In one of her many speaking appearances at this year’s national conference, past Society of Women Engineers (SWE) president Michelle Tortolanisaid something to the effect of “no matter how many times you go, there’s nothing quite like a SWE conference to inspire you.”
This was definitely true for me, even though it was the third national SWE conference I’ve attended. I still found myself caught up in the infectious energy that comes from being alongside 4500 of the most talented and empowered technical women in the world. It’s really awe-inspiring to be part of it and incredible to meet and talk with the other attendees. Where else can you meet technical pioneers from the 1950s and 60s, current industry professionals from all across the technical spectrum, researchers blazing new trails in every technology out there, well-regarded members of academia as well as the newest generation of upcoming engineers all in one place?!
Watching all these people (including the many men who attend as well) come together every year is amazing. This conference is always a prime example of the embodiment of diversity that this organization has brought and continues to bring to the engineering world. There is an omnipresent sense of open-mindedness and welcoming that pulses in the background of every conference event. The differentiating characteristics that make individuals unique are celebrated. SWE embraces and embodies diversity more effectively and more whole-heartedly than any other organization that I’ve ever seen and I think it’s really wonderful, as well as very significant, that Intel is not only a part of this movement but also a major contributor to its efforts.
Intel is perennially one of the main sponsors of this conference and of the organization. This year they sponsored the career fair opening and reception (this must be one of the largest engineering career fairs in the US!), a technology panel discussion session, two SWE organization meetings, hosted a career fair booth and a networking suite.
More than 50 Intel employees attended this year’s conference, themed “Women Advancing the World of Technology”, in Long Beach, CA in October. Intel supported the conference, not only through sponsorship, but also by enriching the conference experience by hosting workshops, panels and conference activities presented by Lynda Grindstaff, Allison Goodman, Karen Igo and Anisha Ladha. The professional development workshops and seminars are a great aspect of the conference as it always has great presenters and workshop subjects and they work really hard to keep all the workshops high quality and useful. You can check out the conference presentations and features schedule here.
As for my experience, this year’s conference involved more learning, development, and networking, and was definitely much more fun than any years previous… this was due to it being my first year officially representing Intel (I’m a new-ish hire, hi!). This made recruiting for Intel at the career fair both slightly mind-boggling and very exciting – it was very fun to talk to recruits about what its like to be a new kid on the block at Intel.
It was also really interesting (and enriching) to network with the other Intel representatives and find out what they were doing at their respective sites. It was definitely helpful to get advice and different perspectives from other women who have been with Intel longer than my current four months as a college grad (CG) ?. I really hope other RCGs are able to have this experience in the future. And of course the conference was also great for networking with people outside of Intel as I was able to meet many amazing people from our industry and others (including the inventor of the Kudos candy bar, Jean Hoppert!)
I attended “What do I want to do with my life?” from the Career and Life Transitions track, which offered a unique take on figuring out your passions (including those hidden ones that you may not have realized were passions before) and aligning them with your talent and needs. The idea is to get more our of your current responsibilities and career path as well as direct your career path to better fit those three key areas – passion, talent and need. If you want to know more post a comment and I’ll share!
All in all, it was a great conference as usual and was made even more fantastic and beneficial by the opportunity to be part of Intel’s presence and contribution while there! I really hope to attend (and maybe even be a seminar presenter) at next year’s conference!
Speaking of next year, the (S)WE10 conference will be Nov. 4-6 in Orlando, Florida. The theme is very apropos: “Launching Innovation. Defining Success.” To find out more check out the conference website.
Hope to see you there!