The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Leadership is the backbone of our diverse, thriving organization. Our dedicated leaders come from a variety of backgrounds, technological disciplines and industries to share their expertise and guidance, and most importantly, their passion to uphold the Society’s mission. Please help us in welcoming our FY21 Board of Directors and Board of Trustees!
FY21 Board of Directors
Heather Doty | President | She/Her/Hers
Heather Doty is a project engineer at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colorado. She works in the manufacturing and test operations organization on new business ventures, people integration, career development, staffing, and hiring. In her previous role as engineering integration manager, Doty supported strategic initiatives and coordination across the organization. Prior to that, she spent more than 15 years in structural engineering at the company, performing finite element analysis and supporting environmental testing for a variety of space hardware programs, from the optical system on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to focal plane arrays for weather and earth-imaging payloads.
A senior life member of SWE, Doty joined the Society as a student at the University of Colorado Boulder. She served as FY18-19 Society treasurer and FY16 director of regions. She brings a long history of SWE experience at multiple levels of the organization, having served in nearly every officer position at the section and region levels. She has been recognized with the Region i “Inspirational” Distinguished Service Award, and as an Outstanding SWE Counselor and SWE Distinguished New Engineer.
A Colorado native with a thirst for knowledge, Doty holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in civil engineering, a B.A. in music, and an MBA, all from the University of Colorado Boulder. She enjoys traveling, playing flute and Zimbabwean-style marimba, creating culinary and brewing experiments in the kitchen, and playing board games with her family.
Rachel Morford | President Elect | She/Her/Hers
Rachel Morford is a principal director at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, where she manages a team responsible for the integration of multiple space and ground programs. In previous roles, Morford led the Aerospace team supporting the production, launch, and on-orbit testing of three high-value communication satellites; provided technical leadership and supported strategic development of international agreements between the U.S. Air Force and other nations; and spent several years as a systems engineer working on national security launches.
Morford has led the Aerospace women’s committee, served on the Aerospace diversity action committee, and is an enthusiastic member of multiple Aerospace employee resource groups. She has been recognized with the Aerospace Woman of the Year award and the Aerospace Commitment to Our People Diversity and Inclusion award.
A senior life member of SWE, Morford joined the Society as a student at the University of Southern California. She has held several leadership roles in SWE at all levels, including chair of the collegiate leadership coaching committee, region governor, Los Angeles Section president, and director of advocacy. Morford is a recipient of the SWE Distinguished New Engineer and the WE Local ELiTE awards.
She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California and a certificate in technical management from the University of California, Los Angeles. An active alumna, Morford serves on the USC Alumni Association Board of Governors and the Viterbi School of Engineering Emerging Leaders Board. She enjoys traveling, running, and refinishing furniture.
Sandy Pettit | Secretary | She/Her/Hers
Sandra Pettit, Ph.D., P.E., F.SWE, is the associate chair for undergraduate studies in the department of chemical and biomedical engineering at the University of South Florida (USF). The school is designated as a Preeminent State Research University, with more than 50,000 students.
Prior to joining academia, Dr. Pettit worked in industry for more than 15 years. Her diverse experience covers plant operations, engineering design, and construction with companies including Procter & Gamble, Jacobs Engineering, and TECO Energy. Her professional accomplishments have resulted in numerous accolades, including the 2001 SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award and named the 2006 Florida Urban Engineer of the Year. In 2018, she was recognized by the USF College of Engineering with a Distinguished Alumni Award.
A SWE member since 1991, Dr. Pettit has served in numerous leadership roles at all levels of the Society. She was the founding president of the Tampa Bay Area Section, a senator, governance task force member, and a WE Local host. Currently, she serves as faculty advisor for the USF student section.
Dr. Pettit received her Ph.D. (2014), master’s degree (2010), and bachelor’s degree (1994) in chemical engineering from USF. While pursuing her doctoral research, she was a Signature Research Fellow in the Heterogeneous Catalysis and Materials Chemistry Group. In addition to her technical achievements, Dr. Pettit has been recognized for pedagogical skills and community service. She received the USF Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching and the USF Golden Bull Award, one of USF’s highest honors bestowed upon individuals who exemplify exceptional leadership and service to the university and surrounding community.
