Tuesday, August 6, 2019

FY20 Summer Planning Meeting Agenda

Contributor: Theresa Krack, FY20 President

Are you getting excited for FY20?!??! We have our first section operations event coming up this Saturday, August 10, 2019 – our FY20 Summer Planning meeting!

This event is open to all section members and thanks to our fiscal year sponsor, Honeywell, lunch from Panera will be provided!

The goal of the summer planning meeting is to provide a focused space for our sections members to come and brainstorm on the types of event and activities we’ll target in FY20 – and maybe start some initial prioritization and next steps to go from idea to implementation. This will also provide the opportunity for those attending who may be interested in helping with a committee or even taking on a leadership role to sign up!

Since there are always a lot of options for what we can look at, we will be focusing on some of the bigger areas for the section. To that end, please find below our planned agenda for the day. We will do our best to stay on track with the timing – but be sure to arrive about 15 minutes ahead of any session you want to participate in to make sure you can join in!

8:30 am
9:00 am
9:00 am
9:30 am
Welcome, D&I Moment, & Goals
9:30 am
10:00 am
FY20 SWE PNW structure & Introduction
10:00 am
11:00 am
Section Level SWOT Analysis:
·        Strengths
·        Weaknesses
·        Opportunities
·        Threats
11:00 am
12:00 pm
Focus Area Breakout #1:
(a)    Professional development
(b)    Outreach (K-12) & Volunteering
(c)    Social & Networking
12:00 pm
1:00 pm
Working Lunch:
·        D&I Moment Touch Base
·        65th Anniversary Brainstorming
1:00 pm
1:30 pm
Signature Event Breakout:
(a)    Holiday Party
(b)    Enso Center Workshop
1:30 pm
2:00 pm
New Signature Event Brainstorming
2:00 pm
2:45 pm
Focus Area Breakout #2:
(a)    Corporate/Partner Relations
(b)    Member Engagement
(c)    SWE Business/Careers
2:45 pm
3:30 pm
Section Operations Brainstorming
3:30 pm
4:00 pm
Wrap up & Volunteer Sign-up

SWOT Analysis
One of the tools we’ll be using at the planning meeting is a SWOT analysis. This is a tool that looks at strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Our first group activity will be to look at this from a section level, looking primary at it from the perspective of our members. For a little bit more, see the quick summary below:
  • Strengths are things that we do well, better than anyone else. They could also be what you tell others about our section – elements that make up your SWE PNW elevator pitch.
  • Weakness are areas that we can improve and do better in.
  • Opportunities are things that we aren’t doing today but could be doing in the near or far future timeframes.
  • Threats will look at external things or elements that we can’t (or have a hard time to) control.
You may see this tool deployed in some of the breakout sessions as well.

Breakout Sessions
We’ll have a couple of breakout session through out the day. These will be focused on a topic and have 2-3 small breakout groups looking at a sub-topic. In general, these sessions will start with an assessment of the current state baseline, start to brainstorming ideas around targeted prompts, look at impact vs effort to help prioritize, and will target coming up with concrete next step for the top priority.

Each breakout session will have a moderator that will be provided with key baseline information as well as questions prompts to help the group stay on topics and brainstorm.

A D&I Moment
As we build on the launch of the diversity and inclusion goal from FY19 and the deployment of D&I moments at our Executive Council meetings, we’ll be expanding that concept for the planning meeting. We’ll launch the D&I moment at the beginning of the day – but it will be an all-day activity, built into the various sessions. I’m excited to see how we can continue D&I forward and at the forefront of our events in FY20!

Day-of Moderators
There are several breakout session and mini-activities that I am looking for a few people to help with as a moderator. Guidelines, prompts, and instructions will be provide to help you support the topic  and breakout session.

If you are interested, please email swe.pnw.president@gmail.com with “FY20 Summer Planning Meeting: Moderator” in the subject if you’d like to help.

Don’t forget to RSVP!
That about does it for the ahead of event details. If you have questions ahead of the event, please email or post them in the Facebook event discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1206688592839237/?active_tab=discussion

And don’t forget to RSVP here (especially if you want to be included in the lunch count!): https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fy20-summer-planning-meeting-tickets-64494323257

Looking forward to seeing you there!


