Empowering Women and Gender-Diverse individuals  through Mid-Career Transitions

June 07, 2024

30 by 30Women in EngineeringDiversity Equity InclusionMental HealthNetworkingEngineers CanadaKeynoteAllyshipCareer Advancement

Why attend WES 2024?

WES co-chairs Ammu Naduvath and Anam Kazim
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WES co-chairs Ammu Naduvath and Anam Kazim

Hear from 2024's Co-Chairs

We interviewed our 2024 WES co-chairs Ammu Naduvath and Anam Kazim to get their insight into the exciting plans for this year’s summit and how attending WES 2024 can support your career!

Q: What inspired the creation of the Women in Engineering Summit 2024 and what are the main goals of this event?

Ammu: Women in Engineering Summit 2024 was born out of the aspiration by our founder Claudia Gomez-Villeneuve to dismantle barriers and promote inclusivity in the engineering realm. We were inspired by the incredible talent and untapped potential of women and gender-diverse individuals in the field. Our primary aim is to create a vibrant platform where empowerment, progress, and creativity intersect. Through engaging sessions, mentorship opportunities, and networking gatherings, we hope to foster a community where diversity is not just embraced but celebrated. Ultimately, our vision is to ignite lasting change within the industry and pave the way for a more equitable and flourishing engineering community.

Q: How does the Women In Engineering Summit 2024 conference aim to empower and support women and gender diverse individuals in the engineering field?

Anam: The Women In Engineering Summit 2024 conference is an incredible opportunity for women and gender-diverse individuals in the engineering field, like myself, to come together and support each other. This conference aims to empower and uplift us through comprehensive programs, representation, and a supportive network. The workshops and panels offered will provide us with valuable skills and resources to succeed in our careers. It’s truly inspiring to see successful individuals as role models and to have the chance to network with like-minded professionals who understand our experiences. I believe that by addressing biases and barriers in the industry, we can make a real positive change for future generations.

Q: The theme for this year’s summit is “Empowering Women and Gender-Diverse individuals through Mid-Career Transitions. What motivated the selection of this theme, what key issues will it address?

Anam: I am particularly intrigued by the summit’s theme this year. I have been through Mid-Career Transitions, I know firsthand the challenges that can arise during this phase of our careers. It’s important to have support and resources in place to navigate these transitions successfully. This theme acknowledges and addresses the issues we may encounter, such as overcoming gender bias and discrimination, finding work-life balance, and aligning our careers with our values. I am eager to learn from the experiences of others and gain the tools and strategies needed to make the most of my mid-career transition.

Q: How does the summit plan to facilitate mid-career transitions and provide support for professional growth and development?

Ammu: At the core of the summit lies our commitment to guiding professionals through critical mid-career transitions, equipping them with the resources and support they need to navigate these pivotal moments with confidence and resilience. Through immersive workshops, inspiring keynote speeches, and interactive panels, our goal is to illuminate pathways for personal and professional growth. By nurturing a culture of lifelong learning and adaptability, we empower attendees to view change as an opportunity for advancement, driving progress within the engineering landscape.

Q: How does the summit plan to reach and engage with a diverse audience, including engineering students and professionals, to maximize its impact? What are will attendees gain from attending WES 2024?

Ammu: Women in Engineering Summit 2024 is dedicated to ensuring that everyone, regardless of background or experience level, feels welcome and valued. We’re employing a multifaceted outreach strategy to engage engineering students, early-career professionals, and industry veterans alike, broadening our impact across diverse demographics. Through targeted outreach efforts, strategic partnerships, and Essay contests, our marketing co-leads Andrea and Monica are striving to expand participation and create a vibrant community of knowledge exchange and collaboration. Attendees can anticipate gaining invaluable insights, forging meaningful connections, and leaving inspired and empowered to effect positive change within their spheres of influence.

Q: What’s the importance of male allyship and why should those identifying as male consider attending the summit?

Anam: While this summit is primarily focused on empowering women and gender-diverse individuals, it is equally important to have male allies in the engineering industry. As a woman of colour in the engineering field and a first-generation immigrant in Canada, I have encountered various forms of bias and discrimination throughout my career. However, I have also had the privilege of working with male allies who have been supportive and instrumental in creating an inclusive environment. Attending this summit gives me the opportunity to further understand the barriers faced by underrepresented individuals and to engage in meaningful conversations with male allies. Together, we can work towards breaking down barriers, promoting gender equality, and creating a more inclusive engineering industry.

