September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. The WEST community is proud to be diverse and support female STEM careers and female leadership within STEM industries for women of all backgrounds. There are many, many amazing Hispanic female leaders in the STEM industries. Below are a few profiles of Hispanic women that have made major contributions to the STEM industries and are great role models for up-and-coming female STEM leaders looking for experiences they can relate to.
In July, WEST said a heartfelt thank you to the previous leadership and welcomed several new faces. Elena Spencer moved from Vice President to President, Karin von Hodenberg stepped into the Vice President role, Kristen Lorentz joined the leadership team as the Treasurer, and Jen Reilly is returning to the Clerk role. With all these new faces, WEST wants to allow our community to get to know your leadership a little better. Read our conversations with the new WEST leadership members below.
Telling your manager you need more resources or training can be awkward. You don’t want to undermine your working relationship or appear less than capable to do your job, but you know these tools will help support your success in your role. You know you need to speak with your manager about this, but how do you walk the fine line between confidently asking for support and appearing underprepared for the task at hand?
A manager needs to be equipped with an arsenal of communication skills that cover everything from explaining the goals of a project, presenting progress updates, providing subject-matter training, and so much more. The most important communication skill is the ability to give and receive feedback.
WEST’s first event in the Summertime Management Skills Series focused on the importance of a manager effectively delegating work to their team. This skill enables a manager to remove the tasks from their plate that are preventing them from focusing on their big-picture and strategic planning. Delegating also enables a team to feel engaged, challenged, and fulfilled in their work. However, it also creates the need for feedback communication. Once a manager has delegated a task, they then need to give and receive feedback from their team to ensure that their team understands the task, and has the resources they need to complete it.
When you ask someone the best thing their boss can do for them, the answer is straightforward: “Tell me what is expected of me, present me with growth opportunities, give me clear deadlines, and trust me to do my job.” If you ask them what's the worst thing their boss can do, the number one answer is: “micromanage.”
What is the connection here? Trust. As Etta Jacobs, MA, PCC, told us: “A boss who micromanages, gives their direct reports the impression that they don’t trust them to do the work.” When an employee does not feel valued for their expertise and empowered to solve problems on their own, they begin to lose interest. This leads to the number one reason employees leave their job: a bad manager.
The month of May celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. WEST's 2022-2023 annual theme is "Strong Women, Strong Science, Strong World," and these women are a perfect example that science knows no geographic or gender-based bounds. Women of Asian and Pacific Islander descent have made, and are currently making huge strides in their fields of study, and are part of the development and discoveries that are constantly changing our world for the better. These are just a few of the innumerable women of Asian or Pacific Islander heritage that have made a huge impact on our 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.
Kristine has lived all over the country, but after spending time at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute she has decided to continue to call the Greater Boston Area her home. She has spent most of her career studying cancer and working to provide solutions to cancer patients around the world. She came to WEST initially in 2014 for a Career Possibilities Panel focusing on R&D careers. After loving her first experience with WEST, Kristine continued to stay involved and has helped develop events, served as an Advisory Board member and in 2022 joined the Board and the mentoring committee.
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