Becky L. Schergens (Nonprofit)
I am the National Advisor at the National Women’s History Museum. My career path has been nothing short of nomadic. I arrived in Washington, DC with a degree in government from Southern Methodist University and plunged into working at the DC office of the City University of New York (CUNY) and American Association of Museums as well as being a staff assistant to three Secretaries at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. At last, I became a Deputy Assistant Secretary (Policy Communication) in the Education Division. In those days, women usually had to move in a zig zag fashion to achieve the next step.
My next stop was Chicago where I had been selected as the first Executive Director of the National PTA (I have no children). Later I moved to Denver and earned my MPA from the University of Denver. Upon graduation, the President of the University of Houston – Clear Lake offered me a position to partner with the Houston Chamber of Commerce in economic development. Ultimately I became the first Vice President for Institutional Advancement at UHCL. Why is all of this information necessary to working in non-profits?
This long journey convinced me that my public service was best utilized in the non-profit world. I literally came full circle back to Washington, DC to find that virtually all of my skills and experience in public administration were useful in the non-profit world. For the past 14 years, I have served as the National Advisor to the National Women’s History Museum. In that role, I developed the initial strategic plan to create a National Coalition of women’s organizations to support the establishment of a Women’s History Museum in the Nation’s Capital. I continue to work with and expand the Coalition, which now includes 54 organizations.
Primarily online, the National Women’s History Museum offers a diverse collection of biographies, digital exhibits, and lesson plans for teachers and women’s history enthusiasts. Presently, a Congressional Commission is conducting a feasibility study and is scheduled to present a report to the Congress in November 2016 about the future of the Museum.
My biggest joy has been working with the 54 Coalition organizations and the remarkable women who have served as their leaders. Together we continue to build support for our vision of a bricks and mortar National Women’s History Museum in Washington, DC which will “educate, inspire, empower and shape the future by integrating women’s distinctive history into the culture and history of the United States.”
To learn more about the museum, visit www.nwhm.org.