Three Action Items Post IEEE WIE ILC
By Jennifer Legaspi, Applications and Verification Engineering, ON Semiconductor
WIE ILC has a “special atmosphere to connect,” says Leilei Song of Intel Corporation. Sonia Leon chimes in, “[it’s] easier [for women] to exchange tips.” Women engineers can understand how valuable this conference can be. Speaking with Rose Nemeth of T-Mobile it’s clear that somethings haven’t changed much. “It’s a career field that’s not well explored by women…In our classes we’re one of two women.” Several years later, the running joke at in the electrical engineering department at my alma mater was that if you see another woman in the classroom, you were probably in the wrong room for your electrical engineering class.
Despite the challenges that we still tackle to this day, after attending WIE ILC, you’re sure to be motivated, energized, and ready to tackle the world’s problems. I know I am, but I also know that I am going to be a bit jet lagged upon my return and have work to catch up on. To keep the ball rolling and take advantage of the inspiration you received on these last two days, and complete these three action items.
One of the great things about WIE ILC was the ample amount of networking time integrated into the schedule. Not only that, but the structure allowed even the shyest of us to have the opportunity to meet others who could get us out of our shells. “Networking is what I’m most excited about,” says Ingrid Segarra of the IEEE Puerto Rico and Caribbean section.
You swapped business cards, wrote down each other’s names, and maybe even got to share stories with so many amazing women and supportive men. Make sure you connect via email, LinkedIn, or any other communication application as soon as possible to strengthen those links. Write a friendly note that can lead to more conversation or set a calendar reminder to reconnect in a month or so and stay in touch.
Perhaps you attended Leadership Presence for Women Changing the World and are going to get to know your coworkers’ stories or you attended the panel on Differentiating Yourself with a Multidimensional Career and learned how to make your schedule work for you and your hobbies. Put those new skills into practice as soon as possible. Get to know your coworkers stories, actually utilize your calendar, and adopt some new practices into your routine. When thinking of which practices to adopt, reflect on your weaknesses. Decide which new practices will have the most impact for you and which will be most likely to stick in the long run.
Share the knowledge with coworkers and colleagues. You can give a quick summary to co-workers at your next team meeting, run a hands on activity that you learned at a workshop, or even mentor another person using what you learned. If you are speaking to co-workers that have never seemed interested in supporting women, try to share an activity and have discussion. They might have just been waiting for an opportunity to open the dialogue. Who knows, maybe next year they’ll attend WIE ILC with you.