The Monthly SWE Newsletter
March 2015
SWE News

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 finance-chair@swe.org.

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 bylaws-chair@swe.org and secretary@swe.org. 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 SWE.org—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.

SWEnext

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 icwes16volunteer@swe.org. If you are interested in language translation, please indicate what language skills you have.

Change in the Workplace: Updating Outdated Maternity Leave Policies

Last month, SWE members gathered on Facebook to discuss the challenge of attempting to change longstanding maternity leave policies in their workplace. Allyson F. asked: "Has anyone out there had any success in trying to change your company's maternity leave policy? What worked for you and what problems did you run into?"

"Best of luck. I have no experience in changing company policy regarding maternity leave. Here in my state (CA, USA) the state benefits that we pay into were surprisingly good and my company also provided some additional support for only part of the maternity leave.

"Another big consideration is how your company supports women after they return from maternity leave. I just read the SWE Work & Life Integration Playbook and thought it had some great info." - Susie M.

"Since I started the company, I could establish the leave policy. We set eight paid weeks off, not to be used in conjunction with disability, but I made sure to extend work-from-home options for several weeks after either option expires." - Heather U.

"I tried in a company [similar in size to Allyson's company] and failed. The most traction I got was when I asked other SWE members in the area about their policies and showed that data to my employer." - Janice M.

Be sure to follow SWE on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and join us for our next thought-provoking discussion. For more information on the SWE Work & Life Integration Playbook, head to SWE.org/e-book-download.

New PR Toolkit Makes Promoting Section or Region Events a Breeze

SWE is continually working to develop tools you can use to improve your section and region events. Our latest effort is the Public Relations Toolkit, a collection of resources designed to help you effectively promote your upcoming events.

Promoting your event is a great way to improve attendance, but reaching out to the media can be tricky. We developed the resources in this toolkit to help you plan promotional campaigns with ease and to help you confidently navigate the public relations landscape. Included in the toolkit are tutorials that will help you utilize social media to announce your upcoming events, brochures you can hand out to prospective members, research and statistics regarding women in engineering you can use in your promotional material and press release templates you can use to create professional looking announcements for your events.

Check out the toolkit online at SWE’s website and be sure to keep up with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, where you can discuss your upcoming events with fellow members and share your favorite tips and tricks for promoting, organizing and running your section or region events.

Renew Your SWE Membership

At the end of July, SWE was servicing 30,813 members. 16,903 are active members for FY15 already. Membership coincides with SWE’s fiscal year, July 1 – June 30, so if you are one of the more than 13,000 members needing to renew, just renew here.

It’s not too early to spread the word about renewing. Region F already has a retention rate of 56%, which is greater than SWE’s overall retention rate, with half of their region experiencing retention rates greater than 50%. SWE North Country Section (F005) leads all sections and MALs with a 95% retention rate. SWE Mid-Hudson Section (F007) is in second place with a retention rate of 86%. Region F Governor, Jennifer Lynch, and Stephanie Lum, SWE North Country Section President, indicate the Employer Sponsored Membership (ESM) program has had a significant impact on their membership. Stephanie further shared the stellar past leadership with great vision helped. “One of the best strategic moves for us was to open up some of our events to non-member female engineers. We have many great technical artisan tour opportunities in the Burlington, VT area, so opening up our events allowed us to establish the SWE brand in the area ... because of the leg work we did to establish ourselves in the community, many ladies jumped on the opportunity” to join SWE” when the ESM was offered to them. Now these sections can focus on programs and activities to benefit the members.

The reasons for renewing your SWE membership are as individual as each member. Benefits come in many forms:  from the initial bonding created with other SWE members enrolled in the same engineering program as you, to the expanding network created by exploring engineering opportunities near and far. You may find empowerment by creating your own professional development road map using the webinars and podcasts in SWE’s Advanced Learning Center, attending WE14, or reading SWE Magazine or SWE’s newly launched eBook, “Work & Life Integration Playbook” for both professional and personal growth. Many are content just knowing they support the organization and its objectives through their membership, while others gain satisfaction in seeing the look on the face of a 12-year old girl who successfully completed a science project and experienced the thrill of applied engineering and creativity for the first time. The reasons are varied but the goal is the same: to stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.

If you have not renewed your SWE membership, login and renew now! 

If you are a leader, here are some things you can do to improve renewals”

  1. Make sure you have renewed.

  2. As Chair or Chair-elect of a committee ensure all your committee members have renewed.

  3. Use the reports on the Leadership Portal to identify members who have not yet renewed – call them or write them to encourage their renewal.

  4. Make it easy for them to renew.  Send an e-mail renewal reminder and include the renewal link.

Visit the Membership Toolkit on the SWE website for other retention ideas and tools or contact SWE’s membership department for assistance.

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