Section and Member Support: The Future of SWE

This article is the first in a series to discuss the governance changes that have been underway by the Society of Women Engineers.
Section and Member Support: The Future of SWE

By Karen Roth, SWE Director of Professional Excellence

Much like individuals, institutions and organizations undergo changes, growth, and at times, carefully phased-in transitions. Here is a look at the Society’s latest developments.

Section and Member Support: The Future of SWE

Recently, the Society has undergone a number of structural governance changes to streamline our offerings and better serve our members both locally and internationally. In my role as director of professional excellence, it was my job to ensure that the training material and professional development offerings to our members could transition and grow with those changes. We’ve also taken the opportunity to find ways to provide better access to materials and add resources for our coaches to help members at every level. While some of these changes are still in progress, we felt it appropriate to provide an update on section and member support and let everyone know what they can look forward to.

  • Faculty advisors and counselors
    For collegiate sections, faculty advisors and counselors will still be one of the primary resources for that direct SWE connection. Any questions on how SWE functions, your place in the organization, and additional opportunities at different levels within SWE should start here. We’re studying how to better train the faculty advisors and counselors on available opportunities and connections to Society committees, and where to find additional resources.
  • Headquarters
    Our headquarters staff has been and will continue to be a strong supporter and advocate for all SWE members. Calling our Chicago-based staff during normal business hours or emailing will put you in touch with someone who can find the right resources to help your section. As a result of the governance transition, headquarters will also be taking on extra responsibility for reporting and sending updates to membership that your region governance team would have done in the past. It’s crucial that you keep your contact information up to date in the membership database so they’re able to reach you. Log in at to make these updates.
  • Online tools and resources
    The SWE website is going through an update that will enable much more control over our online resources and how they’re presented to the membership. With this new rollout, we’ll also be able to offer consolidated resources that are currently found in various locations. Please keep a watch for the rollout as well as on your email for additional information on these resources.
  • Leadership coaching committee
    The LCC has historically been a resource available to all SWE members in the U.S. although support varied depending on your former region. Their focus always has been and will continue to be the vitality of SWE groups throughout the Society. We have taken the opportunity to streamline how the LCC functions, add additional coaches and expertise, and expand their ability to consult with sections. Every section within the U.S. has a coach assigned directly to it. This information is available via your region governor (in FY18), in your section information on the SWE website, or from direct contact with the coach. Your coach is responsible for working with your section to find the right resources, whether you’re looking to grow your section or resolve issues. While module training is still available, this is not the only tool in the coaches’ arsenal. If you need to have a conversation on best practices or would like to find a subject matter expert on a certain topic, they’re also available to help you with that. Think of them as your SWE allies to help make your organization better.

In addition, traditional professional development offerings are available via the Advance Learning Center (advancelearning.

We’re working with some of our international members to identify the best training methodology and what level of support will be needed. Please continue to look for more information on this topic and feel free to ask for updates.

Professional Excellence is one of SWE’s three strategic objectives for the Society. This includes career development for women engineers at all stages of life, as well as support of our members to grow their sections and organizations. Because we recognize that a single support structure doesn’t fit all models, we’ve implemented this multipronged approach to ensure all members receive the support they need.

This article is the first in a series to discuss the governance changes that have been underway in the Society. For more information, please visit, send an email to, or stay tuned for future articles in this series.

About Karen Roth

Karen Roth is lead associate and cybersecurity expert for Booz Allen Hamilton in Rome, New York. She earned a B.S. in software engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology, a master’s in systems engineering from Cornell University, and an Executive MBA from Indiana University. A SWE member since 2001, Roth currently serves the Society as director of professional excellence. Among her other roles are collegiate and professional leadership coach, members-at-large president, and deputy speaker of the senate.

Leave a Reply

Notify of