Ashley McCarthy-Griffiths

Power of Engineering

Empowering volunteers

Ashley is the President of Power of Engineering, a not-for-profit organisation working to increase gender diversity in the engineering industry by empowering young people to embrace their creativity, diversity, and engineering mindset. The organisation runs one-day events with Year 9 and 10 high school students to demonstrate the power they hold to change the world through engineering, in collaboration with universities and industry.

An unsustainable volunteer model

As a completely volunteer-run organisation, Power of Engineering relies solely on the time given by their volunteers to operate. Ashley began to notice that a large portion of volunteer hours were being taken up completing administrative tasks, which isn’t necessarily why the volunteers had signed up. This was a big frustration for many volunteers who felt like they weren’t really making the difference they wanted to in their work. 

Outdated managerial processes

Starting out with only one event when the organisation launched, processes had not been sufficiently updated to reflect the organisation’s growth, both in terms of how events are organised, and the expectations of volunteers at these events. Communication and accountability were both noted by Ashley as needing improvement. 

Reactive governance

Not wanting to put people off when they volunteered, Ashley admits that managing the volunteers has been largely reactive. When volunteers were unavailable, or something went wrong, issues were dealt with in the moment, without a strong plan for sustainable, responsible governance. 

Standardising processes and procedures

Reviewing current processes and procedures, Empire Virtual Support made suggestions on how to improve the organisation’s current work model. We implemented a new volunteer database, automated and streamlined internal procedures, and improved the onboarding process with SOPs that are easy to understand and implement. 

Ongoing administrative support

In order to give volunteers back some of their time, Empire Virtual Support now provides ongoing administrative assistance to Power of Engineering. From minute taking and event organisation through to marketing and communications, our experienced team now manage a number of administrative areas within the organisation, and are on hand for any ad hoc duties that arise. 

Clear expectations and responsibilities

Streamlining the event management process, our team worked with Ashley to clearly define roles and responsibilities of her volunteers. Our aim was to drive accountability while also providing flexibility for volunteers to reduce or increase capacity as needed.

Simple, contemporary processes

Power of Engineering now has a number of new managerial systems and Standard Operating Procedures in place. Taking the burden off Ashley and her volunteers, our team implemented these new systems so that the volunteers didn’t have to, and continue to assist with ongoing maintenance and upkeep. 

A proactive approach to volunteer management

With new systems in place, and clearer expectations of volunteer’s roles and responsibilities, Ashley and her managerial team are now able to operate with a proactive approach. Communication and accountability with volunteers has been clearer, events have run much smoother, and the volunteers now have greater flexibility in their roles. 

Space for greater impact

No longer bound up by everyday administrative tasks, the Power of Engineering volunteers now have the time and headspace to create greater impact in the community as they deliver their vision and mission. The team is excited to take on roles that align with their passion, with tangible signs of improving diversity in engineering and empowering young people to join the industry.