The Monthly SWE Newsletter
April 2014
President's Letter

President's Letter

I’m sure you’re all experiencing a very busy month. My friends with kids are rushing around and recovering from spring break, while our collegiates are working towards the end of the year with finals and internships on the horizon. I’ve also been traveling around the country to represent SWE and visit region conferences, a responsibility I delight in partaking. One of the greatest things I get to see on a regular basis is the amazing work our members and sections are doing to encourage girls to consider engineering as a career.

Growing up, I never heard the word “engineering.” I tinkered, I played, I built and I dreamed. This is what outreach is all about – showing women and girls what engineering actually is. So often, we hear that our profession is challenging and hard work and lonely, but worth it. What we need to be telling kids is engineering is collaborative, creative and the means by which we shape our world. From roads to stores to roller coaster and lip gloss, an engineer brought it to life. I’m sad when I hear that even in this day and age, girls are discouraged from pursuing math, science, technology and engineering careers because of the perceptions of the adults around them. While I never had the pleasure of attending an outreach event as a child, I was also surrounded by adults who encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

After all, when it boils down to it, earning an engineering degree is getting an advanced education in dreaming. In every facet of our profession, engineers are shaping cities and the future with our ideas and innovation. This month, we’re focused on ways to help bring that concept to life to young people. At noon CT April 18, I’m looking forward to joining all my Twitter friends to talk about our favorite outreach tools during this month’s #AskSWE tweetchat. I’m looking forward to learning new tips and tricks about how to share engineering with the next generation. I’m also happy to hear about the Voices from the Field webinar series, which allows anyone with advice on an outreach topic to share it with attendees. I love this format because it’s what SWE is all about – engineers helping each other to succeed.

I think our outreach poster says it the best: "Be Silly. Be Outrageous.  Be Strong.  Be Amazing.  Just be you." Let’s show our girls that engineers are whoever and whatever they want to be. You don’t sacrifice your social or creative virtues to succeed. Instead, we accentuate those aspects and bring them to life with engineering. Let me know in the comments section how you’re encouraging the next generation to be that engineer, or tweet me at @SWE_President using #BeThatEngineer.


Stacy DelvecchioStacey M. DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

Welcome to a month all about women! March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates the significant contributions we and our foremothers make to society. This year’s theme is Women of Character, Courage and Commitment. What a fun theme! I can think of so many women who fit this description, both within my personal and professional circles.

My first role model for a woman of character is my mother. I am fortunate that I was raised by a strong woman who showed me what it was to remain committed in the face of adversity. For more than a decade after my father passed away, she continued the legacy of our family business and was never afraid to learn something new. Instead of being daunted by the day to day, she met each challenge with curiosity, taking up digital photography, social media and photo editing in a time where most enthusiasts are at least 20 years her junior. Her tenacity was the framework through which I viewed the world, empowering me to see possibilities where others saw closed doors. She’s my most fervent SWE supporter and cheerleader, which has propelled me to achieve.

Professionally, Betty Shanahan has inspired me for years. After more than 11 years leading SWE, this month she’ll be opening a new chapter and leaving SWE in very competent hands. She was the first woman I met who could articulate the work environment for women engineers in an inclusive, approachable manner. She courageously pushed the envelope of SWE’s mission day after day, and her commitment to advancing women in engineering is an inspiration to us all.

My friends are also a wealth of women with character– Amy, who never shies away from a difficult task, even with an overwhelming schedule; Jada, who taught me the importance of having margins in your life, much like how a book has to have margins to appreciate the content; and Teresa, who’s always brimming with ideas while not letting all the little frustrations in life hold her back.

I’m so happy to celebrate Women’s History Month with SWE as your president this year. I know my career and position as your president wouldn’t be possible without the courageous actions of women who walked my path 10, 50 or 100 years ago. Join SWE on Facebook and Twitter for a month of discussions and topics about how we’re shaping the world for the better. At noon on March 21, speakers from the first Online Career Development Conference will join us for the #AskSWE tweetchat to celebrate Women’s History Month. I know I’m looking forward to gleaning professional advice from their seminars March 13-14 and can’t wait to tweet with these leaders directly.