Lindsey Roberts McKenzie | Treasurer | She/Her/Hers
Lindsey Roberts McKenzie, P.E., is a senior water resources engineer and project manager at Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH). She holds a B.S. in civil engineering from North Dakota State University, and an M.E. in engineering management from the University of Colorado Boulder. She is a licensed professional engineer in four states.
McKenzie has 15 years of experience designing and managing large-scale civil engineering projects, including flood risk reduction systems, environmental restoration projects, mining facility improvements, and regional water quality and surface water management studies throughout the United States. She is also a business development lead responsible for supporting SEH’s further expansion into the U.S. federal market by managing long-term contracts and strategic small-business partnerships.
She has been an engaged member of SWE since 2001. As a professional member, McKenzie has served in leadership roles at the section, region, and Society levels, with an emphasis on roles that support the management and growth of the financial resources of the Society. This journey began with her service as the Minnesota Section treasurer and continues with her most recent role as chair of the Society finance committee. McKenzie has also served as treasurer and vice president for the Society of American Military Engineers Minneapolis-St. Paul Post, and currently serves on the leadership board of the SEH Women in STEM employee resource group and the Women Who Inspire committee at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota.
McKenzie resides in Minneapolis with her husband, their two young sons, and two dogs.
Barbara Brockett | Director | She/Her/Hers
Barbara Brockett retired from Honeywell Aerospace in 2017. She was the vice president of engineering operations, responsible for all global engineering tools and support functions.
Previously, Brockett was vice president of engineering test, leading the development and delivery of test solutions and flight operations for all Honeywell Aerospace products. She was the vice president of electronics systems engineering, overseeing project management and systems engineering for Honeywell’s commercial and military avionics systems. Her 34-year career as an engineer and leader spanned a broad range of aerospace customers, programs, and products.
Brockett joined SWE in 2005, striving to expand the success of women engineers. She served on the Corporate Partnership Council and launched the Honeywell Engineering Diversity and Inclusion Council, with the charter of improving the hiring, development, and advancement of women and minority engineers. Under her sponsorship, a successful SWE conference recruiting program was implemented and expanded to the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Programs to provide employees with sponsorship and professional development were established. Brockett sponsored the launch of the Women in Honeywell Engineering Network and the Aero Women’s Council. These and other programs had a measurable and lasting impact. Brockett received the 2015 SWE Suzanne Jenniches Upward Mobility Award in recognition of her career accomplishments.
She graduated from The University of New Mexico in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. She received the 2018 UNM Outstanding Engineering Alumni Award.
Brockett and her husband live in Phoenix. She has three children and seven grandchildren, who are at the top of her hobby list.
Kerrie Greenfelder | Director | She/Her/Hers
Kerrie Greenfelder, P.E., is the municipal water department engineering manager for Burns & McDonnell in Kansas City, Missouri. She has a B.S. in chemical engineering with an environmental emphasis from The University of Kansas. She is a licensed professional engineer in six states and is a certified design-build professional.
Over the past 22 years, Greenfelder has been involved in the design and management of both small and large water/wastewater treatment processing projects for a variety of municipal, public, industrial, federal, and design-build clients. Throughout her career in the water industry, she has demonstrated that she loves what she does, and she continues to display exceptional dedication to the empowerment and betterment of others, particularly young women. She continues to push herself and others to new heights through thoughtful teaching and guidance.
A SWE life member, Greenfelder has dedicated her skills and talents to myriad leadership positions at every level of the Society. Her portfolio of contributions to the advancement of women is as important to her as her technical, professional, and community accomplishments. As such, she is an active leader in numerous organizations, including the Kansas Society of Professional Engineers and the Water Environment Federation.
Greenfelder lives in the Kansas City metropolitan area with her husband and son. She enjoys reading management books, sewing, and long-distance running in sparkly gear.
Dayna Johnson | Director | She/Her/Hers
Dayna Johnson, P.E., is the market intelligence leader for North America for Grid Solutions at GE Renewable Energy. She joined GE in 2012 as a commercial manager, leading large teams through the bidding process to develop proposals for high-voltage electrical substations. Prior to joining GE, she worked as a civil engineer, designing water and wastewater projects for rapidly growing communities in the Chicago suburbs.
She holds a B.S. in civil engineering and a Master of Engineering Management from Valparaiso University, and she is a licensed professional engineer and LEED accredited professional.
