I’ve had the opportunity in the past few months to speak to a number of different groups about my SWE career, and it has caused me to reflect on what SWE has meant to me throughout my life and how much I’ve learned and grown as a result of my involvement.
Having moved across the country quite a bit, I’ve been a member of several different SWE sections, including some of the smallest sections and some of the largest. Regardless of the size, the SWE members in my new location were always welcoming and immediately helped me feel grounded. There were some years I was incredibly active, and other years when I was less active due to family or work demands.
Regardless of what my role was at a given time, my SWE involvement has provided so many opportunities to participate, give back, and grow, both personally and professionally. SWE has truly helped me “break boundaries,” and I am certain I wouldn’t be where I am in my career today if it had not been for the skills, networks, and recognition I’ve gained through SWE. And I’m sure this sentiment rings true for many of you reading this.
WE Locals take it up a notch
WE Locals are a big part of that overall SWE experience, and they’re right around the corner. What a fantastic opportunity to meet and network. Over the years, I’ve participated in dozens of conferences, large and small, all around the country and even around the world. This year there will be a total of seven WE Locals, with five of them in the United States. With so many locations, you can choose to attend the closest event, or take advantage of travel you may already have planned to attend one outside your local geographic area, or even travel somewhere new and exciting (Pune, anyone?!) to meet SWEsters from around the country and the world. Whether this is your first WE Local or your fifth, you’re sure to find something to excite and energize.
This year we’ll also be recognizing outstanding individuals, groups, and SWE members with WE Local Awards. Individual awards will recognize professional and collegiate members who have had a significant impact, and group awards will recognize things such as noteworthy outreach and professional development events. These awards are some of my favorite parts of SWE, hearing about all the wonderful things being done and meeting the impressive people doing them. This recognition not only energizes the recipients to continue doing great things, but it also gives others ideas on how they can have an impact. It’s also an important chance to highlight to the world the incredible accomplishments of women engineers.
I encourage each of you to reflect on what SWE has meant to you so far, and consider how opportunities within SWE can help you grow, both personally and professionally, and break boundaries in your own ways.
I look forward to seeing many of you in person at WE Locals or elsewhere, or on social media in the coming months, and would love to hear how SWE has impacted you. Wishing you all the best in 2019.
Penny Wirsing, F.SWE
FY19 SWE President