Aspire to Inspire

Recently, a group of engineers from the Mammotome team attended SWE21, the world’s largest conference for women in engineering and technology hosted by SWE (Society of Women Engineers). Our associates who attended share their excitement around attending the conference and what it means to them as women in engineering.

What made you excited about the swe21 conference?

Daniela Rodriquez, Supplier Management Engineer

During college, I was very involved in SWE and had the opportunity to attend the annual conference a couple of times. For me being in SWE was the highlight of my time at college. Engineering is a male-dominated career and having the opportunity to meet successful women in the field gives you the power to keep pushing forward. The SWE annual conference is the ‘Super Bowl’ for women engineers. A rush of nostalgia and happiness hit me when I heard that we had the opportunity to attend. To be on the other side, representing Danaher and Mammotome, was an absolute privilege and something that I hope to continue doing for as long as possible.

Sheelpi Pati, Primary Design Engineer

Listening to influential women share how they have embraced themselves on their life journey was remarkable and empowering. SWE21 was an excellent opportunity to develop professional skills, such as management and designing, as various hands-on sessions were offered. Last but not least, it was an honor to meet women from all over the world with diverse backgrounds and a common goal of succeeding in engineering. Altogether, this infused a sense of belongingness.

What key takeaways did you receive from the sessions/speakers?

Julie Felsheim, Quality Engineer

First, ask for the feedback you need. A few sessions mentioned the Harvard Business Review article that describes a study that used computerized text analysis to quantify the differences in developmental feedback received by men and women. While this feedback was generally positive, it concluded that men tended to receive more actionable feedback than women. This less helpful feedback can contribute to women being less likely to advance into more senior positions. The sessions I attended gave concrete and practical suggestions for responding to vague feedback. For example, being more confident when asking follow-up questions can result in more actionable feedback, such as “What behaviors do you see that demonstrate confidence to others?”

Second, be authentic. The best career for someone else may not be suitable for you. Self-reflect to determine what you enjoy, what you are good at and where those things intersect. Seek out opportunities that align with the aspects of your role that you want. Often, when you receive feedback to change a particular part of your personality (like your tone or demeanor), you can find alternative ways to address the feedback without changing or compromising your core values.

Third, figure out what you do well and what sets you apart from others and put your energy into growing that. Don’t simply focus on improving your weaknesses. Everyone has weaknesses, including executive leaders who can still be highly successful with those weaknesses. Obviously, if the weakness is vital to your role, and it’s something you enjoy, in that case, you should put energy into growing there. But if it’s not something you enjoy, it is okay to focus your efforts elsewhere and find another area to grow.

The mammotome d+i extender program strives to increase talent attraction through the advancement of current associates and their advocacy in situations that cultivate connection with potential future talent. Can you share your experience thus far as a program member?

Sheelpi Pati, Primary Design Engineer

Being an international candidate myself, I firmly believe that the D+I Extender Program has helped me grow professionally. I am thankful to Mammotome for believing in me and providing the opportunity to help grow skillfully. It infuses a sense of belongingness and unity.

Maria Roma, Associate Test Engineer

I have really enjoyed my participation in the program thus far. I think the statement, “advances associates advocacy,” perfectly encompasses the program’s goals. At first, I thought the program would be all about talent attraction and recruiting (which I am excited about!). Still, I have realized that true commitment to D+I is about more than just expanding recruiting opportunities. The commitment must start from within, giving associates the skills to be true advocates for D+I. The SWE conference, for example, really helped me have intentional conversations about the struggles specific to women in engineering, which improved my ability to advocate for women on these issues. My hope is that participation in this program will foster a more inclusive Mammotome culture.

“Aspire to inspire” was the theme of the conference. How do you plan to be an inspiration to your colleagues and future talent interested in the engineering space? Can you share your experience thus far as a program member?

Daniela Rodriquez, Supplier Management Engineer

“When I saw the Pixar short “Purl” in one of the SWE 21 sessions, I felt like that is what the conference was all about for me. Purl shows up to work only to realize that it is a male-dominated office space with no one like her. To fit in, she tries to become like her coworkers. It is a form of imposters syndrome, and it hit so close to home for me. When I started working in corporate America, I was so scared of being the new kid on the block that I would water myself down. It was not until I met a fellow coworker who was very unapologetically herself who propelled me to be my true self. In turn, I aspire to inspire other women to never water themselves down to fit in. Diversity is so much more than ethnicity; it is also about your diversity as a person. The conference reminded me that I need and want to get out there and make an impact. I would love to do an outreach activity at a local high school or middle school to talk about STEM. Aspire to Inspire is my life motto in and out of work.

Diversity and inclusion was infused throughout the conference. Why do you feel swe prioritized the topic?

Abigail Walsh, Quality Engineer

According to SWE’s website, only 13% of engineers are women. An even smaller subset of that percentage are women of color. It is critical to educate allies, inspire and give opportunities to minoritized groups in engineering, which is exactly what the SWE conference provided to attendees.

This was your first in-person event since the pandemic. Can you share how it felt to experience the conference in-person vs. Virtually?

Maria Roma, Associate Test Engineer

I started at Mammotome in December of 2020, so my entire experience thus far has been in a hybrid work environment. I love that we have embraced this new way of working. Still, a crucial part of sustaining the virtual environment is having a few key learning opportunities (such as this conference) in person. Listening to the speakers and the seminars is obviously a massive part of the conference, but perhaps the more impactful conversations were had while reflecting over dinner or on the car ride home to Cincinnati from Indianapolis.

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