Johnson has been an active member of SWE since joining as a collegiate member in 2000. She has served as Chicago Regional Section president and section representative and as Region H lieutenant governor and treasurer. She was previously the awards and recognition committee chair and WE11 local host committee co-chair. Most recently, she has been engaged as a governance task force member and senator. She received the SWE Distinguished New Engineer Award in 2011.
Outside of SWE, Johnson is involved in her church and Toastmasters. She resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband, their two young sons, and their dog. When she isn’t working with SWE, she enjoys traveling to warm locations with beaches far from Chicago, hiking, and home improvement projects.
Karen Ramsey-Idem | Director | She/Her/Hers
Karen Ramsey-Idem, Ph.D., is a global technical leader for Cummins Inc. As global technical operations excellence leader for the corporation, Dr. Ramsey-Idem is responsible for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of technical resources, including strategy definition, management, and implementation. She owns the technical center startup process and has led two multimillion-dollar technical center projects to completion using this process. She is currently leading two more projects.
In 2002, Dr. Ramsey-Idem led the creation of Engineering A Future, a STEM outreach program introducing middle school females to engineering. At Cummins, she established Cummins Women in Technology (CWiT), an internal development conference for female engineers in 2007. Both of these annual programs continue today. Dr. Ramsey-Idem is a charter member of the Cummins Leading Inclusion for Technical (LIFT) team, which aspires to increase leadership representation of women and other underrepresented populations in the company’s technical organization. In 2015, she developed and continues to lead the Cummins RePower Program, a STEM career reentry initiative.
Dr. Ramsey-Idem is a certified Six Sigma green belt and sponsor and is a trained facilitator for leadership development, implicit bias, and inclusion dialogue. She and her husband, Stephen Idem, Ph.D., a mechanical engineering professor at Tennessee Technological University, have three adult children and live in Cookeville, Tennessee.
Creating sustainable opportunities for all to aspire to and achieve in STEM careers is Dr. Ramsey-Idem’s avocation.
Eileen Marie Vélez-Vega | Director | She/Her/Hers
As one of the managing partners of Kimley-Horn Puerto Rico LLC, Eileen M. Vélez-Vega, P.E., contributed to the effort of establishing this subsidiary, as Kimley-Horn’s first Caribbean office. In 2014, she relocated to manage the office where she is the office practice leader, overseeing all operations. Previously, Vélez-Vega was an aviation project manager in the West Palm Beach office. Her expertise is the design of airport infrastructure for commercial and general aviation airports, and she has published multiple papers on pavement rehabilitation. Her focus as an airport engineer is the constructability and development of airport projects to ensure the continued safe and effective operations during construction.
Vélez-Vega received an M.S. in civil engineering from Mississippi State University and a B.S. from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). Her SWE journey began as a UPRM collegiate member, sparking an involvement that has resulted in an amazing 19-year SWE career. She has served in local, regional, and Society positions.
She began her engineering career in 2003 as a research civil engineer in the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She’s a member of the Transportation Research Board pavement committees and leads the Transportation and Development Institute’s Airfield Pavements Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Vélez-Vega enjoys traveling with her family, and volunteers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a patient advocate, former president of the Puerto Rico board of directors, and honored hero.
Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua | Special Director
Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua, Ph.D., professor of engineering and coordinator of the Smart Manufacturing Technology Program at Ohlone College, has more than 15 years of experience in higher education. Before moving to the U.S., she was chair of the engineering department and senior lecturer of electrical/electronic engineering at the University of West London in the U.K.
She holds a B.Eng. (Hons) in electrical/electronic engineering (specializing in telecommunications systems) from the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria; an MSc. in mobile and satellite communication engineering from the University of Surrey, U.K.; and a Ph.D. in cybernetics from the University of Reading, U.K. She also holds a certificate in disruptive strategies from Harvard Business School.
In 2018, Dr. Ekeng-Itua received SWE’s Advocating Women in Engineering Award. Among her other honors are the 2017 Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society for Engineering Education Pacific SouthWest Section and the 2017 Faculty of the Year Award from Ohlone College. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the East Bay Economic Development Alliance in California have also recognized her contributions to innovation in education.
