By Nicole Woon, Program Manager at Microsoft. She is an active SWE life member and currently serves on the SWE Magazine editorial board and WE Local advisory board.
Start 2019 off right by attending a WE Local conference!
The WE Local season starts Friday, February 8, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, followed by four conferences in Tampa, Florida (February 15-16), St. Louis, Missouri (March 1-2), Denver, Colorado (March 15-16) and Bellevue, Washington (April 5-6). With 30+ organizations and 40+ talented speakers at each conference, you'll have five different opportunities to connect with local organizations and attendees.
And guess what? No one goes hungry at WE Local!
Food is included with a WE Local Premier Registration, so be prepared to dig into five hearty meals throughout the two-day conference. You can also attend the WE Achieve Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening. This celebratory occasion includes a sit-down plated dinner, a keynote speaker and an awards presentation recognizing the accomplishments of your fellow women engineers. Being in a different city also gives you a chance to explore the local favorites during your downtime: think crab cakes in Baltimore, Cuban sandwiches in Tampa, toasted ravioli in St. Louis, green chile in Denver and coffee in Seattle.
WE Local is also an opportunity for you to nurture your brain.
Learn from keynote presentations, 50+ breakout sessions, and two signature plenary panels at each conference to enhance your professional and personal growth. Thanks to the smaller and more intimate experience compared to SWE's Annual Conference, WE Local serves as an excellent forum to exchange ideas, mentor each other, and gain inspiration with both professionals and collegiates alike. Get ready to feast on delicious eats and useful knowledge!
Why are you attending WE Local this year?
I'm attending WE Local Bellevue this year because the conference is a great opportunity to step back and focus on my professional development. After conferences like this, I always feel energized and ready to apply new learnings at work.
What do you like most about being involved in WE Local?
Having been part of the WE Local Advisory Board and the WE Local Bellevue Local Host Committee, as well as previous region conference committees, it's incredibly rewarding to see your planning efforts come to fruition. The organization sponsors you secured, the workshops you helped select, the time you spent volunteering - it's all worth it when you see the smiles on attendees' faces during the conference. Volunteering in any capacity, be it a couple hours or a year-long commitment, goes a long way and is appreciated immensely by both organizers and attendees. You can learn more about WE Local volunteer opportunities at welocal.swe.org.
What are your top tips for preparing for WE Local as an attendee?
If you're attending the career fair, learn how to dress for success by checking out my previous SWE webinar in preparation for Annual Conference, "What Not to Wear."
If you're attending keynotes and sessions, bring your favorite note-taking tool. You'll hear lots of great tidbits from a variety of speakers that will be helpful to jot down. You also might want to take pictures of slides to remember URLs, statistics, or charts depending on the presentations.
If you're attending the awards banquet, bring a dressy outfit! Many people will switch out of their daytime clothes into something that matches the celebratory occasion.