The Monthly SWE Newsletter
July 2014
President's Letter

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!

 

President's Letter

Welcome to spring!

It’s fantastic to finally enjoy some warmer days in central Illinois. After a long winter, it’s great to see resilience in motion as the great outdoors comes back to life. This is such an exciting month for me—in May we have so many opportunities to recognize important people in our lives. First, Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching. As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is my greatest cheerleader. She is the model of a woman of character and I have been fortunate to have her to look up to throughout my life. It’s great to have a day dedicated to recognizing her significant, persistent and positive influence on my life.

While Mother’s Day is a very personal holiday, we also have Founder’s Day right around the corner. On May 17 we celebrate 64 years of the Society of Women Engineers. That’s more than six decades of finding ways to help women be that engineer, providing a place and a voice for women in the industry. It’s my pleasure to contribute a chapter to our society’s long and prestigious history. However, my time as your SWE president is just one portion of the contribution of women to engineering. It’s up to us to ensure our perspective is not lost.

During the week surrounding Founder’s Day, we’re all taking to Wikipedia to make sure the influence of female engineers past and present are noted and recorded for the next generation. You’ll find instructions and ideas for making your edits count in this newsletter. If you have questions or want insights from your fellow members, take to Twitter on May 16 for our monthly #AskSWE tweetchat. We’ll be talking all about how to ensure your founders are being found, as well as how we’ll be celebrating Founder’s Day. I’m looking forward to connecting with you all online at noon CST and hearing about the influential women you’ve added to Wikipedia.

It’s so exciting to know that tomorrow’s history books are being written today, and that we can all contribute. Let me know in the comments what women engineers you’ll be editing in Wikipedia this month. I’m happy to see our organization’s co-founder Beatrice Hicks has a detailed Wikipedia entry, but she is just one of a portfolio of influential pioneers in our organization that need to be recognized by the public. Together, all 27,000 of us can make a difference this Founder’s Day.

 

Stacy DelvecchioStacey M. DelVecchio
FY14 SWE President
president@swe.org

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@swe.org

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@swe.org

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@swe.org

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@swe.org

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@swe.org

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@swe.org

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@swe.org

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