Behind the Scenes of WE Local

We decided to take a look back at all of the hard work done to make our WE Local Conferences such a success.
WE Local

Every summer, the WE Local Advisory Board (LAB) and WE Local Host Committee (LHC) Chairs along with SWE Headquarters WE Local staff come together for a one-day strategy meeting to discuss the next year’s goals. With three summer strategy meetings under our belt, the WE Local community wanted to share what goes on "behind the scenes” of WE Local.

Friday, August 5, 2016
FY17 LAB Strategy Meeting
Location: Columbus, OH

After two years of discussing the framework and model of WE Local conferences, WE Local formed its first official LAB team of 10 SWE members and a full-time SWE Headquarters dedicated staff member. This 11-person team would spend their first meeting discussing how to launch two full conferences in less than six months.

Within eight hours, LAB identified:

  • Subcommittees
  • Assigned a variety of conference tactics
  • Identified success factors
  • Created timelines
  • Set deadlines for a variety of milestones including abstract review, collegiate competition and special events

FY17-18 LAB Chair Ashley Pietz of Lockheed Martin recalls, “We didn't know what we didn't know, but we were enthusiastic and hopeful.”

And in six months, this dedicated team along with additional team members from SWE HQ and 22 LHC members hosted over 900 collegiate and professional attendees, 200 middle school students, and 60 organizations in the new two-day conference model in San Jose, California and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Friday, August 11, 2017
FY18 LAB Strategy Meeting
Location: Hartford, CT

A year has passed and WE Local has doubled in size. Not just in conferences but in the sheer number of volunteers who were supporting WE Local from LAB to one of five LHCs (+/- 75 members).

It was during this strategy meeting where Pietz and Vanessa Velasco, the SWE Headquarters staff member dedicated to WE Local, recall having an “eye opening experience.”

There was a lack of documentation and information being passed from LAB to LHC Chairs; therefore, one part of the meeting focused on processes and documentation improvement including identifying ways to make the LAB more efficient. The second part of the day focused on ways to keep WE Local conferences fresh and relevant.

It was at this meeting that the following reporting, guidelines and training materials came to WE Local:

  • Subcommittee “How-To” documents
  • Monthly quad chart reports
  • Lessons Learned online survey form
  • Feedback implementation
  • All in the Numbers reporting document
  • 101-401 training series

By the end of the fiscal year, WE Local not only successfully launched five conferences, but also developed a new set of training materials to onboard future LAB and LHC members including Subcommittee and Subcommittee Lead training.

To learn more about the FY18 WE Local conference season, view the WE Local Digital Yearbook (beginning on page 10) featuring highlights from each conference.

Friday, August 3, 2018
FY19 LAB Strategy Meeting
Location: Redondo Beach, CA

Entering its third year, WE Local finally had the opportunity to begin long-term strategizing for the WE Local program. With six new LAB members (a total of 12 members) and five new LHC Chairs – this strategy meeting was dedicated to identifying and establishing measurable goals.

FY19 LAB Chair, Katharine Gamble, and FY19 Chair-Elect, Nicole Woodman, both acknowledge that getting to know members (early) through face-to-face interaction was not only important but improved a sense of connectedness.

During this eight-hour strategy meeting, the WE Local team accomplished the following:

  1. Reviewing the FY18 WE Local season including discussing lessons learned and improvements for implementation for FY19
  2. Addressing potential areas for opportunity and improvement in a proactive matter prior to the start of the WE Local “tactical” season
  3. Identifying a FY19 WE Local Strategic Goal of “Communicating proactively about WE Local" including the “why” of various WE Local initiatives and aligning with the SWE’s Board of Directors' (BOD) strategic goal of professional excellence
  4. Training for all LAB members where everyone had a common understanding of WE Local – what we are trying to do and where we are going
  5. Receiving feedback and suggestions on WE Local training materials to provide new insights and improvements to documentation
  6. Initiating a “Buddy System” for LAB Members and “Chair Mentor” for LHC Chairs

And as we all agree, LAB to HQ, identifying a strategic plan for years to come.

We hope you enjoy the 2019 WE Local season! If you have any questions, contact  welocal@swe.org. Continue to follow WE Local on SWE’s Facebook event pages or this blog by searching “WE Local.”

FY17 WE Local Advisory Board Members

  • Kaitlyn Bunker*
  • Rebecca Ciez (WE Local Pittsburgh Host Committee Chair)

FY17-FY18 WE Local Advisory Board Members

  • Ashley Pietz* (FY17 and FY18 LAB Chair)
  • Ali Anderson (FY17 and FY18 Outreach Subcommittee Member)
  • Dianne Beever*
  • Diane Peters*

FY17-FY19 WE Local Advisory Board Members

  • Jenny Morikawa* (FY19 Awards and Program Subcommittee Member)
  • Wendy Obenauf* (FY19 Travel Grants Subcommittee Lead)
  • Elizabeth Hurley* (FY19 Social Subcommittee Member)
  • Nicole Woon* (FY19 Marketing Subcommittee Member) 

FY18-19 WE Local Advisory Board Members

  • Katharine Gamble (FY18 LAB Chair-Elect, FY19 LAB Chair and FY19 Program Subcommittee Lead)
  • Marta Wicke (FY17 WE Local San Jose Host Committee Chair, FY18 LAB Chair Advisor and FY19 Marketing Subcommittee Member and Chair Mentor)

FY19-FY20 WE Local Advisory Board Members

  • Nicole Woodman (FY18 WE Local Portland Host Committee Chair, FY19 LAB Chair-Elect)
  • Kristina George (FY18 WE Local Tulsa Host Committee Chair, FY19 Chair Advisor and Social Subcommittee Lead)
  • Kim O’Rourke (FY19 Awards Subcommittee Lead)
  • Yvonne Sims (FY19 Travel Grants Subcommittee Member)
  • Evette Stroble (FY19 Program Subcommittee Member)
  • Jennifer Winnikus (FY19 Collegiate Competition Subcommittee Lead)

*SWE member served on the WE Local task force.