This month, take a moment to thank the women in your life who inspired you. Let me know in the comments section who in your life embodies this year’s theme of Women of Character, Courage and Commitment. Remember to pay it forward, too. You never know whom you might be inspiring by embodying these virtuous attributes.

Stacy DelvecchioStacey M. DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

Welcome to February! For most of America, this month is all about love. If you’ve ever met me or follow me on Facebook, you know I love a lot of things. Scrapbooking, my cats, my family, goofy photos and fun times with friends are just a few. Another thing I love: Engineers Week! From Feb. 16-22, we’ll celebrate all the reasons we love being engineers during DiscoverE Engineers Week. I know my life wouldn’t be the same without engineering. I love going to work every day to a creative, collaborative job where I’m working to solve problems. In honor of eWeek, let me know in the comments section here why you love being an engineer. Also, visit SWE’ Facebook page to help us celebrate engineers under the banner of this year’s theme, Let’s Make a Difference. While you’re there, make sure to like our page—20,000 others have! I just love celebrating our ever-expanding network of connections.

Another way we’ll spread the love this month is during a special #AskSWE tweetchat at noon Feb. 21. DiscoverE will join our conversation as we share how we marked eWeek and swap ideas about how to get more girls interested in pursuing engineering as a profession. Join us to share insights and learn from your fellow SWE members during this virtual coffee date.

And if you want to make connections online, be sure to join me for my upcoming State of SWE Webinar. At 7 p.m. CT Feb. 24, it is my pleasure to present our progress towards SWE’s strategic goals that we introduced in August. I’ll be covering our successes in professional excellence, globalization and advocacy and address the question: just how record breaking will FY14 be? I love sharing good news, so I hope you’ll join me online to hear about all the amazing things we’re doing to provide a place and a voice for women in engineering.

Finally, I encourage you to mark your calendar for the first Online Career Development Conference March 13-14. Titled Take Charge of Your Career, this unprecedented gathering of minds is an event you don’t want to miss. Designed for women five to eight years into their careers, this festival of online learning will give you the tools you need to excel at your career and prepare for the next step in your professional development. Stay tuned for more information about how to register for this ground-breaking event. Love it!

From the bottom of my heart, I hope you have a fantastic month. See you online!

Stacy DelvecchioStacey M. DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

Dear SWE members,

Welcome to 2014! I love the beginning of the year because it’s an open book that we get to fill. We choose our stories, the characters and the plot of the book, then set out to grab it with gusto. It’s the same reason I love scrapbooking with my friends and mom. It gives me an opportunity to capture all those goals I’m working on or have achieved.

Goals are vital to what we do as engineers and women — it’s important to know where we’re going so we can celebrate when we achieve it. I also feel that when we set goals we’re adding deadlines to our dreams. If you need help with your resolutions, I encourage you to participate in the #AskSWE tweetchat at noon CST Jan. 17. @SWETalk will lead a discussion about goal setting where you can learn from your fellow members and share your secrets. I’m hoping to pick up some good tips myself.

For 2014, I’m setting several personal and professional goals to ensure I’m successful and healthy in the coming months. First, I want all my clothes to continue to fit at the end of the year, so I will be working out three to four times per week and tracking what I eat. Regular exercise also keeps me focused at work and gives me time to think creatively. Because networking is important to career development and I want to stay connected to my friends and family, I’m also resolving to make time for Christmas cards next season. You heard it here first. Hold me accountable.

Professionally, I’m excited to continue building on the successes SWE experienced in 2013 to ensure a smooth transition when FY15 President Elizabeth Bierman takes the helm in July. I want us to continue to share the benefits of our organization with engineers by increasing our membership and attendance in the many professional development opportunities our organization offers. If I had to pick one stretch goal for the year, I would love for the SWE president, whether that’s me or Elizabeth, to meet the president of the United States. It could happen!

What are your goals for 2014? Tell me in the comment section how you’re going to make history this year. Dream big, network bigger and achieve amazing feats in 2014!

Stacy DelvecchioStacey M. DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

Dear SWE members,

Happy holidays! I can’t believe the end of the year is almost upon us. It seems like just yesterday we were in Baltimore soaking in the networking and educational opportunities at WE13. And now, we’re putting up the holiday lights and making plans for who’s hosting what. I love all the memories we build this time of year. My family is big on Christmas — I gave Santa my wish list well into my 30s, long after my dad had to don the red suit because we found out my sister’s friend played the role of Santa at the mall.