Q: How can companies and organizations better support and promote gender equality and diversity in the engineering sector?

Anam: I believe that companies can play a vital role in promoting gender equality and diversity in the engineering sector. It starts with implementing inclusive policies that foster an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. Diverse hiring practices are key to ensuring equal opportunities for underrepresented individuals. Mentorship and sponsorship programs can provide guidance and support for career advancement. Training and development opportunities can help address skill gaps and promote growth. Employee resource groups create a sense of community and enable diverse voices to be heard. Flexible work arrangements accommodate the unique needs of individuals. Transparency in reporting allows for accountability and progress tracking. Collaboration with industry and academic institutions can foster partnerships that enhance diversity initiatives. By taking these steps, companies can create an inclusive culture that attracts and retains diverse talent, drives innovation, and contributes to a more equitable engineering industry.

Q: How will the participation of our current and past sponsors enhance the summit experience for attendees?

Ammu: Our sponsors are essential partners in making the summit a truly enriching experience for all involved. By collaborating with organizations that share our dedication to diversity and inclusion, we amplify our collective impact and extend our reach to a broader audience. Sponsors play a crucial role in enhancing the quality and diversity of our programming, facilitating networking opportunities, and ensuring the event’s accessibility. Through their support and engagement, we’re able to cultivate an inclusive environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, and transformative change within the engineering community.

Q: What are some of the key challenges that women and gender-diverse individuals face in the engineering industry, how does the summit address these changes?

Anam: Through my personal experiences, I am well aware of the challenges that women and gender-diverse individuals face in the engineering industry. Gender bias and lack of representation are still prevalent, making it difficult to overcome career advancement barriers. Work-life integration can be a challenge, especially for those with diverse responsibilities and commitments. Lack of supportive networks can leave individuals feeling isolated. Confidence and imposter syndrome can hinder personal and professional growth. Structural barriers and systemic inequalities persist, affecting the retention and attrition rates of underrepresented individuals. However, I am optimistic about the impact the Women In Engineering Summit can have on addressing these challenges. The specialized programming, networking opportunities, and resources offered at the summit will raise awareness, provide support, and advocate for change. By coming together, sharing our experiences, and supporting one another, we can overcome these challenges and pave the way for a more inclusive and diverse engineering industry.

Q: What opportunities does the summit provide for networking, mentorship, and professional development within the engineering community?

Ammu: Within the Women in Engineering Summit, attendees have access to a rich tapestry of networking, mentorship, and professional development opportunities tailored specifically, to the engineering community. Whether forging new connections with peers, seeking guidance from seasoned mentors, or delving into workshops and panels exploring cutting-edge trends, participants can leverage these avenues to enrich their careers and broaden their horizons within the field.

Q: Looking ahead, how does the summit plan to evolve and adapt to continue making a meaningful impact in the engineering industry?

Ammu: As the engineering industry continues to evolve, the summit remains committed to staying at the forefront of change. By adapting its programming to address emerging challenges and opportunities, incorporating feedback from attendees, and expanding its reach to engage a broader audience, the summit ensures it remains a relevant and impactful force for driving positive change in the engineering industry.

Q: How do you see the role of diversity and inclusion shaping the future of engineering industries?

Anam: Diversity and inclusion are essential for shaping the future of engineering industries. Embracing diversity allows for different viewpoints and ideas to be heard, fostering innovation and creativity. By including individuals from various backgrounds and experiences, we can enhance problem-solving capabilities and generate new solutions to complex challenges. Studies have shown that diverse teams outperform homogeneous ones, leading to increased productivity and performance. Inclusive decision-making processes ensure that different voices are considered and valued, resulting in more well-rounded and comprehensive outcomes. Creating an environment that values diversity attracts and retains top talent, ensuring a robust pipeline of engineers for the future. Additionally, as engineering industries play a significant role in addressing global challenges and needs, having diverse perspectives is essential for developing sustainable and equitable solutions. By prioritizing diversity and inclusion, we fulfill our social responsibilities and create a more equitable and successful engineering industry

We hope you’re excited as we are for June 7, 2024! Register here now! Or if you’d like to help us make the Summit a success, we are always looking for dedicated volunteers.

WES 2024 Sponsors

June 07, 2024

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Days :
Hours :
Minutes :
Seconds
Sorry you miss it out! Subscribe for our upcoming Women in Engineering Summit Events!