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FY24 SWE Senate Strategic Planning Subteam Findings and Recommendations

Read on to discover what this forward-looking subteam of the SWE Senate has achieved over the past year!
FY24 SWE Senate Strategic Planning Subteam Findings and Recommendations

The Senate is the strategic body of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) focused on strategic issues that advance the mission and vision of SWE. The members of the Senate focus on future-looking work to ensure the Society is continuing to both anticipate and meet the needs of its members in an ever-evolving environment.

Within the Senate, the Annual Strategic Planning subteam (ASPS) is responsible for the creation and evaluation of the Society Strategic Plan. But what about the years when the Strategic Plan is not being developed, but maintained? That’s where the ASPS found itself in FY24, but still found plenty to do!

ASPS members included Deputy Speaker of the Senate Erica Messinger as the lead along with Senators Alison Bergmann, Sarah Koenig, Nelia Mazula, Swetha Vingimoor, and Carol Weber, along with Board of Director members Dianne Beever, Karen Horting, and Karen Roth. They decided to start the year by getting back to basics.

Looking at a number of resources such as the Senate procedures, member survey, environmental scan, Senate archives, and work from past Annual Strategic Planning subteams, the group sought to compare recent work with the team’s charter as written to gain a common understanding of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we might want to go. Feedback from the August SWE Senate meeting, where the Senate as a whole provided their thoughts and opinions, was also taken into consideration.

By WE23, the ASPS selected two main items to concentrate its efforts on, with two focus groups forming within the subteam. While tasked with different actions, the underlying theme of the work was the same: streamlining information to improve accessibility and useability for the benefit of the Senate as a whole.

The first focus group devised and implemented an input form for strategic themes and topics for future Senate consideration, as well as the process by which to review them. This process will allow for the entire Senate to submit topics and grow a healthy backlog of themes of strategic importance to/for SWE on which to more easily focus in subsequent years.

The second focus group tackled the Senate archives, which is a repository of past work performed by the Senate. The team established a summary document for the archives, not only capturing the major conclusions and recommendations of each subteam, but also serving as a log on the ultimate result and disposition of the main recommendations. This will allow future subteams to better benefit from the research, and work done or inspired, by previous subteams.

While discussing the responsibility that the Senate has to the Society and its members to keep strategic thinking and focus a part of SWE’s overall operation, the team answered the call to action to present at WE24 and subsequent conferences. This will help SWE’s members better understand the strategic work that the Senate is doing, while simultaneously learning more about strategic thinking in general.

Lastly, while reflecting on the work done during FY24, the team could not help but think about the other work and tasks assigned to ASPS in the Senate procedures. Realizing that tackling all of the routine responsibilities outlined would be enough work to fill a year in itself, the team put forth a recommendation to determine logical groupings of tasks to be done on a rotating basis during maintaining years.

Being the only standing subteam within the Senate, the journey of ASPS can look a little different than the other subteams, which often reach a natural conclusion by the end of the fiscal year. This year, the ASPS chose to focus on investing in the tools and infrastructure that will allow the Senate as a whole to function more efficiently in the future when it comes to strategic planning. With many subteam members continuing to serve on the Senate for FY25, they eagerly await seeing the tools put into action!

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