On May 21st, the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference (WIE ILC) held their 5th anniversary conference in San Jose, CA. This conference aimed to provide women in technology the ability to form a community and personal development for any career level. The mission for this year’s conference was to inspire, engage and advance women in engineering.  The annual conference was organized by Nita Patel, the Conference Chair and our wonderful IEEE NH member. The conference was attended by our Section Chair Kat Regan and Vice President Hayley Feyh. The conference was a two-day long whirlwind of workshops, keynote speakers, and mixers. The following are the best takeaways from the speaker’s and workshops during the conference.

Paula Tolliver, VP & CIO of Intel had great advice on self-improvement. She stated that you should not define yourself by a degree or job title because being too narrowly focused limits opportunities and allowing for flexibility and change drives success. When making a point, don’t over-explain yourself to convince the other party because this shows a lack of confidence. Forgo caveats (but, I guess, maybe) that suggests a wavering level of confidence, credibility, or success and choose an affirmative language style.

Lorraine Martin, VP of Lockheed Martin had tips for dealing with negativity. During her keynote speech, she shared how being positive is assuming goodwill in any situation. Negative comments and events will always happen. It’s not in our control what others choose to do or say, and it is not our job to change someone else. However, you do not own any negative comments, and it can become a learning opportunity rather than letting it affect you negatively.

Candy Barrone, CEO of Empowered Strong, had an empowering talk on “Saying Yes to More Time”. Her best points were to take care of yourself (physically & emotional), have no more than 2 priority items a day, and get your personal ROI (Return On Investment). When “time-wasters” appear, ask yourself “is this someone else’s issue or mine?” and “is there a need right now?”. These are important questions to consider because saying “yes” to every issue or request can put off your own tasks or goals.

Jim Lukaszewski’s, a renowned Public Relations Expert, talk focused on being heard and making your words count! He also discussed the importance of positive\negative language, talking to time, and the 3-minute conversation drill. Jim has all the same resources from the conference available on his website.

While many keynote speakers provided a well of personal development advice, others stressed the need to increase women participation in Engineering and other related fields. Emily Moore, the Managing Director of the mining consulting firm Hatch, expressed the need for female engineers to spark new ideas and innovation in the mining industry. Responding to mining’s is slow response to change from external pressures, the BHP Billiton mining company promised to eliminate the female/male participation gap to address the skill shortage with a statement that, to do things differently, companies need to hire new and different people.  Diversity brings new insights and change.

The IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference was a wonderful opportunity to network with fellow colleagues and the keynote speakers. Anyone who is looking to advance their career or be part of a larger community to make an impact should consider attending the conference. Please see the links below for more resources on the conference and speakers mentioned above.


WIE ILC:  http://ieee-wie-ilc.org/

Jim Lukaszewski: http://www.e911.com/

Candy Barrone: http://www.sayyesquiz.com/