Dr. Ekeng- Itua has been a two-time Visiting Research Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where she carried out research on smart sustainable manufacturing and smart microgrids, respectively. Her other research interests are cybernetics, artificial intelligence, internet of things, human computer interaction, diversity and equity in STEM, STEM education, appropriate technology for emerging economies, and the impact of technology on society.
UNESCO, BBC, and the IEEE have recognized Dr. Ekeng-Itua for her contributions toward bridging gender and racial divides in STEM education and industry. She is the FY20 president of the SWE Mt. Diablo Section and the founding lead for the Society’s African American affinity group; FY21 chair of the IEEE Special Interest Group in Humanitarian Technology for the Oakland East-Bay Section; and the FY20 director of the Silicon Valley Engineering Council.
Dr. Ekeng-Itua has produced a TED-Ed animation video series, “The Unsung Heroes/Heroines in STEM.” She is a TEDx speaker and in 2018 presented her debut TED Talk, “Unknown Unknowns,” advocating the visibility of women and African American innovators in order to create equity.
Maisha Gray-Diggs | Special Director
Maisha Gray-Diggs, Ph.D. (also known as Dr. MGD), is the senior director of technical, university, and events talent acquisition for Twitter. She leads a global team that recruits the software engineers, product managers, data scientists, designers, and researchers responsible for the services and infrastructure that makes Twitter the go-to platform for #whatshappening. She is passionate about changing the face of tech and works daily to ensure #inclusionishappening in all of Twitter’s recruitment efforts. Prior to Twitter, she was the senior talent acquisition manager for Microsoft Silicon Valley/San Francisco.
Dr. Gray-Diggs is no stranger to career transitions. Before moving into full-time talent-acquisition roles for the last ~three years, she had a thriving research and development career in the consumer goods industry, working 11 years at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, and two years at The Clorox Co. in Pleasanton, California. There, she leveraged her B.S., which she earned from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D., from Northwestern University, both in materials science and engineering, to create household products for babies, moms, cats, and grillers.
She resides in Oakland, California, with her 9.5-year-old twins, William and Maya. In her free time (pre-COVID 19, of course), Dr. Gray-Diggs enjoys traveling, watches all basketball (#GoDubs), serves as a Donate Life ambassador and MIT Club of Northern California board member, and chauffeurs her children to competitive soccer games.
Alexis McKittrick | Speaker of the Senate | She/Her/Hers
A SWE member since 2001, Alexis McKittrick, Ph.D., has held a number of leadership roles within the Society over the last 15 years. This is her second term on SWE’s board of directors (serving previously as secretary). She has been chair of both the strategic planning committee and the government relations and public policy committee and is a past governor of the Mid-Atlantic region.
Dr. McKittrick is currently a program manager in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). (She serves on the SWE board of directors in her personal capacity.) Prior to joining DOE, Dr. McKittrick was a senior researcher at the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. In this role, she conducted nonpartisan research and analysis on a variety of scientific topics for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and various federal agencies. She also previously worked in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division, where she focused on greenhouse gas analysis and policy for the oil and gas, chemicals, and semiconductor sectors. She gained early-career experience with Praxair Inc. (now Linde) as a research and development (R&D) technical lead and an R&D program manager developing and supporting technology that increased energy efficiency and reduced environmental pollutants for industrial sectors that included oil refining, chemicals, and steel manufacturing.
Dr. McKittrick holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar. In 2014, she was presented with the D.C. Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies’ Young Engineer of the Year Award and, in 2019, she was a recipient of SWE’s Emerging Leader Award. Dr. McKittrick lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with her husband and two daughters. Outside of her work with SWE, Dr. McKittrick enjoys being a Girl Scout troop leader.
Kelsey Harper | Collegiate Director | She/Her/Hers
Kelsey Harper graduated from the University of Minnesota (UMN) in 2018 with a degree in mechanical engineering. She is the production team leader in the Leadership Development Program at Ecolab.
In her time at UMN, she served as a SWE section outreach director, vice president, and president. Harper worked with a team of 50 directors and committee members to plan more than 200 events, serving more than 300 SWE members, and 700-plus UMN students in FY18. Under her leadership, SWE UMN saw a 33% increase in membership and a 300% increase in corporate sponsorship. She worked to make language more inclusive and partnered with other organizations on campus to ensure all felt welcome at SWE events. Harper mentored many SWE UMN members and created a leadership retreat to strengthen the section’s leadership pipeline.
