Dallas SWE members and officers attended the 2015 Region C Conference February 6-8! Hosted by the University of Texas at Austin SWE section, it was a full weekend of learning, networking, and celebrating successes in our Region (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) over the past year. You can visit the conference website here.
On Friday, Dallas SWE members carpooled down I-35 and arrived in Austin to find a welcoming Casino Night social hour. Guests learned how to play Blackjack, Poker, Roulette, and Craps. At the end of the evening, we cashed in our chips for raffle tickets: over 20 drawings were held for the prizes! The evening was a great opportunity to network with collegiates and professionals.
Saturday’s breakfast keynote speakers included Peter Zornio, Chief Strategy Officer at Emerson Process and Polly Bessel, Vice President of Transport Engineering at AT&T. They offered technology updates from their respective industries and some inspirational words of encouragement to the next generation of women engineers. After breakfast, several speakers from Region C leadership conducted a joint Region meeting (professionals and collegiates). Region business topics covered communication strategies (email, website, blogs, social media), the Region C Tactical Plan, an update from our SWE Senators, introduction of a proposed new SWE logo, and the announcement of the Region C FY16 officer slate. A lot of really cool things are happening in SWE!
Professionals and collegiates then split off into separate meetings. In the professional meeting we got updates on financials and membership for the region, voted on a financial proposal, and then broke off into some brainstorming groups on the topics of leadership pipeline planning, society committee participation, and leadership retreat planning for the summer of 2015. The brainstorming sessions were a very productive way to capture feedback from section representatives on these important region topics. After the professional meeting ended, the first workshop sessions began and the career fair opened to conference attendees!
During lunch Saturday, SWE Speaker of the Senate Brittney Elko delivered the FY15 State of SWE address. We also got to hear FY16 Region Conference Bid presentations from the University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University. Your Dallas SWE Section Representatives will vote for the location of the FY16 conference in next few weeks. After lunch, there were three more workshop session slots to attend and the career fair continued. There were over 20 companies present at this year’s career fair!
In the evening, professionals enjoyed a networking social hour at the conference host hotel before taking a short shuttle ride over to the Etter-Harbin Alumni Center for the Award Banquet. Guest speaker Anita Gale gave an inspiring and charismatic address, giving her insights from her long career in engineering on the Space Shuttle Program and her involvement in international aerospace design competitions that encourage young students to pursue STEM careers. The award presentations included section awards for successful membership campaigns and outreach programs as well as individual awards for career success and SWE service. Dallas SWE Section Representative and Webmaster Shelley Stracener received a Governor’s Choice Award from Region C Governor Dianne Beever for her service to Region C as their Webmaster and Social Media Manager in FY14 and FY15. Check out the live Tweeting she did from the conference at the Region C Twitter page!
Here are a few photos of our Dallas SWE group at the conference! For more photos, check out the Region C Facebook photo album here. If you missed out on the conference, you can find the SWE business meeting slides here.
This was the first Region C Conference some Dallas SWE members had attended and their reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
“Loved my first Region C conference. The keynote speaker from Boeing was great. The seminar by the Biotech company CEO was especially good. She was motivating us to try new opportunities that we generally consider ourselves not ready for. I liked that. All the logistics for such a huge event was planned out well and everything went on seamlessly.The seminar on ’10 things to do with your money’ was very basic and I think addressed the student group rather than the professional group. That could have been a little better. “~ Shilpa Nagaraj
“What I liked the most was the brainstorming we did during our road trip to Austin – looking forward to implementing those ideas in the coming months! It was also great to find out how other SWE sections plus another region (Region I) are doing, and get ideas from them. I also enjoyed getting an advance look at the proposed new logo for Society of Women Engineers.I would definitely recommend attending future region conferences to other members. It is a great way to meet and network with other members of Region C, both professional and collegiate.
~ Barbara Read, Dallas SWE President
Here are some ways to get involved in SWE at the Region and Society level: