EECO Asks Why’s first series was focused on women in engineering. Why this group you ask? Admittingly this was a selfish series as I had a goal of finding inspiration to share with my daughters (8 and 10 years old). As I’m watching them grow, I have the normal concerns that all parents do and try to encourage them to be bold in their thinking and teaching them the only limitations in life are the ones they put on themselves. Ultimately, I wanted them to be aware of the possibilities that exist for their futures.
So, I set out on a journey to find women willing to share their stories and provide inspiration. To say this goal was crushed would be a massive understatement. The guest list was epic and covered experience levels from newly graduating college to executive level responsibility. Several consistent areas emerged as the interviews were being conducted:
- Every guest has a passion for their work that is unwavering.
- Headwinds existed for each, but they did not let those define them and hit the challenges head on.
- They ALL are finding ways to pay it forward and support other women in their journeys.
As I worked thru the interviews, I found myself investing time in their recommended resources and began challenging myself. This was an area of education for me and it also made me think back over the course of my career and the powerful women in industry that I’ve had the opportunity to work with directly.
One that stands out is a reliability engineer in the pulp and paper industry. She approached complex projects head on and never gave up until the desired goal was achieved. Another was a young engineer that I worked with when I first graduated college. Our end user had a massive fire and, as we were dispatched to help determine how we could get their power online, I’ll never forget her “I got this” attitude. She went above and beyond in servicing the customer, exceeding their expectations. Those, and many others, made a strong impact on me. This series put an exclamation point on what I see as a great opportunity to support more women in engineering.
The capstone of the series gave actionable items we all could consider in the future. Areas that stood out were:
- Evaluate recruiting and find ways to get exposure to larger sets of candidates.
- Ensuring everyone on your teams’ voice is heard. This often starts at the top and cascades down.
- Evaluate events and team building activities to ensure everyone has an option to participate (example – not everyone plays golf or can attend post work events so being mindful and adapt where possible).
- Be intentional about asking others for guidance and truly seek to learn without alterative motives. True humility is rare and makes a tremendous impact.
- Everyone has ownership and has an opportunity to step up. Remember when you a point one finger there are three pointing back at you. Own the solution.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to create this series and hope that it reaches those that are searching for the next steps in their lives and/or careers. The women interviewed are my heroes and I do hope you take the time to listen to their wonderful stories.