Motivated by the success and high expectations generated from the two previous SWE Brazil events, Brazilian SWE leaders were hoping to host a third face-to-face event this year. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the course of the event planning, among many other impacts to society, and pushed SWE affiliates to apply creativity and skills to come up with a new plan. In order to assure the safety of attendees and still be able to share self-development, leadership, diversity and inclusion insights with women in STEM careers, four SWE affiliates in Brazil (Porto Alegre Metropolitan Region, Horizontina, Catalão and Campinas Metropolitan Region) joined efforts to offer an event accessible nation-wide by migrating it to a virtual environment.
Our first time having the event 100% online was highly successful! With this move, SWE Brazil was able to improve dissemination to reach more professionals from different companies and students from distant universities. We connected with over 390 attendees to celebrate and empower women in engineering. Without the virtual platform, many of these attendees probably would not have been able to participate due to travel constraints.
The two-day event was targeted to two different audiences: the first was focused on industry professionals and the second on collegiate students. Attendees could register for one or both days, as they pleased.
The first day was full of networking and business development opportunities, including:
- Diversity & Inclusion Introduction by João Pontes (John Deere Latin America Customer Experience & Support Director);
- Global SWE for Professionals by SWE Headquarters representatives Emily Burnett, Briana Aviles, and Karen Horting;
- Inspiring Engineer Case by Juliana Coelho (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Plant Manager);
- Data Information about Women in Engineering & Technology by Daniela Pavani (Professor at the Department of Astronomy – IF, Director of UFRGS Planetarium);
- Brazil SWE Overview by SWE Professional Affiliate Member Jessica Schwinn;
- Women Opportunities & Development Round Table with Margareth Goldenberg (CEO at Goldenberg Responsabilidade Social e Diversidade – in English: Goldenberg Social Responsibility and Diversity), Susana Zaman (Maternidade nas Empresas – in English: Maternity in Companies – Founding Partner) and Wellington Silvério (John Deere Latin America Human Resources Director).
The second day was designed to inspire the next generation featuring discussions and content about career opportunities, including:
- Diversity & Inclusion Introduction by Rodrigo Bonato (John Deere Latin America Product & Precision Agriculture Director);
- Global SWE for Students by SWE Headquarters representatives Emily Burnett, Briana Aviles and Karen Horting;
- Case: Career Challenges by Ana Paula Hetges (Researcher and postdoctoral fellow at the CNPq Health Technology Assessment Institute (IATS) in value-based health management projects and methods of economic and cost analysis);
- Scientific Research and Society by Aline Dresch (Industrial Engineer Doctor and Autor of the book “Design Science Research: A Method for Science and Technology Advancement”);
- SWE Universities Overview by SWE University Affiliate Member Maria Ezabella Silva, Cristiane Schneiders and Gabriela Recco;
- Biomimicry by Giane Brocco (Founder & CEO of Amazu Biomimicry, Founder of Biomimicry Brazil and Asha – The Eco Based Company cofounder);
- Career of the Future Round Table with Ligia Di Nardo (Be.Benefits startup cofounder and Beta Learning partner), Helen Andrade (Nestlé Brazil Diversity and Inclusion Manager) and Vladimir Alves (John Deere Latin America Product Diversity and Inclusion Manager).
SWE Brazil affiliates were mindful of the importance of inclusion during the planning of the event. The team took steps to increase the diversity of the attendees and the program included Brazilian Sign Language interpreters during all 8 hours for the first time. We had an extraordinary exchange of experiences and, in the end, all the efforts to host this live event, despite the circumstances, were rewarded by positive feedback from participants.
“I am very proud of the results from the online conference. It took us a lot of effort to organize everything and make sure it would run perfectly. We had almost 400 attendees on both days which shows how we are being able to spread SWE´s name and mission inside Brazil and amongst women community. Those two online conference days were a great opportunity to expand networking, learn through others´ experiences, and speak about diversity, inclusion, and women representativity. Besides that, having such young women in leadership positions speaking about their career journeys was very inspiring for me.”
Jéssica Schwinn, SWE member since 2019 and SWE´s POA & Metropolitan Region Outreach leader since 2020, Jéssica Schwinn is a Production Engineer, Supply Chain, and Logistics Specialist and passionate about STEM
“In my last meeting with SWE leaders, they have added Brazil to their primary market focus, they are working on having several of SWE documents and presentations in Portuguese and we are also on their list for events next year!
As a Senator, Ambassador and Affiliate Chair, I am very enthusiastic about this great news and mainly with the advancement of SWE in Brazil. We know that there is still long way to go, but with the team engaged the way they are and also with the continuous support from John Deere – today the largest SWE sponsor in Brazil and in several other countries – I am confident we will have a great journey! Thank you all that have made this possible for your engagement and support.”
Cecilia Breda, C&F Business Unit Manager, Indaiatuba, Brazil
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