This past month I had the pleasure of attending the National Conference on Women in Engineering as a delegate representing Carleton University. This weekend long conference was hosted by the University of Ottawa and was inspired by the theme of ‘Expanding Horizons’. The aim of the weekend was to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of women in the male dominated field of engineering, as well as to better understand and be prepared for the challenges that women face in the workforce. The conference was an inspiring way for a young female engineering student to spend the weekend and included keynote speakers, breakout sessions, a banquet, and networking opportunities.
I believe that most of the delegates will agree with me when I say that the highlight of the conference was listening to the experiences of the keynote speakers. Each speaker left a lasting impression through their personal story and words of wisdom. I would like to share some of the key takeaways from the speakers which helped them to become the successful women they are today:
- Recognize opportunities to demonstrate leadership
- Seek out people who think differently than you
- Set a goal – evaluate the tools you will need to attain it
- Be prepared – manage risk, commit, speak with credibility
- Don’t be afraid to change course based on your experiences
- Accept that you cannot control everything
- Be involved in your community
While at the conference, delegates had the opportunity to network with students from other universities from all across Canada (coast to coast!) This was a great way to talk about their respective engineering societies and to share ideas about how to increase the involvement and enrolment of women within engineering.
This conference made me feel very proud to be a woman in engineering. I can say with great certainty that NCWIE brought together future leaders of the engineering community and I am very hopeful for the opportunities which lie ahead for each and every one of these delegates.