The festive feel of this month and all the opportunities to celebrate with friends and family give me the opportunity to reflect upon how fortunate I am. Indeed, we all have so much to be thankful for this time of year. First and foremost, I’m thankful for my health and my family. I have a wonderful husband who supports me in my career and my work with SWE, and he even cleans the litter box. My mother is also my biggest fan. It’s such a boost to see her actively interested in SWE and the work we do to promote women in engineering. I am also grateful to not only have a job I love, but an employer who allows me to serve as your president. It’s a position that I’m not only thankful for but humbled by, as I travel and meet some of our 26,000 members around the world. Representing you in this capacity has been an amazing experience that’s changed my perspective and my life.

I encourage you to take a few moments this holiday to savor the season. Revel in what you love most about this time of year and reflect on all you’ve accomplished in 2013. Leave me a comment here and let me know what milestones you’ve reached, and be sure to thank someone in your life that helped you get there. Consider supporting SWE this season too, so we can put more women into positions they'll be grateful for throughout their engineering careers. 

Here’s wishing you a safe, festive and bright holiday season, and a happy new year.

Stacy DelvecchioStacey M. DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

Welcome back from WE13! I don’t know about you, but the time we spent in Baltimore simultaneously left me physically exhausted, but mentally refreshed and refocused. For years, our Annual Conference has served as a way for me to reconnect with colleagues as well as the reasons why engineering is the right choice for me. This year was no exception; we certainly came together to Make Connections. Make History.

I am so proud to report record-setting attendance numbers across the board. More than 7,000 attendees joined us this year, creating a sell-out crowd for the Opening Breakfast and Keynote, the Awards Banquet, Celebrate SWE! and Invent it. Build it.

For me, the inspiration began before the conference was underway as I met with attendees prior to the new iScream Social, which was a killer evening for all. I ran into two ladies from my company who I hadn’t met before and thanked me for advocating on their behalf to get them to WE13. As I wrote about in my October President's Letter, my attendance at my first national conference was tenuous. It’s important to remember that when we step through a door we opened, we’re making way for others just like us. Their simple words meant the world to me, because it made me realize that for every milestone I achieve, there are more women out there just like me working towards the same goal.

I gained even more insights from opening keynote Cristina Amorim, who offered her three tips for gaining visibility: grab the spotlight, talk in the right currency and get in the trash. It showed me how often I don’t trade in the right currency – as engineers, we gravitate towards facts and figures, charts and graphs. But what are they really saying? Her presentation spoke to me so that the next time the spotlight is available, I will be ready.

Finally, the Awards Banquet has always been a huge dose of motivation and uplifting energy for me. This year, Pam Dingman’s acceptance speech for the SWE Entrepreneur Award resonated with me. She spoke about how she discovered a blog dedicated to eroding her success, and later found a post penned by her 14-year-old son titled, “What You Should Know About my Mom.” She explained that none of her colleagues came to her defense, and I was choked up about the thought of her kids being her only allies. It reminded me that we need to be brave. Be bold. And be that engineer. Our colleagues, both young and mature, are counting on us.

I encourage you to share the insights you gained at WE13 with your coworkers and friends, and post the greatest piece of advice you took home in the comments section here. The lessons learned in Baltimore transcend the engineering profession. As women, we need to work together, champion each other’s causes and find our way to the spotlight. You never know who you might be inspiring.

Stacy DelvecchioStacey DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

The seasons are changing in Peoria and I love it – the air is crisp, nearby Morton just wrapped up its annual Pumpkin Festival and my favorite event of the year is just around the corner – SWE’s Annual Conference. For years, these three days have recharged my batteries, professionally and personally, and renewed my enthusiasm for engineering.

My first conference in 1996 was a game changer for my outlook on my career. I went with six other women from my section and Caterpillar expecting to tick off another engagement on my jam-packed travel itinerary.

One of my main concerns in attending was taking time away from my work. My manager, Ernie, approved the time off even though it was a tough sell. I talked to other SWE members to find out how to show my manager how my attendance would benefit my career and Caterpillar to earn the required sign off.