Harper served as Region H collegiate representative and collegiate senator, communicating Society strategic goals to more than 50 collegiate section presidents through monthly calls and conference meetings. She also connected collegiate sections to SWE resources and fielded questions during the transition away from regions. She was on the committee strategic planning subteam in the senate. Harper has also participated in SWE Capitol Hill Day.
Outside of SWE, Harper enjoys spending time with her puppy, Valentina; volunteering as a STEM teacher at a local elementary school; and eating ice cream. If you meet her, ask her what podcast she listened to last, or why waffles are definitely better than pancakes.
Karen Horting | Executive Director & CEO | She/Her/Hers
Karen Horting, CAE, is the executive director and CEO for the Society of Women Engineers, a position she has held since Dec. 31, 2013. With more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and fund development, Horting was most recently the SWE deputy executive director. In this capacity, she was responsible for all fund-development activities for the organization, including corporate membership and SWE’s Corporate Partnership Council, as well as more traditional philanthropy such as foundation and government grants, individual gifts, and bequests. She also oversaw a number of the Society’s programs and services, including professional development, K-12 outreach, the annual conference, and SWE’s international expansion.
Horting came to SWE in March 2004 from the New York Academy of Sciences, where she served as director of strategic planning, managing the academy’s development activities and long-range organizational planning.
Prior to her role with NYAS, Horting worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, managing both marketing and fund development on a global level for Science’s Next Wave, a groundbreaking career-development website for graduate students and postdocs in science, math, and technology. Horting’s experience also includes more than 10 years in the paint and coatings industry in a variety of technical service and marketing functions.
In 2008, Horting earned her certified association executive credential from the CAE Commission of the American Society of Association Executives. Less than 5% of all association professionals have achieved this mark of excellence.
Horting holds a B.S. in biology from Northern Illinois University and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University.
- Conference Advisory Board
- Corporate Partnership Council
- Editorial Board
FY21 Board of Trustees
Sandy Postel | Chair | She/Her/Hers
Sandy Postel retired in 2009 after 30 years with The Boeing Company. At Boeing, she led a variety of organizations including Manufacturing R&D, Composites Manufacturing, the 777 Program Manufacturing Research, the Interiors Responsibility Center, Boeing of Canada – Winnipeg, the Propulsion Systems Division and Lean Manufacturing. She also served as the Vice President of Manufacturing and Quality for all of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. She is most proud of creating and leading the Boeing Technical Women’s Network after Boeing, McDonald-Douglas and parts of Rockwell merged. She led the Boeing relationship with SWE.
Sandy has received recognition as a Distinguished Alumni for Purdue University and for University of Wyoming, the Affirmative Action Award of Excellence from Boeing’s Global Diversity and Employee Rights organization, the Upward Mobility Award from Society of Women Engineers and the J Cordell Breed Award for Women Leaders from SAE. She is also a SWE Fellow.
Since retirement, she has dedicated her time to active involvement with the Women in Engineering Programs at her alma maters, Purdue University and University of Wyoming. She has also served on the Wyoming Governor’s Advisory Board for Economic Development, Arizona Women’s Golf Association Southern District Board and Special Olympics Washington. She cares deeply about the SWE mission and has served as the first coleader of the Corporate Partnership Council, leader of the Multicultural Task Force and is in her sixth year on the Board of Trustees.
As a “snowbird,” she resides part of the year in Washington state and in Tucson, Arizona. She plays golf and hikes in addition to traveling around the globe.
Mary Studlick | Treasurer | She/Her/Hers
Mary Studlick, P.E., F.SWE, is a senior life member and Fellow of the Society of Women Engineers. She worked at Exxon Mobil Corporation for over 37 years, retiring in 2019. She is an expert in the implementation and auditing of safety, health and environmental (SH&E) management systems in upstream and downstream oil and gas operations. For 8 years, she managed the corporation’s SH&E management system auditing program.
Mary holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters of Engineering in Petroleum from Tulane University. She was first exposed to SWE in high school when she received a Certificate of Merit from the Rocky Mountain Section and has been involved with SWE ever since. She served as president of her student section and held numerous offices and committee chairs in both the New Orleans and Houston sections. She was Regional Director in FY 1988 and served on the Houston Area Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2016, managing the $120,000 overage from the 1998 National Conference. She was first elected to the SWE Board of Trustees in FY 2017.
