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.
Stacey M. DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President