When I arrived at WE, I was so glad I went. The days were packed with educational opportunities that made me think about my job in a whole new light, and every evening featured a networking opportunity that put me in touch with inspirational, amazing women who I am honored to now count as my close friends. I walked away from that first conference knowing that my job matters and that there are other women out there that I could rely upon for advice and guidance because they've been there, too.

I recently saw Ernie at my installation ceremony as SWE’s president. He told me that all those years ago, he signed off on my attendance at WE with his own reservations. I was the first in my division to ask about attending WE, so it took a vote of confidence from Ernie to move the initiative forward. I am truly thankful for all the Ernies I’ve encountered in my life – the connections who have taken a chance on me and SWE to help move our organization and our cause forward.

These connections are one of the many facets of WE that make it an unparalleled experience. This year’s theme, Make Connections. Make History. highlights how the time you spend in Baltimore is just a step towards a rich and rewarding career. It’s hard for me to convince people to attend WE13 because you have to experience it to know what you’re missing. Each one of our 26,000 global members can find a reason to attend this amazing collaboration of organizations and influencers in Baltimore, Oct. 24-26. This is the place to launch your engineering career or chart a path to the next milestone in your journey. Register now and discover the best of what we have to offer as you Make Connections. Make History. in a high-energy environment with more than 6,500 enthusiastic engineers just like you.

Please say hello and tell me your story at WE13, or tweet me at @SWE_President using the hashtag #WE13. I’m looking forward to seeing your creative costumes at the iScream Social and spending some quality time with all my SWE connections at the new Spark Center.

The countdown is on – see you in Baltimore!

Stacy DelvecchioStacey DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

I just love our theme for this year - Make Connections. Make History. It fits with everything I want to do. To illustrate this point, let’s start with the easiest quiz ever.

SWE Question #1: What’s the easiest way to Make Connections?
SWE Answer #1: Attend WE13, the annual conference for women engineers and technologists.

SWE Question #2: What’s the easiest way to Make History?
SWE Answer #2: Attend WE13, the annual conference for women engineers and technologists.

SWE Question #3: What should you do now?
SWE Answer #3: Sign up for WE13, the annual conference for women engineers and technologists at

If you weren’t able to answer the questions on my quiz, or if you’re asking, “What’s WE13?” that’s OK. This is the perfect time for you to learn about WE13, the Society of Women Engineers Annual Conference.

Other than the obvious benefits of Make Connections. Make History. there are certainly more specific advantages to attending WE13.  Remember last month when I said I was ready for my first tweetchat? Well, I can think of no better topic than this one: what are the benefits of attending WE13? Want to hear more? Then join me at noon CST Sept. 20. Join @SWETalk and me, @SWE_President, on Twitter using #AskSWE to jump in on the conversation.

But let’s get back to WE13 benefits right now. WE13 is about so much more than just professional development. One of the things I love about the SWE conference is that we continue to keep things fresh and offer something a little different and new every year. It keeps us all coming back. This year I’m thrilled to have not one, but two keynote speakers - one at the beginning and one at the end of the conference. And while I’ve enjoyed the Lava Lounge each and every year we’ve had it, I’m excited to see the all-new Spark Center. The new lounge will focus on you and how SWE empowers and supports you at every stage of your professional development. I can’t wait to see it and check out the winning entries from the Make Connections. Make History. Video Contest. We’re also putting a little twist on the iScream Social to complement those sweet treats we all enjoy. Get your costume ready now for our first Halloween-themed Ice Cream Social, kicking off a haunting evening that’s sure to be a scream … or iScream.

But no need to worry, all of my favorites, and hopefully yours, will still be there - the learning opportunities of more than 200 sessions, numerous tours, the inspiration of the awards banquets and the connections of more than 6,000 women engineers. The wonderful app that debuted last year is back and better than ever. I’ve already downloaded it to help me get (and stay) organized. And none of us can forget the huge benefit of all past, present and future SWE conferences - the benefit of making connections. Of course I’d personally like to make SWE history and have more than 7,000 women engineers at WE13. We can do it - together.

So ... will you join me in Baltimore as we Make Connections. Make History?

