Today was my first day at the SWE conference and it was fabulous. The sun was out and everyone was enthusiastic and ready to go. I’ll try to blog about the things Barbara hasn’t talked about… she came armed with a fabulous netbook so it might be tough to keep up, but here goes.
After the breakfast and keynote speaker, I went to the session on Men as Diversity Partners. It featured a panel of great male executives from Kellogg, Genentech, the US Navy and others speaking about how to be an ally and get men involved in diversity efforts. They all stressed the importance of keeping employee interest groups open to everyone, working with groups like SWE and NBSE, and learning together about the importance of diversity. One of them said that even though we’re frequently told to do our best at work, the majority of employees surveyed don’t feel like they’re allowed to do their best. Being an ally means enabling all of your employees, regardless of your own potentially hidden biases.
I ate lunch with some of the Spirit girls, then sat in on the Region I section meeting. Communication was a big topic. We keep looking for ways to improve the region i website and make sure it’s got what every member needs. If anyone has suggestions, let me know!
The next session I went to was about networking, lead by some fabulous ladies from Northrop Grumman. They went over basic DOs and DON’Ts of networking and talked about places and ways to make contacts. Then we played Networking Taboo! Taboo is a party game where you talk about a word without saying what it is. In today’s game, we were given cards with job descriptions. We couldn’t talk about what job we were looking for, specifically. One person was given the CEO card, responsible for hiring people in various positions. Guess who drew that one? Me! I didn’t do too well… I had thirty people to talk to about skills to fill ten positions, all without revealing that I was the CEO. I accidentally hired a janitor as HR director because she said she liked “making a nice place for people to come to work.”
Tonight is hospitality rooms, it’s like a dozen parties and another great chance to meet more engineers! I’m really looking forward to it.