In envisioning an intervention strategy to re-engage female engineers who have left the workforce, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and iRelaunch created the STEM Re-entry Task Force. When the Task Force was launched in September 2015, Booz Allen Hamilton, Caterpillar, Cummins, General Motors, IBM, Intel Corporation, and Johnson Controls formally partnered with SWE and iRelaunch as Founding Members.
After a full program cycle with the Founding Members of the Task Force, SWE revisited the organizations to learn about the successes and challenges they faced during the first year. The full results of this feedback were compiled into a white paper, which was published in April 2017.
One key finding from the white paper is that, through participating in Task Force, Founding Members supported their company’s core values. We are pleased to share an excerpt from the white paper that highlights these core values:
Booz Allen Hamilton: Collective Ingenuity
Cheryl Wade, the head of diversity and inclusion at BAH, noted that the firm recently refreshed their core values and one in particular connected with the work on the Task Force, “Collective Ingenuity, as a value, is our ability to bring people together to harness the power of diversity to solve our client’s challenges. We not only bring people who have a very varied backgrounds and help them re-enter the workforce, we also benefit from the fresh perspectives they bring to our thinking.”
“Our participation supports all our five core values: Integrity, Commitment, Excellence, Teamwork, and Sustainability,” says Stacey M. DelVecchio, the additive manufacturing product manager at Caterpillar. She also emphasized the particular importance of Integrity in Caterpillar’s hiring process, as the company always seeks to select the best candidate for a position regardless of their identity. The Task Force also supported the three work streams of Pipeline, Culture, and Sponsorship, which are central to the Caterpillar Women in Leadership Initiative.
“We are a Hire-to-Develop company, meaning if you truly embody the values of Cummins and you bring new ways of thinking, then we can train you on the technical stuff. That is easy,” says Karen Ramsey-Idem, who is the director of global technical operations and resources at Cummins. Karen clarifies that: “You cannot train on true spirit. Being on the Task Force has helped us … we needed individuals who embody the heart and soul of Cummins and that’s what we found.”
General Motors: Talent First Philosophy
As Adela Perez Vinot, program manager for global talent acquisition, explains, “At General Motors we put talent first. If we find 55 exceptional candidates for 50 positions, we don’t say no to five, we make room for all candidates.” Kristen Siemen, the executive director at the Global Thermal/HVAC Engineering and Toluca Regional Engineering Center at GM, agrees with this and explained that if an excellent candidate cannot fit within the budget of one department, then General Motors works to place them in another department in order to retain top talent.
IBM: Innovation that Matters
“With one of our three core values being ‘Innovation that matters – for our company and for the world’, it’s critical to maximize the innovation from our workforce,” explains Jennifer Howland, the executive for the Pathways Program for Experienced Technical Women at IBM Corporate Headquarters, adding that: “Fostering a diverse workforce is a critical part of the equation because the best innovation – and the best business results – come when people from all different backgrounds collaborate. The re-entry internship program provides a way to help IBM add to our robust technically diverse pipeline, thus improving our innovation.”
Johnson Controls: Purpose Driven
“One of our new values is Purpose Driven, which is particularly aligned with the Task Force,” explains Cheryl Kern, the global director for diversity and inclusion, adding that, “We really do have the goal of making the world a better place for our customers and for our employees. We know for that to happen we need the brightest and best minds available. Therefore we have to use a targeted, purpose driven approach in our hiring of talent, with experienced female engineers being at the center of those enabling our future success.”