Stacy DelvecchioStacey DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

Blogs, vlogs, Tweets, Facebook posts, newsletter columns, radio interviews, telephone interviews, webinars, speeches, panels ... my goodness. I’m just one month into my presidency and I’m amazed at all the ways the SWE president has to communicate. Had you asked me five years ago about the types of communication channels the SWE president would need to use, I never would have thought there were so many. While some of these communication channels are completely new to me (e.g., I didn’t even know what a vlog was just a few months ago), some are ones I've used for years and genuinely enjoy.

As engineers, communication is usually not our strong suit. But communication is incredibly important because we’ll never be able to sell our ideas or convince others of the quality of our innovations without effective communication skills. I know I’m always working on my communication skills, now more than ever.  About nine months ago, my local SWE section—the Central Illinois Section—presented me with a challenge to write a blog about who I was meeting with and what I was learning about during my time as SWE President-Elect. I groaned, as writing a blog did not sound like a lot of fun. Truth be told, writing is not my favorite past time. But I accepted the challenge and I’m glad I did. I stretched myself personally and found that writing the blog was not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. I’m happy to say that I learned something along the way and maybe even improved my own communication skills.

We frequently talk about SWE being a safe environment to learn. It might be easy to think that we’re only talking about people who are new to their careers, learning how to lead a project or motivate people. But here I am, a seasoned veteran, not only of my profession but of SWE as well, and my local section is still a safe environment for me to learn and stretch myself. The experiential learning I’ve gained in SWE has certainly evolved throughout the years, but it’s refreshing to know that SWE has been there for me to learn as I’ve moved into new roles.

So if you've made it to the bottom of my president’s letter here, I’ll consider this particular piece of communication a success. I’d love to have you take advantage of the two-way communication we have in All Together and consider writing something in the "leave a comment" section below, even if it is just to say "read your letter."

And now—to challenge myself a little more—I think I’m ready for a tweetchat. To be honest, I just like the sound of a tweetchat!

Stacy DelvecchioStacey DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

President's Letter

Welcome to FY14! I am Stacey DelVecchio and I am excited to be your FY14 SWE President. I am ready to lead the Society along with our new and returning leaders as well as our 25,000 members. I extend my sincere thanks to FY13 President Alyse Stofer, Executive Director and CEO Betty Shanahan, the FY13 Board of Directors and SWE leadership for a record setting FY13, which included record setting membership, record setting attendance at WE12 and a new record number of corporate partners.

Wow. What a year to follow.

But FY14 is going to be a great year as well, as we take the first steps in implementing both our new long-range strategy and our FY14 theme: Make Connections. Make History. Even though we’ll be implementing a new strategy, I plan to continue the foundational work of those who have gone before me. Of course it certainly would be great to break even more records in FY14, and make history.

As a SWE member of 19 years, and a Caterpillar employee of 24 years, I have to admit that making connections is just a part of how I operate. I love that my SWE connections link me to places all around the world in just about every industry I can imagine. When I couple that with my Caterpillar connections, which link me to just about every part of my company, I feel like one very connected engineer. But what does this have to do with SWE and our new strategy?

First, we have members. Close to 24,000 members. Second, while this is exciting in itself, the really exciting part is that our members have connections beyond those in SWE. We can utilize those connections to take SWE to the next level and continue to move our mission forward. We can not make progress by ourselves. We need those connections. And this is where our new long-range strategy, which we’ve simplified into three strategic goals, comes into play.

  • Strategic Goal #1: Professional Excellence
    SWE will develop women engineers at all stages of their personal and professional lives.
  • Strategic Goal #2: Globalization
    SWE will be recognized as a global, inclusive organization, promoting diversity and inclusion and serving women engineers wherever they are located.

  • Strategic Goal #3: Advocacy
    SWE will advocate for the inclusion and success of women, present and prospective, in engineering and technology.

All three strategic goals will work together to keep us relevant and progressive in the coming years. If you’d like to hear more about the strategy, read Jan Williams’ FY14 Strategic Planning Committee Chair article in this issue of All Together. I will also be hosting a webinar on the strategy later in the month for those of you that want to hear more.

And if our FY14 theme is really "Make Connections. Make History," then let us work together implementing this amazing strategy to make some good, sustainable SWE history.

Stacy DelvecchioStacey DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President

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