I took home many thought-provoking lessons from WE14, but it was the conference theme, A Global Exchange for Change, that left a lasting impact on not only myself, but on the Society as a whole. After all, SWE has experienced some truly tremendous growth these past few years, and an important part of that growth has been our international expansion. From our work with ICWES to our expanding number of international affiliates, it’s clear SWE is successfully gaining a foothold in the global engineering community.
This month, SWE took another important step onto the international stage with WE Europe. The conference took place May 6-8 in Amsterdam, Netherlands, bringing together women from all over the world to network and collaborate on the issues (both personal and professional) affecting them in the global workspace. It was not only an excellent learning experience, but an incredible opportunity for women who are normally divided by national borders to come together to unite beneath the banner of something we all share: our identity as women engineers.
WE Europe was also a great litmus test for how far we’ve come in providing content to women engineers outside the U.S. and building our brand so they know we are the go-to resource for them. Moving forward, it will be important for us to continue to build our brand in key strategic countries and work with our corporate partners to deliver products and services to women engineers no matter where they are. With that strong foundation supporting our international growth, we’ll soon see the Society expanding our network into a global community of support.
Building this community of support will benefit women engineers worldwide, encouraging and supporting their professional development, providing leadership training and making women engineers a dominant force in the global marketplace. As the Society grows, we’ll see more women from a variety of diverse backgrounds join us, helping to expand our understanding of how different cultures perceive women in engineering and supporting our mission to promote equality in our field.
It’s an amazing feeling to watch our Society continue to grow and reach women around the world-it’s clear to see how SWE has become a globally inclusive organization focused on issues of interest to women specializing in engineering and technical careers. But while we’ve come a long way, there’s still plenty of work on the road ahead of us. So let’s keep that Global Exchange for Change going. Whether it’s by reaching out to international peers you may have met at WE14 or taking the time to introduce yourself to someone new, strengthening our connections and opening up our professional networks will be integral to SWE’s continuing success and international growth.
FY15 SWE President