Hi Region B!
This is Kristi Chu (UCSD) and Ariel Willey (Harvey Mudd), two of the SWE Future Leaders (SWEFLs) that attended the Annual Conference for Women Engineers (WE13) in Baltimore, MD. We attended an all-day Collegiate Leadership Institute (CLI) and we’d like to share a bit about what we learned.
Ariel’s expectations were high for the Conference and CLI before she arrived, but they were exceeded by the time she had to head back to school, and Kristi was too excited to think about what was going to actually happen at the conference or CLI.
CLI was hosted by Aleen Bayard and Sharon Dauk, both successful and respectable women who were there to share their experience as women in the work force. Our hosts focused on being a leader in the work force as a woman, and presented a lot of good tips. They defined several different types of leadership styles: coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pace-setting, and coaching. As leaders we should know the different leadership styles and how or when we should use them to be most successful.
The SWEFLs were reminded of how helpful a personality test such as Myers and Briggs can be to learn about yourself and your strengths. Determining your leadership style (dominance, influence, steadiness, or conscientiousness) can help you become a better leader. Determining your communication style (active, questioning, accepting, or thoughtful) can help you learn to communicate more effectively. Understanding that most of a listener’s satisfaction is based on the speaker’s style, and not on content, made us realize that we should be aware of our style. We should also be aware that we may not be learning as much as we could be when we are listening.
Females in the workplace often lose confidence, and shouldn’t. We should be aware of the statistics, and realize that men use their charm in every aspect of life. Females should also (but we have to watch the fine line)! We don’t have to become a “man in heels.”
We realized that setting personal and team goals is helpful as a leader, and that encouraging your team to “come with you” is often better than dictating to them. Ask how you can help, and be humble by saying things like, “I’m sorry,” “I’m not sure,” “You’re right,” “I appreciate you.” Be the boss that makes your employees want to be better, and advance their interests.
Some general tips Ariel came up with throughout the conference are:
• Be sure to speak into the microphone, and speak loudly enough (whether into a microphone or not) so that the people in the back of the room can hear you clearly.
• Be cautious of chewing gum, especially on stage!
• Don’t speak to quickly or too slowly, and be aware of your audience.
• Try to smile instead of frown, even when you are just sitting in front of people – we tend to have stern expressions when we aren’t told to smile, so be aware!
• If you are giving a speech, or have planned something to say, practice it so you don’t stumble over your words!
Some general things Kristi learned from the conference:
• Networking is how you are going to succeed in life. To get an internship or job, networking is the way to go because it allows for people to re-look your resume.
• The imposter syndrome (when you think you do not deserve success) does apply to women, and as women we should realize that we should receive credit for our work, and that we do work hard for our success.
• You can never have enough resumes.
• When at the career fair, and you hand in your resume after having a great conversation with the hiring representative, ask for their contact information so that you can follow up with them.
Overall the experience was enlightening and enjoyable. Everyone should consider attending WE14 in Los Angeles and the Regional Conference this year, February 28 to March 2, in San Diego!