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Society of Women Engineers

The Latest Information on SWE’s Governance Update

SWE is working to improve the functionality and efficiency of our governance structure.

Published On: April 2016

SWE is working to improve the functionality and efficiency of our governance structure. We’re calling this initiative our Governance Update, and it’s designed to be an investment in SWE’s future to provide the type of environment in which women engineers want to take part and grow. It’s important that our members are aware of this project and are provided an opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

Governance Update Videos

SWE’s leaders and longtime members have made videos about why they support our Governance Update.

Governance Update Webpage

A webpage has been created, governance.swe.org, with news, resources and information about the status and ongoing work we’re doing. You’ll find answers to frequently-asked questions and contact information. It also has a timeline of events from when the update was first considered.

Why is SWE conducting a Governance Update?

SWE has been fortunate enough to experience tremendous growth in the last ten years. Sometimes with growth comes growing pains, and reviewing how we govern ourselves and the structures we have in place to support our governance is crucial. In the words of a best-selling business book, “what got us here won’t get us there.” We need to ensure that our governance structure will not prohibit, but will promote, continuous growth of SWE and its members. This initiative is designed to be an investment in SWE’s future and provide the type of environment women engineers want to be a part of and grow within.

When is the Governance Update happening?

Many changes will impact multiple areas of the organization. While we are anxious to make the changes needed to take us to the next level, SWE leadership is committed to taking the time to do it the right way. Some changes will be implemented in FY16 while others will take longer. As the implementation plans are developed for each area, the exact timing of the overall changes will be better understood. We estimate a 3-5 year transition timeline.

What about leadership succession plans?

As with any organizational change, there is a period of uncertainty. Each sub-group will be tasked with developing recommendations for a smooth transition from the existing processes and structure to the new. If you have specific questions, please speak with your BOD liaison, Senator or Region Governor.

Who do I contact to get involved?

Each recommendation has been assigned a champion. For example, the Senators and Region Governors have specific sub-groups to address changes related to their structure. If you have a specific area of interest, please contact your BOD liaison, Senator or Region Governor or email: governance@swe.org.

How are Members-at-Large affected?

The MAL organization is seen as functioning well, and may serve as a model for some of the changes being considered.  That said, MAL leadership is looking at options to the selection process that currently relies on the regional structure.

Who makes the ultimate decisions?

Some of the decisions rest with the Senate (e.g. bylaws revisions), while many others rest with the Board of Directors. In order to ensure the optimum changes and buy-in, all changes will be vetted and extensively communicated. Even so, it is recognized that some of the changes will not please everyone.

What about membership levels?

Membership levels were not part of the governance structure review, and no changes are being proposed at this time.

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