SWE President Looking Ahead to 2015

SWE President Elizabeth Bierman prepares for the end of the year.
SWE Leadership Summit Update

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
FY15 SWE President

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