The Monthly SWE Newsletter
February 2015
SWE News

WE14 Membership Town Hall Call for Questions

Whether you're attending the conference in person or participating through virtual access, we want to hear your questions at the upcoming WE14 Membership Town Hall. Submit your questions in advance and add your voice to strengthen our discussions and drive our debates. Send your questions to us through Facebook, via email at or through Twitter using the #AskWE14 hashtag.

Yvonne Brill Lectureship - September 30, 2014

All SWE members are invited to the inaugural Yvonne Brill lectureship on September 30, 2014 at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, DC.

Download the announcement.

Get directions.

WE14 Executive Summit: Why Smart Executives Make Bad Decisions with Michael Seitchik

Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 11:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
JW Marriott at L.A. Live (room TBD)
Cost: $325
Space is limited.

The Executive Summit is a great way for senior executives to meet and network with other female executives who are involved with SWE and the Corporate Partnership Council. This Summit is for women who have P&L responsibility or significant staffing responsibility.

Link to Register.

If you only want to register for the Executive Summit, either choose the registration type "Session Only" or purchase the Executive Summit on the events page along with your full registration.

If you have any questions, please contact Director of Fund Development Jennifer Scott at 312.596.5220 or

Why Smart Executives Make Bad Decisions with Michael Seitchik

We all make bad decisions from time to time. But when a senior executive makes a bad decision it can have catastrophic consequences.

Most people, especially STEM professionals, are typically taught that decision making is a rational process. However, in the business world decision making is often based on many factors that are not totally rational. For example, power and politics are typical irrational factors that influence decision making.

Based on his experience of over 35 years working with senior executives, Michael Seitchik will lead an interactive session on why smart people make stupid mistakes. Attendees will participate in exercises that will reveal how vulnerable they are to making typical mistakes. They will also learn practical ways to counteract any vulnerabilities that are revealed.

In both his role as the right-hand person for a CEO and his work with Fortune 500 companies while at the Wharton School, Michael found that poor decision making was based on four common factors not taught in typical programs. While understanding these four factors cannot always prevent stupid decision making, it can equip participants with the ability to minimize the probability that they (or their boss) will make a really bad decision.

Speaker Bio
Dr. Michael Seitchik is President of Michael Seitchik LLC and has over 20 years of experience in designing and delivering customized executive education programs to executives at major corporations in a wide variety of industries around the world.

His experience includes nine years as the director of Program Development at the Wharton School where he ran all customized and open enrollment programs. At Wharton, his program "Managing with Ambiguous Authority" was cited by Businessweek as one of the three most innovative executive education programs in the world.

More recently, as the managing director of Executive Education Services at RHR International, his powerful approach to executive education was recognized by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, USA Today and The Globe and Mail.

His international experience includes developing programs for companies or business units based in Belgium, Canada, China, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Venezuela and the United Kingdom.

He received his doctorate in adult education and organizational development from Temple University.

SWE Announces Partnership with AWIS to Amplify Public Policy Efforts

SWE and the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) are partnering to unite 50,000 voices in advocating on behalf of women in STEM. The two organizations will collaborate on timely public policy initiatives designed to better the lives of the roughly 1.8 million women working in these fields while advocating for a positive shift in the public conscious concerning equality in STEM workplaces.

Since 1971, AWIS has tirelessly advocated for equality for women in all areas of STEM. Most recently, AWIS has focused on key issues of equality including the expansion of Title IX, pay equity and expanding the representation of women in leadership roles.

SWE continues to spearhead initiatives designed to improve the lives of both women in engineering and the STEM community as a whole. This year alone, the Society has organized the "Diversity and Inclusion Fuels Innovation in STEM" Capitol Hill Day, exhibited at Women's Policy Inc's (WPI) STEM Fair on Capitol Hill and participated in the White House Summit on Working Families.

Through their respective efforts and decades of work, SWE and AWIS have each made great strides in the quest to establish equality and encourage gender diversity in STEM workplaces. In uniting their efforts, the two groups are now poised to become the definitive voice of advocacy for women in STEM.



