The Monthly SWE Newsletter
March 2015
President's Letter

President's Letter

And just like that it's March. No matter how long winter may seem (and this year's winter certainly excelled at overstaying its welcome), the first taste of warm weather is thankfully all it takes to banish the bitter cold to a happily forgotten memory. It certainly seems appropriate we're finally seeing some signs of the changing seasons as we get set to relaunch All Together next month. With spring comes a sense of rebirth, and we're certainly planning to breathe some new life into All Together! Having seen a preview of the new website myself, I can definitely say I'm excited for what comes next.

With the relaunch just around the corner, I've been thinking about how All Together has affected me in the past. I've always enjoyed the personal stories, the anecdotes and advice from past presidents and collegiate directors especially, and it's always great to have the opportunity to hear about the achievements of current members. Those are the kind of stories that inspire me, and it's been great to be able to turn to All Together every month for content like that.

For me, one of the most exciting aspects of the new All Together is getting to hear more stories like that, more often. The new site will update more frequently, and it's our hope to get more members involved in telling their stories. Furthermore, we're expanding our editorial direction, expanding our news coverage to deliver articles about the topics that matter most to not only women in engineering, but women in the larger STEM world as well. SWE's presence online reaches a huge, diverse audience. The impact of reaching not only our members but potential members, potential engineers and our general community, and spreading the word about the great activities we are doing, is something to get excited about.

SWE is constantly working on ways to better service our members. The new All Together promises to become the news source we need to be the top resource for women engineers. I am proud of the SWE staff's proactive approach to keeping our information flow relevant and I can't wait for the reveal of the new site.

Until next month,


Elizabeth Bierman

 

 

 

 


Elizabeth Bierman 
FY15 SWE President 
president@swe.org

President's Letter

What a winter. If you live in the Midwest or out on the East Coast, by now I’m sure you’re thinking your warmest thoughts and trying to remember what spring feels like. As we wait out the winter I’ve been doing my best to stay positive, reaffirm my dedication to my professional development and keep up with my New Year’s resolution. And while keeping up with my New Year’s resolution is part of my personal journey, I’m glad I have SWE supporting me as I pursue my professional development.

One difficult choice I’ve been faced with again and again is determining what avenues for professional development will be relevant to my career. As an early career professional I was interested in making the switch from individual contributor to management, while a few years later I was interested in work/life integration because I was a new mom. Through each transition in my career I’ve had to make difficult decisions, but I always know I’ll find what I need with SWE.

One constant in my professional development—I always find myself drawn to the panels of women telling their stories. Of course there are considerations: I look at the speaker’s bio to see if their background mentions a new skill or perspective that resonates with me. I also keep a very open mind, even if a topic doesn’t seem to fit my career. I’ve learned some amazing lessons from some unexpected places, after all.

Of course it’s also important to focus on applying what you’ve learned outside of the classroom, so to speak. After each of my professional development courses, I refer back to talking points the speaker made to refresh my memory. I continue to talk with other members about how they applied the skills in their job, and, through mentoring others, I further apply skills I’ve learned.

All in all, February is a great time to reaffirm your own dedication to professional development. SWE is hosting a virtual conference as well as some compelling webinars. Even more exciting: it’s time to kick off region conference season! These fantastic events offer some excellent professional development courses and are a great opportunity to meet with old friends or expand your professional network.

And don’t forget that Engineers Week is this month. This is one of the year’s best opportunities to raise awareness of the positive impact that women in engineering have on your community. Check out the Engineers Week website to learn more about how you can get involved in this great project. Most importantly, be sure to celebrate Girl Day on Feb. 26 by hosting or joining an outreach event near you. Together, we can help young girls discover the energy and excitement of the world of engineering!

Elizabeth Bierman

 

 

 

 


Elizabeth Bierman 
FY15 SWE President 
president@swe.org

President's Letter

Dear SWE members,

Welcome to a brand new year! It’s the perfect opportunity to reset and recalibrate. I’ve been working on my goals for 2015, examining where I am professionally and personally, as well as what I can do to help bring our mission of providing a voice and a place for women in engineering to more women around the world. As we focus on increasing our global reach, our online offerings become even more vital. Think about it: every single SWE member, regardless of career stage or geographic location, can log onto a professional development webinar for free and enrich their professional lives. It’s amazing to think we could all be online advancing our careers from the comfort of our homes, wherever we may be.

While SWE has a diverse array of online offerings, I am a big fan of the webinars our organization offers. Even if I can’t make a webinar fit my schedule, it’s easy to shop through the Advance Learning Portal and watch them at my leisure or when a challenge arises at work. It’s great to have all those assets at my fingertips, which I find as valuable as a mid-career professional as I did when I joined SWE 20 years ago. If I need a little confidence boost at work, I’ll find the perfect webinar to provide me with talking points in a meeting or make me a better rounded employee. Some of my favorites include how to build my professional network or what emerging technology will shape our industry.

