club of Colorado
What is your greatest achievement since graduating from Penn/Wharton?
Of course I have to say my family! 27 years of marriage and three happy, successful children!
But professionally, I think it has been my ability to integrate work and family. From early on, I focused on how to have a career, marriage, commute, and also be present for our children. This is an important and prevalent conversation now, but “back in my day” (I graduated in 1990) this was not a big focus area. In fact, when I spoke at one of the Wharton Women in Business conferences, I made the comment that the group, which is now over a thousand strong, didn’t even exist when I was in school!
I found work-life integration by giving up my corporate marketing career and becoming an entrepreneur, which gave me the flexibility I needed. And as I started businesses, I found myself frequently hiring other educated, experienced women who, like me, were searching for that elusive ‘balance.’ Ultimately, I decided there was a business to be had tapping into that pool of talent, which is how I found myself now as a workplace consultant and recruiter!
For me, my business ideas have been borne out of a personal need which just happened to translate into a marketplace opportunity. But isn’t that the best way to start a business?!
What motivates you to volunteer for Wharton?
I have a strong affinity for Wharton (as well as for Duke, my undergrad). I guess partly because I had such a great, broadening experience and have strong friendships from my time there; but also I staunchly believe that these institutions are only as good as their alumni networks. We build the brand, and ourselves, by staying engaged.
What is your vision for your club?
What makes Colorado unique is the extraordinary outdoor lifestyle, and after eight years at the helm of the alumni club, I have realized that our local alumni most enjoy the events that allow them to mix some of that lifestyle enjoyment with their networking. However, with Denver being far from both coasts, it is especially important to keep the Wharton network alive here, and to learn from and help each other out.
So for local alumni, my vision is to engage and connect in a uniquely Colorado fashion. But for Wharton alumni around the country (and the world), I also have a vision. I would love to see us embrace the opportunity to connect and engage in an active, outdoor fashion, as well as through our more formal ways like the Global Forums and the Joseph Wharton dinner in NYC. The Colorado club holds an annual Alumni Ski Weekend which has begun to gain traction nationally. I would love to see this become THE annual event for our alumni to both connect with old friends, and to engage with the larger Wharton network in a fun and casual way.
How do you keep people motivated?
It’s definitely hard, because life hands everyone all kinds of priorities. But I think the best way is to try to make sure that volunteers are able to do something they really care about, because then they will make it a priority. I try to keep volunteers engaged by creating opportunities for them to accomplish their own goals, whether professional or personal. Kenny Beck (who runs the NYC club) calls it ‘enlightened self-interest’, and it’s not a bad thing.