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2023 WE Local U.S. Recap: Uniting Women in Engineering at Three Inspiring Conferences

Explore the achievements and takeaways from our 2023 WE Local conferences in Detroit, Hartford, and Seattle.
2023 WE Local U.S. Recap: Uniting Women in Engineering at Three Inspiring Conferences

“WE Locals are a great way to get re-energized and be inspired! You have more opportunities to be up close and interact with speakers, recruiters, and others.” — WE Local Detroit attendee

Every year, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) organizes multiple WE Local conferences across the globe to bring together engineers at all stages of their career journeys.

These events provide networking opportunities, professional development sessions, memorable speakers, and career fairs where attendees can connect with employers and industry partners. 

In 2023, SWE held three WE Local conferences in the U.S: one in Detroit, Mich., one in Hartford, Conn., and one in Seattle, Wash.

WE Local U.S. Recap infographic from the Society of Women Engineers

2023 WE Local Detroit: By the Numbers

“SWE conferences refill my confidence to be a strong leader in engineering. These are my people!” – Lynn Medtronic, WE Local Detroit Attendee

On February 17-18, 2023, 681 attendees gathered at the Huntington Place Convention Center Detroit for our WE Local conference. 

While the largest proportion of attendees came from Michigan (42%), we had a vast reach with over 31 U.S. states represented.

The majority of Detroit conference-goers were students (58%), while a smaller group represented individual contributors (24%), followed by technical specialists (10%), and mid-level managers (8%).

Most registrants were earlier in their careers with 1-5 years of experience (53%), with a smaller percentage having 6-30 years of experience or more (31%).

The event included 35 partner organizations and keynotes from a number of engaging speakers including:

  • Telva McGruder, Chief of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at General Motors
  • Cheryl Thompson, Founder and CEO of the Center for Automative Diversity, Inclusion and Advancement (CADIA)
  • Aurelia Gooden, Stellantis Production Way Specialist
  • Candies Foster, Vice President of Marketing at Nestle

You can learn more about each WE Local Detroit keynote speaker in this article.

In total, over 74 speakers provided career advice and education at the conference through formats such as listening sessions, lectures, and poster presentations.

Couldn’t make it this year? Explore our Flickr page for WE Local Detroit to see photos from the event!

Speaker at 2023 WE Local Detroit conference standing in front of an American flag and WE Local U.S. signage

2023 WE Local Hartford: By the Numbers

“The WE Local Hartford conference had a great balance of education, networking, and inspiration.” — Wendy Cocke, Founder, Engineering Leadership Solutions

On March 3-4, 2023, 680 attendees gathered at the Connecticut Convention Center for the WE Local: Hartford Conference. 

While the majority of WE Local Hartford attendees came from the East Coast, over 34 U.S. states were represented in total.

Similarly to Detroit, the majority of conference goers were students (56%), followed by individual contributors (22%), mid-level managers (13%), and technical specialists (9%).

Most registrants had 1-5 years of experience (58%), with a smaller percentage having 6-30 years of experience or more (35%).

Keynote speakers for the conference included:

  • Julie Martin, Vice President at 89 North, Inc.
  • Jill Albertelli, President of Military Engines at Pratt & Whitney
  • Dr. Jenny Gusba, Sr. Director, R&D Beverages Strategy and Portfolio Management at PepsiCo
  • Sara Schonour, Vice President of Education and Engagement at Lytei & Contestant on Baking Impossible

You can find out more about these Hartford speakers in our blog post

The conference featured 11 poster presentations, 74 speakers, 38 partner organizations, and numerous sessions and workshops to enhance the development of students and professionals in STEM.

To relive the action, we have two WE Local Hartford Flickr albums that you can explore: Album 1 | Album 2.

group of college women engineers at WE Local U.S. conference in Hartford in 2023

2023 WE Local Seattle: By the Numbers

“WE Local is a great conference to grow your career and learn about leadership and technical topics, all while making lifelong friends!” — Sunita Lavin, Burns & McDonnell, WE Local Seattle Attendee

From March 31-April 1, 2023, 667 attendees gathered at the Sheraton Grand Seattle for our WE Local Seattle conference. 

While the majority of WE Local Seattle attendees came from Washington and California (52.51%), individuals from over 39 U.S. states participated in the action.

Consistent with Detroit and Hartford, the majority of conference-goers were students (61%), followed by individual contributors (22%), mid-level managers (9%), and technical specialists (8%).

The following speakers provided inspiring keynote talks at the conference:

  • Ya-Wen Lee, Senior Director of Technical and Manufacturing at Nestlé Coffee Partners
  • Amanda Taplett Johnson, Director of Energy at Amazon Logistics
  • Angel McMullen-Gunn, Director of Quality Compliance at Collins Aerospace, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp.
  • Kristy Mandigo, Chief Engineer at Raytheon Technologies

We share more about the backgrounds and expertise of each WE Local Seattle keynote speaker in this article.

This conference included 45 sessions on a variety of topics in engineering, leadership, and career development, along with 31 partner organizations.

You can see more photos from WE Local Seattle in our two Flickr albums: Album 1 | Album 2 

young women engineers at the 2023 WE Local U.S. conference in Seattle

Outside of the U.S., SWE held two 2023 WE Local conferences in Bengaluru, India, and Barcelona, Spain. You can read our recaps of the WE Local Bengaluru conference here and the WE Local Barcelona conference here.

Want to join us at our next WE Local conference? Wondering if we will hold a conference in your area? Visit our WE Local website to find all the updates on future WE Local conferences!


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