Theresa Krack is SWE PNW's FY20 President, having serve the section as FY19 President Elect, past section representative, and the driver behind the launch/deployment of the Virtual Brand Team (VBT). She is a Development Program Manager at Honeywell Aerospace, with a background in aerospace and aircraft certification engineering. In her remaining spare time, she is a SWE Leadership Coach for professional sections, a martial arts enthusiast, and enjoys getting out on her bike for rides.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

President’s Corner: Welcome to FY20!

Contributor: Theresa Krack, FY20 President

Greetings SWE PNW and welcome to FY20! I hope you have all had a great summer so far and are getting excited for our next year with SWE. I know I am!

One of the new things I am going to introduce in FY20 is a (hopefully) monthly “President’s Corner” blog post. This will be one more way that you can keep in touch with what SWE PNW is up to, especially from a behind the scenes Section Operations perspective.

For July 2019, our President's Corner topics are:
  • FY20 Theme: Continuing the Journey
  • FY20 Sponsor: Honeywell Aerospace
  • Signature Events
  • FY20 Summer Planning Meeting
  • FY19-FY20 Section Operations Housekeeping
  • Thank you, FY19 EC!

FY20 Theme: Continuing the Journey

I am excited to announce that this year’s theme for SWE PNW is “Continuing the Journey” – this builds on the successes and challenges that we had in FY19 “Taking the First Step” in a post-region world of SWE.

As we work towards a successful FY20 and beyond, we’ll be looking at how we set up the section for long term success both for our members’ experiences and for our section leadership experience and pipeline. In FY19, we introduced the concept of “Focus Areas” as topics that we think are key for both areas. In FY20, we’re going to continue to define and refine Focus Areas to make those connections between members and local organizations.

Our key Focus Areas and their overall goal are list below. We had a great year working on continuing with our Professional Development and Outreach areas, and even got started with building corporate relationships. And we’ve aligned many of our EC activities/events to Section Operations so members can keep track of those. If you are interested in helping (or even leading) one of the focus areas, please let me know!

Focus Area
Professional Development
To provide formal and informal learning opportunities to allow SWE members to develop skills to help in their professional careers.
Outreach (K-12) & Volunteering
To engage with the community around STEM related activities and provide volunteering opportunities for SWE Members to impact their local areas.
Social & Networking
To provide formal and informal opportunities for SWE members to engage with each other, build relationships, and make new connections.
Member Engagement
To focus on the recruitment, retention, and engagement of SWE professional members with the Section
Corporate Relations
To focus on the engagement of local companies and partner organizations with the SWE Section
Section Operations
To run the SWE business and organizational activities that support the Section.

FY20 Sponsor: Honeywell Aerospace

I am super excited to announce that Honeywell Aerospace in Redmond, WA, will be our FY20 Sponsor! This is a result of the relationships built last year through our Corporate Relations focus area and it’s great to see that relationship building result in expanded support from a local company.

Honeywell Aerospace will be providing both locations and funds to support the section in multiple focus areas as a part of their sponsorship. I look forward to continuing the grow the relationship with Honeywell in FY20 and hopefully expand our relationships with other corporate partners and organizations in the area!

Look for a future blog post highlighting their FY20 sponsorship - coming soon to a link near you!

Signature Events

Another great area that we’re going to be continuing to develop is our Section’s Signature Events. FY19 was the first year we introduced the “Signature Event” nomenclature as a way to highlight our larger events that often cross multiple focus areas. Signature event that we would like to continue to develop in FY20 are:
  • Holiday Party
  • Mid-Year Open House
  • Enso Center Workshop
  • Annual Banquet
There are a few ideas for a new signature event to launch in FY20 – anything from a Kick-off Open House in fall, to a Conference Prep Workshop ahead of the Society WE Conferences to even a summer informal picnic after the annual banquet to wrap up the year. We’ll be taking a look at a couple ideas during our FY20 Summer Planning meeting on August 10, 2019 – which is, of course, a great set up to talk about that event!

FY20 Summer Planning Meeting

Our FY20 Summer Planning meeting is open to all SWE PNW members and it’s your chance to help come up with ideas for the section under all focus areas! It will also be your first opportunity this year to have a chance to volunteer or take on a leadership role for FY20. Plus lunch will be provided thanks to Honeywell's sponsorship!

Topics that we will be looking at are:
  • Annual & strategic planning activities
  • Focus area and event ideation breakout sessions
  • Signature Event brainstorming
  • Opportunity to sign up for committees / leadership roles
  • And how do we celebrate 65 years as a section!?!?
We’ll be running a combination of target all group topics, breakout sessions to provide focused brainstorming and initial planning ideas, and mini break out sessions on more detailed targeted topics. The detailed agenda should be posted about a week a head of the event, so keep your eye open!