Mary enjoys horseback riding, knitting, reading, hiking and travelling with her husband Joe. She cherishes time spent with their daughter, Liz, an investment banker in New York City.
Janis Mantini | Secretary | She/Her/Hers
Janis Mantini has over 32 years of experience working in the aerospace industry in various positions including management, supplier management, program management, and the design, test and evaluation of aerospace products. Prior to her retirement she was responsible for leading Integration and Program Management for the Networks and Tactical Systems Business where her team supported the Program Management function for the business. Site integration activities include supporting the Boeing Southern California State/Local Government regional working group, working to establish Anaheim and Huntington Beach site’s presence in the region, keeping it aligned with the site and program strategies, and supporting Boeing on local boards. She also worked on several strategic initiatives with the BDS Engineering function.
Previously, Ms. Mantini served as the Program Manager for the Southern California site consolidation, where she led activities associated with the reduced footprint of the Boeing Anaheim facility and the transition of about 3,000 employees from Anaheim to Boeing’s Huntington Beach facility. Additionally, Ms. Mantini spent three years as a Systems Engineering Director for a classified program in Boeing’s Space and Intelligence Systems Division. With an extensive background in supplier management, she also supported the Space & Intelligence Systems Division, the Expendable Launch Vehicles Division, C-17 Program and the International Space Station Program in supplier management leadership roles. She held a DOD Top Secret and SCI level clearance.
Ms. Mantini has a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. She is a Fellow in the Society of Women Engineers and the Institute for the Advancement of Engineering. Ms. Mantini was selected by the Pennsylvania State University as an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus for 2011.
Ms. Mantini has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Huntington Beach Chamber of Commerce. She has also served on the Orange County Workforce Investment Board. She has served on and been Chair of the City of Huntington Beach Planning Commission. She is a member of and 2011 Chair for the Pennsylvania State University Industry Professional Advisory Council (IPAC) for the College of Engineering, Aerospace Department. She is a Board member and Secretary for SWE BOT and the VisitHB Business Improvement District marketing bureau. She serves as a Commissioner for the City of Huntington Beach Community Services Commission.
Ester Barbuto | Trustee | She/Her/Hers
Ester Barbuto is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, focused on increasing connection and collaboration among friends and family with the Microsoft Teams consumer application. She is passionate about developing and launching new technology that creates an enhanced existence for all users. Previously, she was focused on commercialization and growth of Mixed Reality Business Applications. A former innovation and crowdsourcing strategy consultant with significant experience complex problem solving, systems engineering and hedge fund market risk. Before Microsoft, Ester worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, Goldman Sachs, and PepsiCo.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. A SWE member since 2005, Ester Barbuto served in leadership roles including Carnegie Mellon collegiate section president, various region section representatives, CLCC coach, Hampton Roads professional section president, Secretary, Chair, and Trustee on SWE’s Board of Trustees. She was first elected to the Board of Trustees in FY 2013.
Ester enjoys traveling, rock climbing, and ultra-cycling. In her free time, she is also a member of the DreamWakers Advisory Council which connects students in under resourced classrooms to diverse professionals across the country. She enjoys exploring Seattle with her partner Peter and two dogs, Max and Chloe.
Cassi Janakos | Trustee | She/Her/Hers
Cassi Janakos is Chief Operating Offer of Healthy Horizons. Healthy Horizons provides mother’s room upgrades and management, hospital-grade breastpumps at work, and return to work classes to corporations across North America. Cassi started the company in 2015 and leads a team of 40. She is specializes in organizational development, operations, and optimization. Previously she worked in systems engineering at Lockheed Martin.
Cassi holds Bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from University of California, Berkeley and in Business Management Economics from University of California, Santa Cruz. She holds a Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University. She joined SWE as a student and has held over 35 elected and appointed leadership positions. She served as Region A Governor where she managed sections in Northern California, Northern Nevada and Hawaii, and Chaired the Leadership Coaching Committee where she led 75 leadership coached in successfully transition with the SWE governance changes. She was first elected to the SWE Board of Trustees in FY 2019.