Additionally, this year will usher in even more online learning opportunities. Registration for the Online Professional Development Conference opens soon, offering two days of carefully selected webinars providing insights on working and exceling in a culturally diverse environment. The lineup for our second-annual event is top-notch, and I’m excited to take part again Feb. 12-13. Our first Virtual Career Fair kicks off the same day, and it is such an interesting concept that I plan to log on just to see how it works. On Feb. 12, employers and applicants will meet online from 1 to 4 p.m. EST to learn more about one another, conduct interviews and review job seekers. It’s such an exciting time to be online!

This year, let’s commit to ourselves. To enhancing our careers and our lives through networking and professional development. To taking time for us, from an hour-long webinar during your lunch hour to the time it takes to travel to a regional or annual conference. Let’s make 2015 the year of the woman engineer!

 

Elizabeth Bierman

Elizabeth Bierman
FY15 SWE President
president@swe.org

President's Letter

Dear SWE members,

I can't believe 2014 is almost in the books. Granted, it's going to be a long few weeks before New Year's Eve (with visits from Santa, making the holiday rounds to all the family gatherings and closing out the year at work), but it's amazing to look back at the past 12 months. It's amazaing to reflect on all that I've seen and done in the past few months, first as your president-elect and now as the leader of the of the world's premier organization for women engineers. Looking back at all the places SWE's mission of providing a voice and a place for women in engineering has taken me, I can't help but swell with pride. Our expansion outside the U.S. is accelerating at a rapid pace, taking us to Koc University in Turkey for a professional development conference and Tokyo for a corporate roundtable. We're currently planning our first European conference (to be held in May) in Amsterdam and see new affiliates joining the SWE international community as each month ticks by. Of course, all this growth was palpable at WE14, our international conference in Los Angeles. We smashed records in attendance categories across the board, welcoming more attendees, employees and potential engineers than ever before.


One of the reasons expanding our membership and mission puts pep into my step is that I know we’re all working together to show women and girls what a career in engineering looks like and what it can provide. When my girls participated in Invent it. Build it. at WE14, I was so happy to see them laughing and playing while being part of a powerful movement to empower girls to be that engineer. There are television shows about doctors and lawyers, but nothing like that exists to show girls what being an engineer looks like. Together, we can usher in the next generation of engineers simply by sharing what makes our profession awesome.

Now is the time to start looking ahead to 2015. Based on everything we’ve accomplished, I've set big goals for myself and the organization for the coming year. But we need you, and every single SWE member, to help make it happen. As our membership breaches 30,000, it’s more important than ever for each and every one of our sections to be strong representatives of SWE’s missions and ideals. I challenge each section to take an honest inventory of their strength and weaknesses. Use this State of Your Section assessment as a starting point for your next evolution. Decide where you excel, whether it’s outreach, networking or professional development, and where you need work. Then, start working on your goals in the same way I work on mine and encourage my girls to do, too: break it down into smaller tasks and goals. Don’t forget bribery—I give my girls and myself small rewards along the way as I achieve the smaller tasks so I stay motivated and focused on achieving that pie-in-the-sky goal.

I know there’s a lot on the horizon this time of year, but stay with me. The next year is full of promise and possibilities.

It’s going to be a great ride!

Elizabeth Bierman

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Bierman
FY15 SWE President
president@swe.org

President's Letter

Dear SWE members,

What an amazing month we’ve had! There were so many record-breaking milestones in the October that I barely know where to start. Thank you all 8,300 WE14 attendees who joined us in LA to make this conference our largest to date, as well as all our Facebook friends who helped us reach 30,000 likes this month. It was amazing to see so many women engineers, organizations and employers come together to celebrate the power of diversity in the workplace. One of my favorite moments at WE14 was watching my girls enjoying Invent it. Build it. alongside a record-breaking 600 girls from around LA. It’s such an inspiration to see young girls getting excited about engineering. I love seeing my daughters experience what I did at their age – the wonder of how we could change the world with engineering. I walked them around our career fair, which is the largest in the world for women engineers, and they had a great time gathering goodies and seeing Optimus Prime.

The best part of WE14, and of every conference I’ve been to during my 20 years as a SWE member, is the connections you make and rekindle. From collegiate to old friends to corporate partners, everyone is happy to be at conference and meet with you. It always makes me swell with pride to be part of this amazing community, which is on full display at WE14, but continues throughout the year. I love logging onto our Facebook page and seeing our community help one another, whether it’s a request for someone to help a Girl Scout troop or one of our members asking for advice. Just last week, a woman engineer reached out to SWE's Facebook page for advice about her employer, who replied to her concerns about workload with inquiries about her plans to start a family, then told her a pretty girl like her would go far with the company. I was so proud to see hundreds of people from around the world respond with advice, insights and support, and even more elated to learn how our support helped this woman leave the job and find another opportunity.

