I became a Coordinator of Global Programs and the Executive Office at the Society of Women Engineers on October 1, 2018. After having interned with the Society for about a year and a half, I was offered the opportunity to come on board full-time. This time last year, I attended WE17, SWE’s Annual Conference in Austin, TX. Just as you’d think, I ran around the convention center and assisted as well as I could. This year was different. I was given the opportunity to oversee the SWE Global Programs booth in the Spark Center at WE18 in Minneapolis. It was my first chance to talk with members and understand why SWE means so much to them.
During WE18, I was able to experience first-hand how SWE affects women from all walks of life. I heard the stories of ladies from countries around the world including India, China, Nigeria, and Turkey. I spent a lot of time with Anthea, an agricultural engineer from Nigeria who has been a member of SWE since 2008. She and several other international members assisted in volunteering for SWE’s global booth. Over the course of three days, she and I got to talking. Anthea told me that she pays her own way to the United States to attend the SWE Annual Conference. I told her how inspiring and admirable her dedication for the Society is. She explained that she is grateful to SWE because without it she would not be where she is professionally and personally today.
Another global booth volunteer and SWE Ambassador, Tutku, inspired me the moment I met her. She is young, beautiful, smart and truly dedicated to the SWE mission. Multiple times she came to work at the booth without even being scheduled to volunteer. She genuinely enjoyed being there, sharing her story and spreading the values of SWE Global Programs.
It warmed my heart to see their appreciation for the organization. Anthea’s words and Tuktu’s example really helped to solidify why I work for the Society of Women Engineers. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in getting the job done, that we forget to stop and remember all of the women engineers around the world that SWE is helping. When those small reminders come along, we recall why SWE was started in the first place.