One thing we are looking for are breakout session leaders. You don’t have to be taking on a role in FY20 to help with this. The idea is that you would be given a set of prompts to lead the discussion and then you would help the breakout group brainstorm and record thoughts. If this interests you, please let me know!

Be sure to RSVP for the event, even if you can only make it for part of it!

FY19-FY20 Section Operations Housekeeping

As you may be aware, we had a few items that are still open from FY19 to FY20 on the section operations side: FY20 Election and Bylaws updates. Here are a few quick updates on both:

We were not able to run a FY20 Election as of yet due to the lack of candidates to slate. We are looking for candidates to slate for President Elect (serving 1 yr as President Elect and 1 yr President in sequence), Secretary (1 yr term), and Treasurer (1 yr term). If you are interested in any of these positions, please reach out to the Nomination Committee ASAP via  swe.pnw.nomination@gmail.com.

For our Bylaws updates, triggered by the dissolution of regions and other upkeep, we are in the holding pattern of waiting for HQ review and feedback. That step needs to completed first before we can put the Bylaws to the section voted for approval. At this point, we don’t have a solid timeline but are hoping to have feedback in August. Please watch for more updates on this as we have them.

Thank you, FY19 EC!

Finally, I wanted to give a huge thank you to the FY19 Executive Council (EC) and especially the elected officers from last year. Thank you to Elaine Reeves (FY19 President), Sherrie Rippe (FY19 Treasurer), Marina Dannecker (FY19 Secretary), Heather Alverez (FY19 Outreach VP), and Sonia Hingorany (FY19 Professional Development VP). Thank you to all the sections members that stepped into leadership and supporting roles to help make the section successful!

This article is part of SWE PNW's President's Corner series, where the current Section President provide highlights on what the Section has been up to behind the scenes and covers anything from SWE business to upcoming events. If you have a topic you'd like to see addressed or question answered, please submit to swe.pnw.president@gmail.com with the subject "President's Corner Submission."

Theresa Krack is SWE PNW's FY20 President, having serve the section as FY19 President Elect, past section representative, and the driver behind the launch/deployment of the Virtual Brand Team (VBT). She is a Development Program Manager at Honeywell Aerospace, with a background in aerospace and aircraft certification engineering. In her remaining spare time, she is a SWE Leadership Coach for professional sections, a martial arts enthusiast, and enjoys getting out on her bike for rides.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

FY19 SWE PNW Certificate of Merit Recipeints

Contributor: Elaine Reeves

The Certificate of Merit (COM) program was established to honor high school women having high achievement in science and mathematics and to encourage them to consider engineering as a career.  To receive a certificate, the student does not have to be planning on going into engineering, but should be someone whom you would like to encourage considering engineering as one of their career options.

Our FY19 COM Recipients are students graduating from the following institutions.

Jessica Bowerman
Brielle Bryan
Magdalena Wood Richardson

Stephanie Geeson
Amaya Kaipat
Alex Birkeland

Sofia Neros
Karol Mu

Thuy-Tien Nguyen
Amy Nguyen
Darla Ramirez

Amanda Harum
Amanda McKinley

Nicole Goldstein
Astrid Bowden
Vivian Lu

Liliana Rice
Finn Lane
Kimberly Joyce

Natalie Hahn
Camryn Bristow
Meng Juan Timm

Jillian Bankaitis
Elisa Simon
Alyssa Sutanto

Stella Beemer
Mirelle Blanchard

Aalia Rasheed

Alisha Nkwonta
Sydney Deleon-Anderberg
Bethanee Graver

Catherine Michelutti
Makenzie Hofer
Raelyn Iddings

Gabrielle Kunzman
Ingrid Phillips
Veaya Carter

Ishi Agrawal

Olivia Wertjes
Janna Knight
Jessica Boos

Good luck to our COM recipients as they begin their college careers this fall!

Elaine Reeves Elaine has held numerous leadership roles in both SWE MN and SWE PNW including: Professional Collegiate Advisor, SWE PNW Section Representative, College Relations Chair, FY18 President Elect, Region J Secretary & FY19 President.

She earned her undergraduate degrees from the University of St Thomas in Electrical Engineering, Physics, & Music Performance with a minor in Applied Mathematics. A master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2017. She currently is a working engineer at Microsoft.