It’s up to us to continue to grow and transform this community. While we’re growing and transforming, the future of our organization lies with us. On Dec. 2, I’ll spread the word about the amazing work SWE does in support of #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to showing our thanks for the organizations that improve our lives.

Financial contributions will allow us to empower more women to Be That Engineer, but membership is how we increase our influence and profile. It should be every SWE member’s mission to bring two more members into the organization – one to replace you one day, and one to grow the organization. If every member did just that, imagine how strong of a voice SWE would be in championing diversity in the workplace.

The best way we can show how thankful we are for what we have is to share it, whether that’s a meal with family or an organization that improves the lives of women engineers.

Thank YOU, SWE members,

Elizabeth Bierman

Elizabeth Bierman
FY15 SWE President
president@swe.org

President's Letter

Dear SWE members,

Welcome to the most exciting time of the year at SWE! We’re all abuzz preparing for WE14, our Annual Conference that will bring together more than 7,000 women engineers from around the world to network, learn and get energized about engineering. We’re excited about delivering the best possible event to attendees, including the world’s largest career fair for women engineers and a platform for a Global Exchange for Change with the addition of ICWES16, the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists.

I remember my first SWE conference in 1998 distinctly—I was so excited and had no idea what to expect when I arrived. I was in my fourth year of college as an engineering student at Iowa State and so proud of what my section had accomplished. I was inspired by my fellow collegiate members from around the world and energized for what my future held.

It’s the same feeling I get so many years later, surrounded by women who are literally changing the world. From city planning to innovative approaches to medicine and environmental challenges, together we will shape our future. And that all is on display at WE14. More than 250 educational sessions coupled with endless networking with members and organizations means everyone walks away learning something new. Year after year, I keep coming back because the value of this event is unparalleled. Nowhere else can I get so much out of so few days.

Another aspect of the conference I look forward to all year is Invent it. Build it. on Oct. 25. With two girls of my own attending the expo, it warms my heart to see middle school girls experiencing the creativity of engineering first hand. There’s nothing quite like facilitating a light bulb moment in the minds of tomorrow’s engineers. And it’s amazing to see our community of volunteers come together to guide girls through the process of using engineering to solve fun challenges together. After all, it’s up to us to serve as role models and mentors as so many have done for us. I know without my dad, my career and life may have turned out differently. From the time I was in the fourth grade and declared I wanted to be an astronaut, my dad helped clear a path for me to pursue engineering. Without his constant support and guidance, who knows where I’d be today. Registration for Invent it. Build it. is open through Oct. 11 and in addition to registering the middle school girls in your life, there are options for parents and educators, as well as an expo open to the public. Let’s spread the word and fill every seat with aspiring engineers.

For all these reasons and more, I’d like to personally invite you to join me in Los Angeles Oct. 23-25. Take time for yourself and your career. Invest in you. While you get ready to travel, join @SWETalk on Twitter at noon CT every Friday in October leading up to the conference for tweetchats designed to get you ready to make the most of your time in Los Angeles.

See you at WE14!

 

Elizabeth Bierman

Elizabeth Bierman
FY15 SWE President
president@swe.org

President's Letter

Dear SWE members,

There are so many reasons why now is an exciting time to be a member of SWE, and I’m especially honored to be your president. SWE is moving in exciting directions as we leverage our strategic plan to focus on global expansion, advocacy and professional excellence.

I’m eager to help build upon our solid strategic plan and expand our organization to represent more women in more locations as they strive to be that engineer. As we expand our horizons with international affiliates, now more than ever, it’s important that we present a unified, cohesive brand that’s recognizable around the world.

In essence, we need to ensure our brand really represents us. A brand is so much more than a logo or a font. In fact, we all have a personal brand. It’s our reputation and what we’re known for. It’s what people think of when they hear our name or see our business card on a report. It represents how people feel about us based on their knowledge and experiences. When I think about how I would describe our organization personified, the brand we strive to exude is the same as my personal brand: empowered, confident and encouraging. Now more than ever, we must ensure that the SWE brand is one that encapsulates a global mindset, championing change while fostering teamwork and diversity.

Back at home, it’s important that our brand is modern and reflects the diversity of our 27,000 members worldwide. We need SWE to be easily recognized by the businesses, organizations and legislative partners we approach when acting as the voice of women in engineering. Our power is in harnessing a unified voice, which is reflected in our branding. It’s important that our brand stand out and represent us in the best possible light.