Cassi enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading. In her free time, she mentors start-up executives in Silicon Valley through StartX, advocates for mothers in the workforce, and is a Cultural Mentor with TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Paula McDonald | Trustee | She/Her/Hers
Paula McDonald is a Materials Engineer for rockets used in Missile Defense applications. She currently works for Raytheon after spending 15 years at Aerojet Rocketdyne. She holds a Six Sigma Blackbelt and specializes in a variety of critical high temperature materials, composites, adhesives and ablative insulation materials.
Paula holds a Bachelors degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of California, Davis. She has been a SWE leader for over 12 years, including the Council of Representatives, Region A Treasurer and Sacramento Valley Section President. As Region A Treasurer, she helped establish their first portfolio during the worst market of a generation, which was held through the recovery. The extraordinary gains enabled endowment of the Golden West Region Legacy Scholarship. She is also a talented presenter that has led several sessions at SWE Local and Annual Conferences and was a keynote speaker for Evening with Industry. She is excited to apply this experience in her first year serving the SWE Board of Trustees.
Paula enjoys traveling, music & theater, and exploring nature. She is a devoted momgineer of a six-year-old boy and has been married for 14 years to an engineering executive.
Kim O’Rourke | Trustee | She/Her/Hers
Kim O’Rourke, F.SWE, is a senior manager for environmental remediation at The Boeing Company. She has been with Boeing for 29 years and has held positions in materials engineering; manufacturing engineering; environment, health, and safety; quality; and process improvement. Prior to joining Boeing, she worked for General Dynamics and the Institute for Research and Technical Development, a nonprofit organization.
O’Rourke earned a B.S. in ceramic engineering from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and an MBA from California State University, Fullerton. She also holds a Six Sigma black belt and is a certified Insights Discovery facilitator.
A SWE life member and Fellow, O’Rourke has held various leadership positions in the Orange County Section, as well as at the region level as Region B secretary, lieutenant governor, and governor. She has served on the Society bylaws committee and, most recently, the WE Local advisory board. She is also the SWE focal for Boeing.
O’Rourke is on the board of the nonprofit Employees Community Fund of Boeing, Southern California chapter. The Employees Community Fund is a unique employee giving program that allows employees to support the needs of their local communities. O’Rourke has been the grant committee lead for the past three years.
In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, gardening, cooking, and making fused-glass art with the kiln in her garage. O’Rourke lives in San Juan Capistrano, California, with her husband and two cats, Ellie and Squeek.
Deborah Stromberg | Trustee | She/Her/Hers
Deborah Stromberg is a SWE Fellow and Life Member who has actively furthered SWE’s mission for the past 25 years. Through a combination of leadership in SWE, work, and community, Deborah has impacted women at all levels, empowering them to reach their full potential as leaders and role models in the engineering industry. Deborah has been a long-time member of the Sierra Foothills Section, located in Northern California, and has served as section President, Scholarship Committee Chair, and many years as the Section Representative. She enjoyed serving as a Region A Leadership Coach for many years, which she considers her most rewarding SWE experience and connected her with her wonderful network of SWE colleagues. Deborah completed a term as Senator and is long-time coordinator for the SWE Work-Life Integration Award judging committee.
Deborah has worked at Intel Corporation for 23 years in various technical and leadership roles in Flash memory and Solid State Drive (SSD) product engineering. Currently she leads the organization that develops, qualifies, and enables customers to ship all of the Intel SSD products targeted for the datacenter market. Deborah has repeatedly built engineering teams from the ground up, utilizing a combination of technical acumen and effective leadership style. From the earliest part of her career, she has taken initiative in hiring and progression of technical women. She has built recruiting, hiring, and intern programs over the years, creating a strong and diverse pipeline into her business unit. She was a leader of the Women in Leadership initiative in her business group, tackling the challenges of growing the population of women in technical and managerial leadership roles. She mentors women across a broad range of career levels, and across multiple business groups at Intel. She is a certified facilitator in corporate level diversity and inclusion initiatives, including Inclusive Leaders program and Command Presence Workshop.
Deborah currently lives in Davis, CA with her husband and two young sons. She is active in her local community, volunteering in several organizations focused on raising money for causes related to children. She loves to travel with her family, and can often be found out at the Little League fields cheering for her boys. She is excited to embark on her newest role within SWE as a member of the Board of Trustees.