For Valentine’s Day, SWE members are recognizing their husbands and other loved ones for all of the support they give to help women engineers succeed. If you have a supportive significant other, please tell us all about it using the hashtag #VDay2017 and tag us @SWEtalk.
By Jessica Rannow
“When are you going to be SWE President?” It didn’t take my now-husband Jens very long when we started dating to see how important SWE is to me. Now fast forward to about six years later when I found out I was going to be the FY17 President. Jens was just as excited to find out that he was going to be the “First Dude” as I was to have this opportunity! He has been my biggest cheerleader attending every one of my speaking engagements he can – his favorite being the etiquette dinners since they involve a nice dinner.
We have a mutual love of travel and new experiences. SWE has taken us around the globe. From seeing me receive the Distinguished New Engineer award at the Annual Conference in 2009 in Long Beach to attending last year’s WE Europe conference in Madrid, Spain and everywhere in between, Jens has been there to support me. He reminds me to go to bed early enough at events, makes sure we have snacks and wine in our room for those important late night “meetings," and helps me lug around my heavy suitcases. He has become my SWE squad’s official photographer and never says no to “just one more photo. The Board of Directors always enjoy seeing via Instagram how he is exploring the event city visiting breweries and sites around town while we are in meetings. Since we don’t often get to see much of the city, we live vicariously through him.
Outside of SWE, Jens has encouraged me to take risks I would not have otherwise. He was there to boost my confidence as I’ve taken on new challenges. He’s stuck with me as we very, very slowly hiked up Kilimanjaro last year, and four years ago muscled around a dog sled in Ely, MN when we went winter camping. Jens always has a positive attitude. When the situation is stressful, he is able to sit back, assess the situation, and work to solve it. He has taught me that there is no situation that cannot be resolved.
When I’m away alone for SWE and/or work, Jens holds down the fort at home. He’s managed numerous items from car repairs to our recent remodel. We are not only married, we are a team and best friends, and I couldn’t do this without his strong support. Just as SWE is my constant, Jens is too. You will continue to see us partaking on many future adventures, including attending WE Local Pune next month!