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SWE Senate’s Strategic Planning Team Update

FY20 Deputy Speaker of the Senate, Hope Toole Schwalls, provides updates on the Strategic Planning Team's goals.
Get To Know Swe Senate’s Strategic Planning Team

“SWE Senate’s Strategic Planning Team Update” was written by Hope Toole Schwalls, FY20 Deputy Speaker of the Senate.

strategic planning team
Capturing data points from the KPI metric dashboard for FY20.

In the “Getting to Know the Senate” blog series earlier this fiscal year, the Senate sub-team leads introduced their teams’ planned focus areas for the year. The role of the Strategic Planning Sub-team and the goals for this fiscal year was discussed in my earlier blog post.

The Strategic Planning Sub-team considered the following questions during FY20:

  1. How should the revised strategic planning evaluation process and the key performance indicators (KPI) metric dashboard be incorporated into Senate, BOD, and Society meetings and communications?
  2. What changes, if any, are needed to the roles & responsibilities of the Senate? Two documents under consideration are the Society Bylaws and the Reserve Fund document.
strategic planning team
SWE undertook dramatic changes to the website infrastructure and design in FY18 and 19. Cutting more than 1,000 pages of dated content and establishing as the primary URL replacing These changes have in the short term impact the performance of from an organic search/SEO perspective. As google’s algorithm re-calibrates and new pages from the new improve on their index, traffic will begin to increase. 

In answer to question 1, the team recommended incorporating communication of the strategic planning process into the Senate Procedures document rather than authoring a separate document to be maintained. By a vote of the Senate (motion S-2006), the proposed changes to the procedures were approved and are now incorporated into the document. Also, the team recommended adding a strategic planning webpage to the Senate website for communicating the process to the membership and external stakeholders. The content is currently under construction and is planned to go-live in the next few weeks. The KPI Metric Dashboard was updated to add the plan for communicating the outcome for each metric to various stakeholders. The Senate website is available via

In response to question 2, the Strategic Planning Sub-team agreed to take the recommendations of the Reserve Fund Document Review Team regarding the Reserve Fund document. The Society’s Reserve Fund document is reviewed at least every three years by a subcommittee which includes members of the Senate, Board of Directors, Board of Trustees, and Finance Committee. A few members of the Strategic Planning Sub-team were on the Reserve Fund Document Review Team and contributed to the decision.

The Reserve Fund Document Review Team recommendations are to move authority for the Reserve Fund document from the Senate to the Board of Directors and to maintain Senate approval for any future proposed dissolution of the fund. A Society Bylaws amendment is required to be approved in order for this recommendation to be accepted. In addition, it is proposed to update the document to incorporate the recently formed Society Investment Committee, which includes the Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer, two members of the Board of Trustees, the Society President-Elect, and the Society Treasurer.

strategic planning team
Capturing data points from the KPI metric dashboard for FY20.

With respect to the Society bylaws, the team recommended the formation of a dedicated FY21 Senate Strategic Initiatives Sub-team to focus solely on Society Bylaws. This team would include members of the Society Bylaws Committee and the Society Secretary.

As the fiscal year came to an end, the team finalized a list of potential topics for consideration for the next Society strategic plan. The current strategic plan is available on the SWE website.  The Society’s operational plan is reviewed and updated yearly by the SWE Board of Directors and Headquarters staff to ensure that it’s in alignment with our strategic plan and goals.

Thank you to the FY20 Strategic Planning sub-team members for their work on these important topics. The team was comprised of the following members:


Hope Toole Schwalls – Deputy Speaker of the Senate & Strategic Planning Team Lead
Alison Bergmann – Senator
Stephanie Loete – Senator
Lisa Rimpf – Senator
Stephanie Yum – Senator
Heather Doty – President-Elect
Kelsey Harper – Collegiate Director
Karen Horting – SWE CEO
Dayna Johnson – Director
Karen Roth – Treasurer

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  • Hope Toole Schwalls, FY20 Deputy Speaker of the Senate

    Hope Toole Schwalls was the FY20 Deputy Speaker of the Senate and has previously served as a SWE Senator and on the Senate’s Strategic Planning team. She will continue to serve SWE as the FY21 Ethics Committee Chair-Elect. Hope has been a volunteer leader in various levels of SWE governance for over 20 years, initially as a collegiate member and now as a professional member. She is a Life Member of the Society. Hope works for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX.