I have been thinking deeply about how women in STEM can have more seats at the table and not the kiddie table where one goes to do tidying up and office housework. The table where their voices are heard, acknowledged, and acted upon. Working in tech myself, I notice particularly how women of color are under-represented and white men are over-represented. Is this a result of the ways in which women are conditioned since childhood? The subtle messages they receive again and again? Are women being excluded in important conversations and meetings? Are their thoughts discarded or ignored? Are they not being given credit for their contributions? Is a lack of mentorship and sponsorship the problem? Is the motherhood bias compiled in under-represented fields? Do women of color experience this even more than any other intersectionality? In many ways women are made to feel as if they don’t belong and speaking up about it can come at the detriment of one’s job and security. However, this narrative needs to change. If we want more women leaders and more of them at the top, we need to be able to approach these conversations calmly and strategically. We need a framework for having inclusive conversations and with that framework we need to use it as a piece of workplace culture that emanates throughout the rest of the organization.
Topics: Events, Leadership, Women, Career, Communication, Network, Culture, Women in STEM, Upcoming Events, Professional, Tools, Trust, Conflict Resolution, Challenges, Inclusion, Ally, Allyship, Strong Women, Strong World
Another day headed into work, and you’re stressed about it before you even leave the house. You get to work and find that something just isn’t going your way, and you haven’t even finished your morning coffee yet. You’ve been stressed at work, about work, just thinking about work for weeks now and you know something’s got to give. Finally, it does. Your boss sends an email that just sends you over the edge and you decide you just can’t deal with it right now and take an early lunch. At lunch, you find yourself sitting there thinking, “It’s just me. This job doesn’t seem this stressful to anyone else, there must be something wrong with me.”
Mary Cheyne recounts sitting in a corporate meeting with approximately 25 other people, after a major issue with a project they had been working on. Every person around her had spoken up and provided their input, except her. She managed to leave the meeting without having shared any of her ideas, no matter how brilliant they may have been, because she was afraid of the judgment of everyone else in the room. Feeling ashamed, disappointed in herself, and unable to get out of her own way, she recognized something had to change.
I have been thinking a lot about the success of women who work in Engineering, Science, and Technology from a post-pandemic lens. As more and more women considered dropping back, or out of the workforce in the past two years, I began to wonder what strategies and behaviors could be used to keep them in their professional careers. There is a large body of work dedicated to uncovering research behind women in the workforce and their reasons for leaving yet not much has been written about the support systems women have that enable their rise in the workforce to be successful. I decided to interview a couple of women in engineering, science, and technology to learn a little bit more about the workforce policies that helped them rise and the kinds of people that have lifted, mentored, or supported them along their journey including both professionally and personally.
Topics: Gender Balance, STEM, Gender Balance, Career, Interview, Work Life Balance, Success, Network, Inspire, Mom, Leader, Women in STEM, Working Remotely, Professional, Relationships, Resources, Solutions, Connect, Career Path, Values, Support, Impact, Career Possibilities, Empowerment, New Opportunities, Learn, Inclusion, Diversity, #WESTorg, Parenting, Equity, STEM Women, Female Representation STEM, Hiring Women in STEM, Experience, Ally, Allyship, Strategies, Reflect, Reimagine, Emerge Stronger
No, we're not kidding. While we at WEST certainly take pride in our ability to evolve with the times and seemingly constant fluctuations in climate and covid alike, we're also not above a bit of regression. That is to say, resuming a form of normalcy that moves to bring our community closer together once again.
We hear all the time-- whether it's through frantic google searches or paid career coach sessions-- the bulleted list of what makes a stellar employee. Organized, fast learner, conversational french... Our motivation to stand out as exemplary working individuals while still enforcing malleability has offered us little time to think about the other side: how can a boss help me grow and reach my goals?
Elena Spencer is Chief of Staff to the Chief Scientific Officer for the Inflammation & Immunology Research Unit at Pfizer. After 15 years as a bench scientist, she pivoted to R&D Strategy & Operations in 2016. Elena is also co-founder, President, and CEO of Kendall Square Orchestra, a community organization that seeks to connect science and technology professionals through music. She has been an avid volunteer at WEST events for 3 years and was the recipient of the WEST “Making a Difference in the Community” award in 2020 and “Women of the Future” award in 2018. I recently had the privilege to speak with Elena about her involvement with the WEST community, her career journey, advice for people making career transitions, and how she finds a work-life balance. - Emma Sullaway
Dr. Anne Thessen is a researcher at the Center for Health Artificial Intelligence of University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center. Anne is well known for her work on data infrastructure and the application of semantic technologies and machine learning in biodiversity and earth science. She has been an avid volunteer at WEST events for over 10 years and was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2017. I recently had the privilege to speak with Anne about her journey, her involvement with the WEST community, and the advice she has for people considering a career transition. - Emma Sullaway
This year’s National Women’s Month theme is “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope." According to the National Women’s History Alliance, as written on History.com, this theme is "both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history."
March 1st marks the beginning of Women's History Month and what better way to celebrate the month than to attend a WEST Broadway event. Don’t be left off stage.
It is not too late to join the first event on March 10th with award-winning Arena Theater artistic director: Molly Smith, and actors Nikki Renée Daniels who recently played Angelica Schuyler on Broadway’s Hamilton and Pearl Sun of Broadway’s Come From Away, If/Then. This will be an exciting interactive event that you don’t want to miss. Tickets won’t last long.