SWE Senior Member Engagement Task Force Wraps Up

The Senior Member Engagement Task Force was established a year ago to provide recommendations on how the Society can better engage long-time SWE members and ensure their perspectives are included in Society activities.
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I am happy to report that the task force has finalized its objective, and recommendations were delivered to the board of directors at BOD 2 in Minneapolis.  Recommendations were developed based on data gathered at WE17, from personal interviews and survey results.  For the purposes of the survey, senior members were identified as those members aged 40 years and above.  Currently, SWE has approximately 2300 members who have graduation dates and valid e-mail addresses in their member records that place them in this age range (be sure your member record contains this information so you receive targeted communications intended for this group).

There were common themes that emerged from the data, which helped focus the task force recommendations.  First and foremost, it is clear this group of SWE members have limited time and would like targeted communications and an ability for their voices to be heard without a large time commitment.  The group also felt there was a gap in programming for this age demographic, including retirement planning, seasoned leader programs and more technical pathways.  The survey showed a deep commitment to giving back and wanting to connect at the local level. And, there was a very real concern about the lack of appreciation and acknowledgement given to long standing members of the organization.

In order to address the targeted communications and the programming issues, SWE HQ sent an e-mail to the same distribution list that was used for the survey.  The e-mail was sent a few weeks prior to the Annual Conference to ensure that our more seasoned SWE members knew that a Pathfinders Lounge and Fellows Technical Series had been added to conference and addressed many of the programming concerns.  These targeted e-mails will be sent multiple times each year in order to communicate items pertinent to our more senior membership. Look for another e-mail in early 2019.

Another recommendation of the task force is to create an affinity group for senior members.  This group would have a pulse on the needs, recommendations, and concerns of these members.  It would also be a pathway for communication to the board, via the Director of Diversity and Inclusion, with a low time commitment. Charlotte Wagner, a member of the task force, is collecting responses to gauge interest in forming the group and what the group would like to accomplish.  If you have interest in joining the affinity group or have other input, please contact Charlotte at charcw@aol.com.  This would be an excellent group to share best practices for connecting and giving back to SWE at the local level.

To address the concern about appreciation of our long standing members, the task force recommended that a column be added to the Winter Magazine each year.  In this column, members reaching 20 years of service in SWE will be recognized, in addition to those members reaching each additional 5 year milestone.  The board and HQ also agreed to look into the possibility of creating a service pin for years of service, similar to what you might see at a company.

As the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) continues to adapt its programs and services to stay relevant in the market and to reach the widest variety of member demographics, it is important to keep in mind that there is not a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to keeping members engaged.  The Senior Member Engagement Task Force was created in order to find specific solutions to engage with our most seasoned members. Thank you for your hard work in completing your objectives!

Cindy Hoover
FY20 SWE President

Task Force Members
Renée Eddy - Chair
Bernice Brody - Member
Charlotte Wagner - Member
Kathleen Buse - Member
Sue Parsons - LCC Representative
Larissa Schelkin -  Membership Committee Representative
Fran Stuart - Senate Representative
Karen Horting - Headquarters Representative
Cindy Hoover - Board of Directors, President-Elect