As I mark the halfway point of my SWE presidency and the start of a new calendar year, it is a good time to reflect on the power of SWE and how it has been a constant part of my life journey for more than 30 years. While SWE has certainly provided me with friendships, networking opportunities, and access to training and development, I want to share my experience in leadership.
During the years, I have held many leadership roles in SWE. From my very first role as treasurer of the Wichita State Collegiate Section to president of the Society, I have used my SWE roles as a way to broaden and strengthen my capabilities as a leader and apply those to my career. SWE is a safe space where you can learn the communication, negotiation, delegation, management, and financial skills that are required of any leader. Additional skills I acquired along my journey were presentation skills and talking in front of groups both small and large. I remember my first keynote address at the Region i conference in Tulsa and being a nervous wreck before going onstage.
At WE19, however, I had an epiphany. From my vantage point during the keynote kick-off meeting, I was able to watch others come up to the stage and give their remarks. Though not detectable to the audience, with my bird’s eye view I noticed some shaking hands and nerves. I thought to myself, “That used to be me, but I’m not nervous!” As I stood in front of the thousands of attendees at this keynote event, participated in fireside chats, and hosted the awards banquets and other meetings, I realized, this is what SWE has done for me! I hope that you will also be able to take advantage of SWE to learn invaluable leadership skills.
We Local — An Opportunity to Live, Learn, and Lead with SWE
WE Local conferences are a fantastic way to participate in the SWE experience. The local conferences are smaller and more intimate than annual conference. If you are presenting or receiving a WE Local award, you can select the event that works best for your schedule and location. Or, you may want to go somewhere new to experience a different culture. I was blessed to be able to attend the WE Local events in both Germany and India in 2019. It was fun to see the excitement in the faces of the first-time attendees in India. And, I can’t wait to wear the gorgeous Mysore silk sari that I purchased for when I return in 2020 (and get more delicious chai tea)! Germany was another excellent WE Local with a different vibe and mostly professional attendees. There were excellent professional development opportunities and networking with amazing women. I look forward to seeing London in the spring.
The WE Local conference model with local speakers and site-unique activities is a must-do in the spring. If you are looking at career options, the career fair at each location will include both annual conference sponsors, seeking local talent, and new companies who are eager to meet you and discuss positions available in the area.
A sincere thanks to the WE Local advisory board and the local host committees for their efforts in making your WE Local experience unforgettable. I am looking forward to attending several of the upcoming WE Locals to see old friends and make new ones as we Live, Learn, and Lead with SWE.
Cindy Hoover, F.SWE
FY20 SWE President
“My SWE Leadership Epiphany” was written by Cindy Hoover, F.SWE, FY20 SWE President. This article appears in the Winter 2020 issue of SWE Magazine.