I’m delighted to welcome you to WE19 and Anaheim, California! With more than 15,000 attendees, this conference is the largest event for women in engineering in the world. There is something for everyone during three jam-packed days of learning, networking, and fun! This year’s theme — “WE Live. WE Learn. WE Lead.” — is a reflection of my life’s journey and how SWE has helped me.
Attending conference is a great way to experience the WE Live part of the conference theme. Don’t miss a little downtime at Disneyland before the conference begins or the Disneyland Resort technical tour during conference. A great place to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones, the ice cream social is a fantastic way to kick off WE19. I have made many friends through SWE, and it is always so much fun to reconnect with them at conference. It also would not be a SWE conference without a visit to the SWE boutique, and don’t miss the new photo booth in the social media lounge. Taking care of ourselves is important, and during conference you can join a morning yoga session or visit the wellness massage lounge.
As Albert Einstein said, “Once you stop learning, you start dying.” WE Learn is the second part of this year’s theme, and there are endless opportunities to learn during your three-day conference experience. From our amazing keynote speakers to hundreds of sessions in a variety of learning tracks, it will be difficult to narrow down your choices! To help you navigate your day, make sure you download the WE19 app, where you can create your own schedule, look up speaker bios, find your peers, take surveys, and find maps to events. Also, for those of you needing CEU credits, there are many sessions to choose from, and you can find those in the app by searching on “CEU.”
My engineering degree taught me how to continuously learn throughout my career, and the SWE conference is a great venue to add new skills to your toolbox. Many of the skills I’ve learned through SWE are in leadership, which brings me to the final piece of this year’s theme: WE Lead. I have attended a lot of SWE conferences, and I always leave inspired, energized, and ready to apply what I have learned so that I can be a better leader. Networking is such a critical part of the leadership journey, and what better place to find a network of professionals who can help you succeed. Whether you are looking for a mentor, a technical expert, a friend, or just someone to listen, the SWE network is the absolute best! If you want to hone your leadership skills or find a way to step into a leadership role, conference can be a great place to do that. In addition to special sessions for academic leadership for women in engineering and the collegiate leadership institute, there is a SWE Leadership Summit for those of you interested in enhancing your leadership development through SWE leadership roles. There is also a strategic leadership track with many sessions focused on enhancing your leadership journey.
Another highlight at WE19 is the career fair, where more than 300 exhibitors are looking for college interns, new hires, and experienced professionals. Many companies interview and make offers on the spot. I have had the pleasure of representing my company, Spirit AeroSystems, at the career fair for many years. In addition to working the booth, I have interviewed and offered many collegiate students the opportunity to work at our company. Seeing their excitement upon receiving an offer has been quite rewarding for me.
The Friday evening awards banquet and “Celebrate SWE!” are two additional events you don’t want to miss. It is truly inspiring to see all of the award recipients being recognized for their achievements, as well as the professional and collegiate section awards. These events are excellent opportunities to network with some truly remarkable women and men award recipients and to celebrate the end of a great week. There is a lot going on at conference, but I hope I will have the chance to meet as many of you as possible. Keep an eye on the app to see when I will be stopping by the photo booth as WE Live, WE Learn, and WE Lead in Anaheim at WE19!
FY20 SWE President
This article was written by Cindy Hoover, FY20 SWE President. It appears in the 2019 Conference issue of SWE Magazine.