It’s time to look to the future while respecting our past. Now is the time to refresh and renew. Together, we’ll execute SWE’s strategic plan to provide a voice and a place for women in engineering in every corner of the globe. Join me on this wild ride!

 

Elizabeth Bierman Elizabeth Bierman
FY15 SWE President
president@swe.org

President's Letter

What a hectic time of the year! We will have celebrated my official installment as your president Thursday and the Society is busy preparing for WE14, our Annual Conference for professional and aspiring engineers. I’m also busy getting my daughters ready for back to school while our collegiate sections gear up for a fall semester packed with new faces and life lessons. It’s a chaotic and exciting time!

As I send my girls off to school to make friends and learn about so much more than the alphabet and why we celebrate Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think about the networks they’re already starting to forge. The little friends they tell secrets to today might be the women who are in their wedding one day—hopefully far, far into the future! I know the friends and contacts that I’ve made through SWE have been vital to me professionally and personally. In the 11 years I’ve been a member of my Minnesota Professional Section, I’ve moved from being an early-career engineer to a mid-career professional at Honeywell Aerospace, all while starting a family. The section has provided me insights, role models and support as I navigate through different points in my personal and professional life.

Since we’re still very early into this fiscal year, I’d like to suggest a New (SWE) Year’s resolution: get involved with your section and region with enthusiasm. We all need a safety net in our careers and our personal lives. You never know when you’ll need a sympathetic ear or additional insights. Today is the day to start making the connections you might need tomorrow. I know when I graduated from Iowa State I felt lost without SWE. A friend and I started the East Central Iowa section because we just didn’t feel right not having a section in our area to continue that network.

Furthermore, I encourage you to take your network to the next level. Join me in Los Angeles Oct. 23-25 for a Global Exchange for Change. More than 7,000 women engineers from around the world will converge to swap advice and business cards in an event that will show you just how exciting and multifaceted it is to be that engineer. It’s impossible to walk away without a heart bursting with enthusiasm for engineering and a mind full of new ideas. As I embark on my 20th year of membership and my 16th annual conference, I still learn new things every year. The keynote speakers are always notable and I look forward to reconnecting with friends from all over the world. There is also a lot of SWE business held to share best practices that will help sections succeed no matter what size or where they are located.

Here’s to a new year, a new start and a new opportunity to flourish. Let’s make this year count and start it off with style!

Elizabeth Bierman Elizabeth Bierman
FY15 SWE President
president@swe.org

President's Letter

Greetings!

Welcome to a new SWE year! I’m excited to kick off my year as your president and look forward to sharing my journey with you in this monthly column. Together, we’ll build a global exchange for change as SWE expands internationally. We’re bringing our message of giving women a place and a voice in engineering to new countries and cultures in our quest to connect with the best minds, regardless of gender or location.

It’s truly an honor to serve as your president. I’ve been a SWE member for 20 years and I look forward to applying my experiences with the organization in this new position. This role is the ultimate example of setting a goal and achieving it – I am a big believer in following your passion. I had an epiphany that SWE was my passion, and I pursued it with gusto. My goal is to ensure that women, regardless of their geographic location or career juncture, have the tools they need to thrive in engineering. SWE is what makes it happen.

I look forward to serving as the voice and face of the organization during such an exciting time in our history. Our strategic plan, which SWE leaders shared extensively via webinars and regional conference presentations, is laid out for us to build upon our successes from last year. It’s a roadmap for many more wins and achievements this year. Additionally, our efforts in globalization with the ambassador and affiliate programs will help SWE meet the needs of women all over the world for years to come.

Finally, I’m eager to get down to the business of educating the public on what we do and why it’s important. It’s my directive to share our mission of encouraging women to advance, achieve and aspire to a career in engineering with as many individuals as possible. I can’t do it alone, though, and I hope you’ll join me by inviting your colleagues to SWE meetings, sharing our professional development resources with your coworkers and coordinating outreach activities with your section and region. Leave a comment on this article and let me know all about your progress.

Until then, I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible throughout the year. Of course, I welcome your feedback, stories and ideas. Just e-mail me or find me on Twitter at @SWE_President.

Elizabeth Bierman Elizabeth Bierman
FY15 SWE President
president@swe.org

Video: Final Thoughts on FY14 from President Stacey DelVecchio

In the year I’ve spent as your president, I’ve visited amazing places and met with inspiring engineers. Together, we’ve achieved record-breaking attendance at WE13, increased our membership and received recognition for our successes from a number of organizations. I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the past year, as well as my hopes for the future. After such a strong 12 months of growth and renewal, I can’t wait to see what happens next with our organization and our leadership under FY15 President Elizabeth Bierman’s direction. Thank you again for all your support this year!

 

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