Here is a brief introduction to the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) mission and the councils and committees in which I’m involved. Most of ACM work is made by volunteers, and I find it meaningful and rewarding to do!
ACM is a global professional association for the field of computing. Many conferences and publications in this area are run by the ACM and its volunteers. Although ACM HeadQuarters (ACM HQ) are located in New York, USA, where the paid staff works full time, this team is supporting a vast network of volunteers and members across the globe. Thus, voluntary work makes ACM what it is, and each member of the association contributes to its success.
Since we have such a richness of cultures and different ways of understanding computing, ACM has established councils to celebrate this diversity and tailor its mission and initiatives to different areas. There are Councils for ACM China, ACM Europe, and ACM India. My work is related to the second.
Diversity in the membership and volunteer force in ACM is not only cultural and occupational (academics, practitioners and students are all part of this), but also gender. ACM has a Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W). The mission of this council is to encourage the professional and scholarly community to promote the participation and professional development of women in computing and to recognize their contributions to the field.
One of their lines of work is Celebrations of Women in Computing, such as the European wide womENcourage, which I co-chaired in 2015 with María Andreína Francisco. Currently I am chairing the working group on ACM Celebrations in Europe, which gives me the chance to see the success of these events in places such as Azerbaijan, Cyprus, or Spain, to name a few. You can read more about what ACM-W does in Europe through the ACM-W Europe Committee here.
The work I especially enjoy is the one related to chapters, the local representations of the ACM. A chapter can be a student or a professional chapter, depending on the occupation of its members. It can be a general interest chapter or be focused on a particular area (the latter are connected to the Special Interest Groups or SIGs). And they can address gender, being then an ACM-W chapter.
My involvement with ACM started when I joined the student chapter at the Technical University of Madrid, and grew when I joined the ACM Council of European Chapter Leaders (CECL). I was the Communication Officer of this group for 4 years (2012-2016)! A lot of time to meet great volunteers from all kinds of chapters across Europe. I have been the European representative at the ACM-W Chapters Committee.
Being involved in these different councils and committees has given me the privilege of broadening my network and work with amazing volunteers and staff from many different backgrounds. I could not recommend this enough!