Call for New SWE Affinity Groups

SWE Affinity Groups are communities of individuals who share the same interests and goals.  These groups help build community, provide professional development opportunities and empower and celebrate women from different paths of life.  SWE has eight Affinity Groups: Latinos, African-American, Native American, LGBTQ, Small Businesses, Entrepreneurs, Women in Government and Global Engineers.

The Diversity and Inclusion Affinity Groups align with protected classes under a US Federal anti-discrimination law.  This Affinity Group focuses on the needs of social minority populations and develops programs tailored to serve this community.  The Business Interests Affinity Groups are grassroots communities focused on social and networking opportunities around common interests. The focus of these Affinity Groups is loosely centered around the members’ business environment and experiences.

The Affinity Groups are organized as follows:

  • Diversity and Inclusion: Latinos, African-American, Native American, LGBQT & Allies
  • Business Interests: Women in Government, Entrepreneurs, Small Business and Global Engineers

In FY19, an Affinity Group protocol was created for evaluating the Affinity Groups and creating new Affinity Groups.  The protocol includes the activities and deliverables for evaluating the Affinity Groups status and starting new Affinity Groups.  Annually each Affinity Group will be evaluated to determine if the SWE membership is interested in continuing the Affinity Group.  Areas being evaluated are: if there is another area/group/committee within SWE that this group is better suited to be aligned with, if the Affinity Group continues to promote the SWE Core Values, if there is a champion/leadership/sponsorship to continue the group’s activities, if the group has goals to accomplish, and if there is enough critical interest from the SWE membership to continue sustaining this Affinity Group.

In FY19, the Affinity Groups would like to expand and create one new Diversity and Inclusion Affinity Group and one new Business Interest Affinity Group.  Suggestions for new Affinity Groups can be submitted on the application form which can be obtained by sending a request to ag-coordinator@swe.org.  Requested information for proposing a new Affinity Group includes a description of the group’s membership, potential number of interested SWE members to join the Affinity Group and identification of a minimum of 10 SWE members interested in participating in the new Affinity Group, and reason for requesting the Affinity Group.  In addition, it is recommended that the type of Affinity Group be identified i.e. Diversity and Inclusion Affinity Group or Business Interest Affinity Group, how the Affinity Group promotes the SWE Core Values, and a proposal for lead(s)/champion(s)/sponsor(s) for the first year. Applications can be submitted to the Affinity Group Co-Leads, Claudia Galvan and Michele O’Shaughnessy, at ag-coordinator@swe.org.  The call for applications is open until 3/6/19 at 5:00 pm CST.

The Affinity Group applications will be reviewed using a judging rubric by the Affinity Group Co-Leads and a SWE Board of Directors representative.  The intent is that the new Affinity Groups will be approved by the SWE Board of Directors in March/April with the new Affinity Groups being created no later than May 2019.  The protocol for creating new Affinity Groups will be evaluated annually and updated based on best practices and lessons learned.  Any questions regarding the Affinity Groups or creation of new Affinity Groups can be directed to ag-coordinator@swe.org.