Monday, May 27, 2019

FY19 SWE PNW Collegiate Scholarship Recipients

Contributor: Elaine Reeves

SWE PNW has the privilege of being able to offer several scholarship opportunities to students to support our SWE mission & vision:
Our MissionEmpower women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.
Our VisionA world with gender parity and equality in engineering and technology.
SWE PNW college scholarships are targeted for both high school seniors that will be pursuing engineering as well as college freshman to juniors that are in an engineering program. We are therefore thrilled to announce the winners of our FY18 SWE PNW Collegiate Scholarship Program!

Mary Ellen Russell Memorial Scholarship

Mary Ellen Russell, a charter member of the PNW section of SWE, devoted her career to engineering and science. She dedicated her life and energy to activities to the benefit of SWE, to geology, to outdoor activities and to the leadership of many young women and men who cherished their time with her. Mary Ellen earned degrees in Mathematics and Geology at the University of Washington. The recipient must have achieved at least a college level junior standing. The Mary Ellen Russell Memorial Scholarship is a minimum of $1000.

FY19 Recipient: Alissa Capuano who is a Civil Engineering student at Seattle University 

Congratulations to our two time scholarship winner!

Elaine Reeves has over ten years of experience in EMC and Environmental Hardware Compliance in both commercial and medical equipment. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2017. She is an active in SWE PNW as is the current FY19 President.

Monday, April 29, 2019

FY19 Annual Banquet: Guest Speaker, Helen Chiang

We are excited to introduce you to our FY19 Annual Banquet Guest Speaker Helen Chiang.

Fun Facts about Helen Chiang
Where do you live?

Did you grow up in the Pacific Northwest area?

What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve received? 
To always surround yourself with people smarter than you, and to make yourself replaceable.

What is your favorite hobby/hobbies?
Tennis, skiing and exploring new parts of the world.

What is your favorite place in the world?
New Zealand

Do you have any interesting or little-known facts about yourself?
I once ran the Boston Marathon next to Will Ferrell. And beat him 😊

Favorite TV show?
American Ninja Warrior

If you could eat one thing the rest of your life what would it be?

What is your favorite thing about your job?
I am proud of the work we are doing to use Minecraft as a platform to build a better world.

Where can we find you on the weekends?
Exploring the Pacific Northwest with my husband and two daughters.


About Helen Chiang
Helen Chiang is the head of Minecraft, where she is responsible for driving and implementing growth plans for one of the most popular video games of all time. Prior to leading the studio, Helen held the roles of General Manager and Senior Director of Strategy and Business at Minecraft, helping navigate the team through the Microsoft acquisition of Mojang and numerous updates, events and releases to the franchise over the last four years.

As a longtime Xbox veteran, Helen has been a key contributor to many aspects of the Xbox business. In her previous position as Chief of Staff for the Microsoft Studios group, Helen managed Studios business operations and communications for a geographically diverse organization of 1,000 people across three locations – Redmond, Vancouver, and London. Microsoft Studios is known for blockbuster franchises such as “Halo”, “Gears of War”, “Kinect Sports”, “Fable”, “Age of Empires”, and “Forza Motorsport”.

Prior to joining Microsoft Studios, Helen managed the Xbox LIVE subscriptions business where she was responsible for driving and implementing strategy and growth plans and was accountable for a $500M business. Under her business leadership, the subscriber base more than doubled in size and created the foundation for what Xbox LIVE is today – a world class online entertainment service with 40+ million worldwide members.

Prior to her nine years with Xbox, Helen managed the Streets & Trips software business where she was responsible for product management and product marketing.

Helen holds a dual bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and computer science from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. In her free time, Helen enjoys taking on new athletic challenges and has summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, ran the Boston marathon alongside Will Ferrell, and climbed Mt. Rainier for charity. She lives in the greater Seattle area with her husband and two daughters, with whom she plays Minecraft in creative mode

Sunday, April 28, 2019

WE Local Bellevue in Review, Part 2

Guest Contributor: Shari Wang

WE Local Bellevue, April 5 – 6, 2019

Overall, I really enjoyed the conference for its variety.  I attended sessions covering a wide range of topics, including diversity and inclusion, professional development, volunteering and good causes, financial independence, self awareness, etc.  Its contents and organization were similar to annual conference in many ways, but the networking was much more localized and rewarding.  Boeing subsidized the registration fees for many engineers, and it was great to meet and connect with others from my company.

