Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Christy Uffelman, SWSG Pittsburgh Advisory Council Member, and talk with her about the new Strong Leaders program in Pittsburgh, her role on the advisory council, and her hopes for SWSG in 2012.
Christy is the Vice President of Employee & Organization Development at Mascaro Construction Co., and has an extensive background in engaging emerging female leaders in Pittsburgh.  This year she has put that experience to work on the Pittsburgh Advisory Council, developing an exciting new model for the Pittsburgh Strong Leaders Program!
Keep reading for an excerpt from Christy’s interview. To learn more, take a listen to the full interview here!
On the Strong Leaders Program:
Christy: The women that we are targeting…is this emerging leaders group. The Strong Leaders program teaches coaching skills to our volunteers. We’ve created tools… we’ve created a development plan that they (leadership coaches) can help their college woman set for themselves, and then we teach them how to apply those coaching skills at work. And then it’s also about forming a cohort of peers.
Why focus on “coaching” specifically? :
Christy: So the difference between mentoring and coaching: mentoring is “I impart my wisdom to you.  I hear your story and I hear where you are and I’m going to give you advice.  You can choose to take that advice, you can choose to not take that advice, but it’s based on my wisdom and experience.”  That’s mentoring.
Coaching, on the other hand, is asking thoughtful questions where you generate your own solutions.  You generate your own possibilities.  And that is a huge, huge skill that A.) is extremely hot right now in the business world and B.) is extremely effective.  I mean, think about the last time somebody suggested that you do something.  Maybe you do it , maybe you don’t.  But think about the next idea you had that you wanted to try.  You’re much more apt to actually go through with it and do it.  So it’s this difference between commitment and compliance.  Often times we can be compliant to other people’s ideas, maybe we do it maybe we don’t, but we are generally very committed to our own ideas.
Mission Moments:
Christy:  I was on a site visit in November, and that was the first time I had been on a site because my volunteering has always been with the professional women and the college women.  …We get into the session and the mentors start, and we’re doing “Yums and Yucks”.  One of the first little girls is, just for the sake of conversation we’ll call her “Sue”, and she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing.  …This was her first Strong Women, Strong Girls event, the first time she’d participated.
So we’re going around and the girls were sharing their “Yums and Yucks”…and we got all the way around the circle, and Charlotte, who is one of the mentors, came back to the little girl, Sue, and said, “Would you like to share now?”  And the little girl said that she would, and she shared with us what her “yum” was, which I don’t remember, but what I remember is her “yuck”.
What she said was, “My parents are getting a divorce and I’m feeling really bad about it.”
I will tell you right now I just got goosebumps when I said that, because to me it was so beautiful that she had a space to be able to say that and that she had the language to be able to say that, and that it was a non-judgmental (space).  And some of the little girls looked at her and said, “I know how you feel”.  And I thought, how cool is that?  Just, how cool is that??  My parents divorced when I was a little girl and so I just really felt for her in that moment.