Around the World in 10 Days…
…advancing SWE’s strategic goal #2: SWE will be recognized as a global, inclusive organization, promoting diversity and inclusion and serving women engineers wherever they are. To advance this goal, members of the SWE HQ team spent the first two weeks of December meeting with SWE members, partners and stakeholders in India and China during a series of corporate roundtables and one-on-one meetings. China and India are critical and strategic markets for SWE, respectively. We have strong support from our corporate partners and growing interest from women in engineering in these regions.
Bangalore, Pune and Chennai
The December 2016 corporate roundtables in India were held in Bangalore (hosted by GE), Pune (hosted by Cummins) and Chennai (hosted by Dow Chemical). These sold-out events provided attendees, many who are senior executives within their organizations, with data on women in engineering in India along with best practices for increasing gender diversity in the engineering profession. It also provided an opportunity for members, stakeholders and SWE Ambassadors to network and connect with likeminded individuals in their local area. And the HQ team had a chance to further promote the SWE brand — our programs and services, and gather further market intelligence on the needs of women engineers and their employers in India. The conversations were lively and informative. Thank you to our partners and members for helping us to have such a successful trip! Interest in the March 2017 conference in Pune was high and several new sponsors have already signed on. One of the trip’s highlights came during a one-on-one meeting with the HR Head for India at a major multinational corporation. When I shared that a goal of our trip was to further introduce the SWE brand, he smiled and said “We know who you are and we want to work with you.” In just a few short years we are already having a positive impact in the market.
Then it was off to our newest SWE frontier…China. The first stop was a sold-out corporate roundtable in Shanghai (hosted by Emerson). The morning was spent with an introduction to SWE, a best practices session from Emerson on their global women’s network and then several hours of small group discussions on the challenges of recruiting, retaining and advancing women in engineering in China and the Asia-Pac region. A resounding “when is the next event?” was the feedback we were hoping for from attendees. During 2017 we plan to host a few more roundtables and perhaps a one-day professional development event for women engineers and engineering leaders.
The trip concluded with several days of meetings in Beijing with potential partners and stakeholders including the US Embassy, AmCham China and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Like in Shanghai the feedback was very positive. Overall, good first steps in learning about the market and understanding the needs in China of women in engineering and their employers.
I returned home after ten days exhausted but excited that SWE’s mission is resonating with women outside the US and that we are beginning to have a positive impact globally.