Mental health struggles can happen to anyone. Being in a negative situation for too long is bound to have its effects, and sometimes it takes a lot of work to undo that damage. In many cases, mental health struggles are a result of one specific situation, or a toxic boss or co-worker, something easy to pinpoint. In STEM, that can be true, but even more so, women have seen a higher rate of mental health struggles because of more industry-wide issues. There’s still a stigma, in some places, that women don’t belong in STEM professions or that women are not going to be as smart or as well-educated as men.
Topics: Gender Balance, STEM, STEM, Gender Balance, Communication, Community, Choice, Resilience, Mentoring, Coaching, Culture, Networking, Discussion, Mindfulness, Change, Collaboration, Emotional Intelligence, Self-Awareness, Empathy, Gender Pay Gap, Confidence, Challenges, Career Development, Empowerment, Mentor, Inclusion, Diversity, Organizational Culture, Corporate Culture, D&I, Gender Parity, Equity, STEM Women, STEM Leadership, Female Representation STEM, Hiring Women in STEM, Strong Women
In 1920, women earned the right to vote. In 1963,
congress passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, protecting women from being paid a lower rate than men for substantially similar work. As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it became illegal to discriminate in employment based on race, sex, color, religion, and national origin. It’s now 2023 and women have been making progress towards equality in the workplace for over 100 years now. While there’s still room for major improvements, women have come a long way in the workplace.
Topics: Gender Balance, STEM, STEM, Gender Balance, Women, Career, Women in STEM, Annual Theme, Equal Pay, Change, Making a Difference, Gender Pay Gap, Challenges, Career Development, Organizational Culture, D&I, Gender Parity, Equity, Organizational Change, STEM Women, STEM Leadership, Female Representation STEM, Hiring Women in STEM, International Women's Day, Women's History Month, Strong Women, Strong World
WEST’s Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series has been incredibly popular. Our first Career Possibilities event of 2023 gave around 100 people the opportunity to learn about STEM communications positions from people that were currently working in that area. We’re thrilled to see the turnout for these events consistently increasing, allowing more and more STEM professionals, and STEM professionals-to-be an opportunity to prepare themselves for their next career move.
Recently, YW Boston collaborated with WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology), a Boston-based learning community that provides a powerful forum and supportive environment for early and mid-career women in STEM. Both organizations work at the intersection of race and gender and seek to uplift women and women of color. In a recent Zoom call, YW Boston President and CEO, Beth Chandler, was interviewed by Elena Spencer, Vice President of WEST’s Board of Directors. In the candid conversation, Beth and Elena discussed various topics, including how to support women in STEM, YW Boston’s Parity on Board, and returning to the office.
Considering a job or career change can be daunting, or it can be the most exciting life change you plan in a year. The difference is in how you approach making your career change. You could jump in blindly and hope to stumble on the right job, hope that your new position is a good fit for you and that you find a position you can finally call your career, but hope isn’t a plan. Starting your career change process with the Career Possibilities Panel & Speed Networking series put on by WEST and sponsored by Gilead Sciences can be. This series features panels with specialized STEM experiences. Each event gives panelists the opportunity to share about their backgrounds, experiences, and current jobs, as well as giving attendees the opportunity to network with the panelists and other STEM professionals.
Often we misunderstand confidence to be a magical feeling that we either possess or it will elude us forever. We then find ourselves wondering how we can create this magical feeling of confidence. However, in reality, confidence is less of a magical gift and more a result of the everyday work of taking on difficult things, learning, failing, growing, and succeeding. In other words, it is not a question of whether you are a confident person or not, but a result of showing up courageously and authentically to things that feel hard (even impossible), scare us, and doing our best. Repeatedly showing up in those difficult situations courageously would slowly build that trust for you in your abilities, and that’s what confidence in self is: a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment. Confidence is an outcome of courage, not the other way around. This is what Pallavi Srivastava will focus on in her workshop for the WEST community “Nurturing Confidence: The Path Through Courage & Authenticity.”
There’s a stigma associated with being an introvert. People say introverts are more often shy, soft-spoken, and stay to themselves; “they” say introverts are not good public speakers, team leaders, or marketers. Sure, people say these things, but how true are they really? If the true definition of an introvert is simply that they are re-energized by spending quiet time with themselves, then what do any of those characteristics or skills have to do with being introverted?
Topics: Career, Interview, Life, You, Mindfulness, Leading Ourselves, Self-Awareness, Career Development, Career Possibilities, Empowerment, Self-Reflection, #WESTevent, STEM Women, STEM Leadership, Strong Women, Strong World, Introvert
Let’s get uncomfortable for a second. Have you ever noticed something about a perfect stranger that made you think a certain way about them? What about when you look in the mirror? There’s so much to say about the things we focus on when we first meet a new person or see ourselves each day. If you stop and think about those thoughts, you’ll notice what’s called your unconscious bias. These are things you think, but don’t necessarily know that often change your perception. Not all unconscious biases are prejudicial, but none of them help you to truly listen and know another person.
Topics: Communication, Coaching, Culture, Discussion, Career Path, Career Development, Empowerment, Inclusion, Diversity, #WESTevent, Change Management, #WESTorg, Corporate Culture, D&I, Equity, Conversations
WEST is excited to continue its Career Possibilities & Speed Networking series with it’s upcoming event focusing on legal career paths. While legal opportunities aren’t the obvious STEM route, there are so many opportunities to grow a very successful legal career with a STEM background. The panelists for this event are prime examples of following a passion for both legal work and the advancing of science and technology in our world.
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