SWE Kicks Off Giving Tuesday Campaign with Colleen Layman
SWE started the WE Conference Registration Program in 2015 during Layman’s term as SWE President. Since its inception, the number of donors contributing to the program has grown from 100 in 2015 to over 800 in 2017.
#GivingTuesday was November 28, 2017. Thanks to a generous anonymous matching donation, SWE’s Board of Directors and Leadership, and SWE’s members and donors, we raised $13,190 yesterday! This exceeded our goal of $10,000 and is, by far, our most successful #GivingTuesday to date!
Leading up to #GivingTuesday, SWE featured a different SWE program and SWE donor each week. We kicked things off by featuring Past President Colleen Layman and the Annual Conference WE18 Registration Grant Program.
Layman is the Vice President/Director of Professional Services-Engineering at HDR and served as the FY16 SWE President, is a SWE Life Member, and has held various positions of increasing responsibility at the SWE section, region, and national level. In 2017, she received the SWE Prism Award for her impact on the society and the engineering community. As an engineer, she specializes in water and wastewater treatment and steam/water cycle chemistry.
At WE17, SWE distributed 20 registration grants to two professionals and 18 collegiate students. Check out this video of the WE17 Registration Grant Recipients here:
Registration Grants for WE18 in Minneapolis, MN will be distributed by SWE’s Conference Advisory Board with priority given to professional members who are unemployed or collegiate members who do not access to conference support (through their section or academic institution). Applications will open in March of 2018.
Why give back to SWE?
To discuss the importance of registration grants and giving back to SWE, we asked Layman to share why she donates to SWE and the impact she sees the organization having. Layman focuses on the WE Registration Grant Program, as she was one of the early advocates for the initiative.
SWE: Why do you donate to SWE?
Layman: “At this point in my career, I am proud to have the ability to be able to give back. Over the course of my education and my career I have been fortunate to have had support from so many avenues – personal, professional, and financial support. Now I am paying forward as they say and SWE, especially via the WE Registration Grant donor program, provides me with that avenue and an opportunity to do so.
Society Conference each year is a chance to connect face-to-face with both my mentors and mentees from around the world and catch up or strengthen connections. Keeping touch throughout the year via social media, via phone calls, and via email helps maintain those connections, but nothing can replace the more intimate experience that meeting face-to-face and sharing a cup of coffee or a meal or just having some real personal time with someone does. Having just attended my 10th Society Conference in Austin in October, I have been reflecting on the benefits that I have obtained from attending over the years: I have learned about emerging technologies, acquired strategies to better manage my career and personal life, been inspired by amazing women as they shared their own stories of both successes and failures, connected with potential clients and mentors, cheered for my friends and my section at the awards dinners, and even had my own achievements recognized. I have met some pretty incredible women over these past 10 years who have motivated me to strive for bigger and better things. Sharing with other SWE members, who may not have the financial means right now to enjoy this experience, the chance to be part of this community and build their own network at conference, is something that is very important to me. I feel that every female engineer can grow so much from the having the opportunity to “stand in the room” with 10,000 other female engineers and recognize that she is not alone.”
SWE: How does SWE make an impact?
Layman: “Working in a very male-dominated sector for the majority of my professional career, SWE has always filled a primary role in my life as my community of support, as a key avenue for me to connect with other women who are like me and who are facing the same challenges in their careers and in their lives as I am. Throughout each of our personal journeys through life, we all have people who help us along the way and who we help along the way. We can’t do it alone. We need the support of others and that is what SWE is all about to me. SWE provides us with so many opportunities to be on either side of that equation, to be the giver or the receiver of that assistance, throughout the whole of our lives.
Outside of the personal impact that SWE has had on my life and my career, the organization is also key in changing the image of what an engineer looks like for society as a whole and that is something that is also quite important to me. SWE provides a voice for women in engineering to have their concerns heard through its public policy efforts; it provides positive role models and promotes interest in STEM through K-12 outreach programs in our communities; it promotes diversity and inclusion in the engineering workplace through partnerships and programs with other professional, corporate, and academic organizations; it recognizes and highlights the contributions that women have made in advancing the engineering world. It is in these ways that SWE is making an impact on not just its own members, but on the world as a whole.”