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SWE Wisconsin Holds Spring Forward Professional Development Event

Learn about the speakers, activities, and networking that inspired over 80 women in STEM.
Map of Wisconsin stock photo for SWE Wisconsin event

For the fifth year, the Wisconsin professional section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE-WI) hosted an amazing Spring Forward professional development event. This year, Trane Technologies located in beautiful La Crosse, Wisc. offered their generous support and hosted the event at their facilities.

The Spring Forward committee, led by long-time Trane employee Jennifer Black and her colleagues, kicked off the event by providing a tour of the Trane Technologies facilities on Friday, April 14. Following the tour, Andrea Falasco creatively led the committee in decorating the venue tables with succulents we planted on site! That evening, attendees got acquainted with each other during a fantastic dinner at the nearby Freight House.

On Saturday, 83 women registered for the day’s events. This group included 43 professional SWE members, 20 non-SWE member professionals, and 20 collegiates from the SWE collegiate sections at Michigan Technological University, University of Wisconsin-Stout, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The morning started with a breakfast courtesy of Trane Technologies. Donna Bossman, director of engineering excellence at Trane Technologies, provided welcome remarks, followed by Susan Schlett who shared a SWE membership update. Sandy Lamb, owner and CEO of Altitude Executive Coaching, shared her message of the importance of leading with emotional Intelligence to transform the way teams collaborate and grow both personally and professionally.

SWE Wisconsin Holds Spring Forward Professional Development Event
SWE-WI Membership Chair Susan Schlett outside the Trane venue

In the first of four block sessions offered, Ann Krieger from Rockwell Automation and Ryan Smith from Morries Auto Group shared about navigating negotiations in a panel discussion. Michigan Technological University students demonstrated the Arduino outreach project they introduced to a multitude of middle and high school students titled “Ignite Your Curiosity with SWE Outreach.”

The second block session offered a panel discussion with Erin Smith from Trane Technologies, Ann Krieger from Rockwell Automation, and Deborah Hoffman from ABB regarding career pivots. Rebecca Schruender also led a session on microaggressions in the workplace.

In the third session block, Julie Bates presented on the benefits of networking while Michal Riege discussed using an Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) to run a manufacturing company.

SWE Wisconsin Holds Spring Forward Professional Development Event
SWE-WI Members Michele Dodez, Rebecca Schruender, Claire Rapant and Tessa Machado

In the fourth session, the team of Christine Nicometo from TechForum Consulting and Dr. Julie Unite from Ascend Talent Strategies presented “Executive Presence – How to Know, Grow, and Show Yours.” Mary Laudon, project leader of the SWE University of Wisconsin-Madison Tech Team, also shared the Boeing Tech Team’s national SWE winning project. This was a collaboration with Trane Technologies on an off-grid cold storage unit for low-income communities.

During lunchtime, graduating seniors and career milestones were recognized, and four scholarships and section awards were presented. SWE-WI herstorian Betty Leonhard from Bassett Mechanical gave a photo recap of our fiscal year 2024 SWE-WI activities.

The day concluded with an optional speed networking session led by Andrea Falasco from Kimberly-Clark Corporation. We again thanked our generous supporters, Trane Technologies, STRATTEC, Bassett Mechanical, and Sentry for assisting us in Spring Forward!

The Spring Forward committee has agreed to suspend this event in 2025 and will resume our Spring Forward Professional Development Event in 2026, so mark your calendars!