FY15 Finance Committee

The Finance Committee would like to remind treasurers and other individuals responsible for section finances of the finance resources available on SWE's website, under the “SWE Resources” link (be sure to log in). These resources are provided to help you be more effective in your role. The key document every SWE treasurer should have on hand is the Finance Manual. The manual was updated in July 2014 and can be found on the website by searching “Finance Manual 3.0a.”

Another document added to the resources page in 2014 is the Region/Section/MAL Generic Financial Assessment Committee Procedure. This procedure is a step by step process for completing an assessment of your section’s finances.

The finance committee also conducted several webinars in FY14 that are available on SWE's website. Members can access these webinars after logging into the website. These previously recorded webinars can be found under Learning> Continuing Education> Governance track. Available trainings include:

  • SWE Treasurer Training (10/2013)
  • SWE, Your EIN and the IRS Training (10/2013)
  • EOY (End of Year) Report Training (TBD)

Two additional webinars are being developed for FY15. The first will be a budgeting webinar covering the budgeting process and how to create an effective budget for your section. This webinar is scheduled for September 23, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. CST.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please email Finance Committee Chair Kellie Anton at

SWE is Listed as Part of the US Office of Personnel Management’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)

SWE is pleased to announce that we are now a part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). SWE is listed as part of the National/International independent agencies and our number is 73110.

The CFC is the world's largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign. Pledges made by federal, civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season (Sept. 1 - Dec. 15) support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world.

SWE develops women engineers at all stages of their personal and professional lives. SWE is a global, inclusive organization, promoting diversity and serving women engineers wherever they are. SWE advocates for the inclusion and success of all women, present and prospective, in engineering and technology.

Your tax-deductible contribution to SWE allows us to be a leader, a voice and an advocate for gender diversity in the engineering community. Thank you for contributing to our success as an organization, the future of engineering and the strengthening of our nation. Contact Jennifer Scott with any questions.

Call for Society Bylaws Amendments

Soon the Bylaws Committee will begin preparing motions about bylaws for the Senate’s in-person FY15 winter meeting (Jan. 31, 2015). The Bylaws Committee must have the motions at least 90 days prior to the Senate’s meeting and request submittals by Nov. 2, 2014. If you already know you would like to submit a motion, feel free to contact anyone on the Bylaws Committee ahead of this due date. The most important information we need from you is the exact intent of the motion so we can ensure it accomplishes what you intended. Please submit your proposed motions to and Please also be sure to use the appropriate form—which can be found in the SWE Resources section (formerly Governance docs) after logging in to—when submitting your proposed motions.

SWE Value Statement

Inclusive Environment: At SWE, we embrace diversity in its broadest interpretation and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all our members and stakeholders. We value the contributions of a diverse membership, which enables SWE to achieve its full potential.

In order to be an inclusive leader, one must keep five things in mind:

  1. Take risks: step outside of your comfort zone and try to meet new people from culturally diverse backgrounds.
  2. Be culturally aware: consciously pay attention to the culture around you.
  3. Actively listen.
  4. Separate members from stereotypes: not everyone will fit into the common mold.
  5. See cultural differences as assets: diversity of thought will bring better ideas.

Summary of the Latest Board of Directors Meeting

The summary this month is for the FY15 BOD 1 meeting that took place Aug. 15-16 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Governance Discussion
The BOD has an operational goal this year to review the options and develop a path forward for a structure that supports globalization and inclusion. We have decided to get help from an outside consultant who has experience helping organizations with these types of efforts. The effort will kick off in September and last twelve months.

HQ Update
Karen Horting spoke about international initiatives. These include:

  • New international affiliates and ambassadors, as well as an update on the international member website.
  • Three corporate roundtable discussions regarding Frankfurt, Germany; Pune, India; and Bangalore, India.
  • Overall international strategy, specifically the prioritization of SWE countries and FY15 initiatives.

