Leading the Way

Lauren Footman ’14 is taking up arms against gun violence.

An English major and political science and Africana studies minor at Bryn Mawr, Lauren Footman ’14 is now the director of outreach and equity at the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

In the fall, she participated in the Career & Civic Engagement Office’s remote Alumnae/i in Residence program, during which she served as a panelist and held meetings with current students. Below, she talks about finding her career passion, the value of attending a women’s college, and more.

How did you get involved in your current field?

I became involved in my current field by attending a summit for millennial advocates working to address gun violence in Chicago, Illinois, hosted by Generation Progress in 2015. At this summit, I met activists from across the country who were looking to redefine and achieve safety for their communities.

Through this experience, I was able to stay connected with summit participants, gain experience as a volunteer organizer in the gun violence prevention space, and develop relationships with professionals in the violence prevention space. Last year, when I wanted to make a career shift, I leveraged my network and began to apply for roles and eventually landed at my current organization.

How did your Bryn Mawr experience influence your professional development?

I have been able to leverage my liberal arts education, as it has allowed me to be agile and adapt to multiple work environments and sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals and financial services to nonprofits. In addition, my Bryn Mawr College experience taught me the importance of building a robust network, remaining curious, and never limiting my aspirations. Lastly, I discovered my passion for advocacy at Bryn Mawr. Establishing the College’s NAACP chapter exposed me to causes I could commit myself to and build a career around.

What career advice to you have for current students?

Never limit yourself; have a plan, but never be so rigid you miss out on great opportunities. Also, it’s okay if you don’t have it all figured out. Remain open-minded, seek out great mentors, and be sure to lift others as you climb.

What made you choose to attend Bryn Mawr?

I selected Bryn Mawr because of the personal touch I felt during my campus visit, the small class sizes, the academic rigor, and the fact the College encourages curiosity and leadership. I was very shy when I came to Bryn Mawr, and I needed an environment that would help develop me into a leader.

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Philly Power

In 2019, Philadelphia Magazine named Footman one of a new generation of Philadelphians making their mark by shaking up the status quo. Here’s what the editors said:

“As the director of operations at the nonprofit Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium ..., she’s pushing gun violence reduction strategies to the forefront, particularly those developed by and for communities of color. To her, bringing what you’ve learned back to where you started is the best way to make a difference. ‘I often think we are not further ahead because people are not good stewards of the influence and access they have,’ she says.”