As an advocate for women in engineering (WIE), I often write of the importance to mentor and network. I’ve especially advised that a good place to start is to get involved with the IEEE and its subsection, Women in Microwaves (WIM).
A good example of a helpful networking event is the recent WIE luncheon held at the IEEE Coastal Los Angeles Section Technical Symposium (CLASTECH) last fall. My fellow WIE colleague, Vesna Radisic, and I tried something new this year. To broaden awareness, we wrote up a flyer advertising the WIE networking luncheon and its benefits, and even offered a $10 discount code that several women took advantage of.
The flyer emphasized that expanding our connections and engaging in dialogue benefits us in many ways, including peer support for career advice, mentoring for career advancement, friendship and general camaraderie, recruiting opportunities, and exposure to volunteer roles in the IEEE. We also included information on the WIE and WIM organizations and contact information through the websites and Facebook pages.
The event was a success, with a dozen plus women arriving for our luncheon. Even Karen Nguyen, chairperson of the IEEE Coastal Los Angeles Section, joined the group. From my observations, it seemed that many who came found it a meaningful experience.
Sometimes making a start at getting involved can be as simple as showing up for a lunch event like CLASTECH and having a conversation. One or more of these encounters can then evolve through email and LinkedIn into a valuable connection for mentoring, advice, and even friendship.
You can learn more about WIE/WIM at http://www.mtt.org/women-in-microwaves. There is never a better time to get started than now!