Association Guide to Going Global Book
Globalization: Some concerns have been raised about the need for globalization. Current engineering trends reveal an increase in the number of women engineers around the world. SWE wants to be the go-to resource for women engineers wherever they may be, as stated in our strategic plan. Our current partners have been asking how they can support their women engineers outside of the U.S., while women from around the world have requested SWE begin building communities of support. These are just some of the reasons why we are going global. Doing so will benefit all of our members, keeping SWE relevant as we progress into the future.

SWE Values Discussion
During each meeting in FY15, the BOD will discuss the SWE Values. Here is a synopsis of our discussion at BOD 1:

SWE Values: Inclusive Environment

  • We embrace diversity in its broadest interpretation and commit to creating an inclusive environment for all our members and stakeholders. We value the contributions of a diverse membership, which enables SWE to achieve its full potential.

  • In order to be an inclusive leader, one must keep five things in mind:

    • Take risks (step outside of your comfort zone and try to meet new people from culturally diverse backgrounds).
    • Be culturally aware (consciously pay attention to the culture around you).
    • Actively listen.
    • Separate members from stereotypes (not everyone will fit into the common mold).
    • See cultural differences as assets (diversity of thought brings better solutions).

Awards Discussion
This discussion covered the strategy for new awards. The Strategic Awards Assessment Task Force in 2011 had previously identified some areas in need of improvement. A deeper dive in 2013 identified specific gaps in individual awards. As a result of this, a three-year plan was developed to introduce new awards. The first two, the Prism and Global Leadership awards, have been implemented and will be awarded at WE14. As part of SWE's 65th anniversary, the SWE Hall of Fame will launch in the 2015 spring issue of SWE Magazine. At WE15, SWE will introduce Mentoring and Engineering Advocate (SWE non member) awards. The specifications for the last two awards are currently being developed.

Strategy Plans
In preparation for the work on the FY16 strategic plan, the BOD reviewed the Strategic Performance Assessment (SPA) Matrix, plans for Annual Strategic Plan Review (ASPR) and the FY15 Scorecard. Colleen Layman led the discussion to ensure that these materials were ready for the SPA, which will be held just before WE14.

Next Steps with Curriculum Gaps
At BOD 4, Jessica Rannow presented the curriculum gaps the Curriculum Committee had identified. This discussion was a followup to those findings. Topics discussed included:

  • Adapting current professional excellence content to better fit specific member groups.
  • A method to submit potential webinar topics or speakers.
  • Improvements in how professional excellence offerings are advertised.
  • TEDx SWE presentations.
  • Virtual rapid fire presentations, possibly to be held at Region Conferences.
  • Utilizing the SWE Youtube channel.
  • Conference publications to accompany presentations or other ways to recognize presenters.
  • Conferences based on a certain topic, either virtually or in person.


The Outreach and Membership Committees have developed a policy to allow girls (ages 11-18) to affiliate with SWE.

  • SWEnext affiliation will be implemented in September/October
    • A link will be posted on the SWE website for girls to sign up to participate in SWEnext.
    • SWE will provide content for SWEnext (mailings, webinars and club tools).
  • SWEnext clubs: SWE has adopted a policy allowing SWEnext groups to form and affiliate with SWE.
    • No section or region support or endorsement is required for a club to exist and affiliate as long as they meet the minimum criteria.

Toolkits are being developed to provide support for the SWEnext clubs. The toolkits will be issued in FY15/FY16.

New WE14 Volunteer Opportunity

The International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES) is looking for volunteers for the 16th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES16) program at the Society of Women Engineers Annual Conference, Oct. 23-25. This is a great opportunity to learn about ICWES16 and INWES, as well as their great offerings and benefits.

All volunteers also receive a 50 percent credit for conference registration!

Volunteer duties generally take four hours or less and may be split up. Duties include hosting international attendees, working in the international lounge and helping with language translation. For details, please contact If you are interested in language translation, please indicate what language skills you have.

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