Get to Know SWE Senate’s Leadership Pipeline Sub-Team

Learn about the role of the SWE Senate sub-team that focuses on SWE's Leadership Pipeline, and stay tuned in the coming weeks for more blogs in this Senate series, which will detail what the other FY20 Senate sub-teams are working on for SWE this year!
Get to Know SWE Senate’s Leadership Pipeline Sub-Team

“Get to Know SWE Senate’s Leadership Pipeline Sub-Team” was written by SWE Senator Cassandra Zook.


If you have been following the #SWESenate blogs, you have read about how the SWE Senate is the strategic arm of our Society and what the sub-team conducting the annual review of SWE’s strategic plan is working on. Now that you are getting to know the Senate, it is time to delve into the work of the sub-team focusing on SWE’s Leadership Pipeline.

I am proud to serve as the lead for the FY20 Senate’s Leadership Pipeline sub-team. Our sub-team consists of: two additional Senators, Denise Soria and Linda Thomas; two Directors, Andrea Clewley and Kerrie Greenfelder; a special Senator, Julie-Ellen Acosta; Senate leaders Cherie Cain and Alexis McKittrick; and our very own SWE President, Cindy Hoover.

The goal of the Senate Leadership Pipeline sub-team is to evaluate how we can increase and diversify the pool of current and future leaders that serve in SWE.

The sub-team identified three topics to examine in order to create short-term recommendations, capable of affecting the next cycle of nominations, and long-term recommendations, capable of changing all future nomination cycles. Those three topics are:

  • Candidate and Skills identification – This topic looks into how SWE identifies potential candidates with the right skillsets to encourage them to apply, as well as how potential applicants can evaluate their own skills in order to determine what positions they might be interested in.
  • Inclusion Promotion – This topic relates to making all SWE members feel welcome, valued, and supported in SWE, specifically once they are in leadership positions.
  • Communication – This topic investigates how our SWE members gain the knowledge they need to apply for a leadership position. Many factors go into communicating opportunities such as how SWE members find out what positions are available, what skills are needed for each position, how to apply for different positions, and so much more!

Now that you know what the SWE Senate Leadership Pipeline sub-team is working on, you might be asking how we are going about this work. Members of the sub-team were selected based on particular experience they possess, such as serving on the nominating committee or developing their company’s leadership pipeline. This is a great starting point, but as engineers, we always want more data! Sub-team members attended sessions at WE19 that provided relevant information to the topics developed and gathered member feedback through forums such as the Member Town Hall. Additionally, the Senate Leadership Pipeline sub-team is conducting feedback sessions with various SWE groups to help identify what the current state of SWE’s Leadership Pipeline is and what struggles members have when considering applying for a position in SWE leadership. By compiling and evaluating this data, the sub-team hopes to create short-term and long-term recommendations to achieve our goal of a strong, diverse candidate pool for SWE leadership positions.

About the author:

Cassandra Zook headshotCassie Zook is a SWE Senator serving the first of a three-year term in FY20. She has been a volunteer leader in SWE and other organizations for over 8 years. Cassie works for the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division in Pennsylvania supporting and innovating the steering and propulsion control systems on the Navy’s aircraft carriers.

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