Fem Finance – 7 Habits for Success (Leanne Plancic)
Leanne Plancic is a retirement planning specialist at AXA Advisors.  She is passionate about setting aside time each year to offer education and outreach to increase financial education and literacy within the community.  She helped to make the strategies simple, whether we were “math” people or not.

  • 4 Buckets of Money (the basis of her session)
    • Now: 1 year, cash on hand
    • Short-Term: 1 – 10 years, brokerage accounts; Taxed on money going in, growth, and money coming out
    • Long-Term: Roth, etc.; Taxed on money going in only
    • Retirement: 401K, pension, etc.; Taxed on money coming out
    • HSA: Bonus 5th bucket; No taxes going in, growth, or coming out
  • ID your financial goals: What does success look like for you?  Be specific.
  • Live within your means
  • Utilize compounding interest
  • Take advantage of tax shelters
    • Invest your HSA account, use Excel to track expenses, reimburse years later
  • Control your future tax bracket
  • Maximize social security
    • Amount is very different if you take out at 62 vs. 70
    • Should consider spouse when choosing an age to take social security
    • Check your social security statement at ssa.gov and make sure your information is correct
  • Leverage long-term care insurance

Leanne answered many questions, both basic and complex.  During this highly interactive session, the power went out in the entire hotel.  We, the amazing and diligent SWEesters that we were, continued discussions.  Leanne even pulled up the remaining slides on her smartphone!

WE Local Celebration
The hotel placed candles and string lights around the ballroom to accommodate for the lack of electricity.  It created an inviting and intimate ambiance for the celebration.  Each table had a different game, including Sushi Go and Scrabble, to initiate some conversations.  Food was served along buffet tables and by servers around the room.  Some of the most delicious food was the tandoori chicken skewers and the chicken samosas.

When the power came back on, Glowforge created custom name badges, luggage tags, and jigsaw puzzles on their 3D laser printers.  We drew our designs on cardboard and chose from a selection of woods, including maple, cherry, and walnut.  As the employees walked us through the program and the printer functions, we saw our drawings etched onto the wood piece line by line.

Successfully Returning to Work after a Career Break (Elizabeth Crain)
Elizabeth chose to take a career break for 2 years, and is currently a part-time plan review contract at FM Global.  She shared her reasoning, the planning she did before taking a break, what she did while away, and lessons learned after returning to work.  Below are a few of her suggestions.
  • Consider finances, time, childcare, work opportunities (pro/con list, motivations, structure)
  • Consider alternative roles/schedules (ex. full-time with reduced travel, flexible time, part time, contractor, sabbatical/hiatus, office hours)
  • Continue updating your resume, network and stay connected, attend social events, develop yourself (ex. read, learn new skill, volunteer, try new things)
  • Returning to work: Compensation, support (spouse, family), emotional and physical impact, childcare constraints, etc.
Plan ahead and act with intention.

Celeste Mergens of Days for Girls
Celeste Mergens described her life growing up, how she founded Days for Girls, and the experiences she’s had since its founding.  There was not a dry eye in the room after she described her journey.

Girls all around the world drop out of school due to lack of feminine supplies.  Some are forced to live apart from their families during that time of the month.  As she was preparing to return to Nairobi, Kenya in 2008, she woke up in the middle of the night with a nagging question: “What are girls doing for feminine hygiene?”  Her first attempt at creating disposable pads quickly evolved into kits that include washable, long-lasting pads.

Days for Girls has created of women and girls who sew the kits and educate the communities.  Celeste has changed how communities think of and treat periods.  There are so many ways to support the message and continue the impact worldwide.

The T about the T in LGBTQ+, A Beginners Guide to Transgender Inclusion (Natalie Vanderspiegel)
Living in Seattle, LGBTQ+ is a common topic.  We see it in the legislation that’s passed, the rainbow-painted sidewalks in Capitol Hill, as well as the Pride Parade every summer.  I sing with the Seattle Women’s Chorus, a voice for LGBTQ advocacy in the community and across the country.  However, there’s a lot of terms as you get more into the community, and I was interested in getting it all straight in my head.

Diversity and inclusion are often spoken in the same sentence, almost as if they were interchangeable words.  They are not.  “Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”

SWE has made great strides in increasing inclusion.  Some of it can be seen on the new name tags, with preferred pronouns prominently displayed.  Some of it can be seen in the subtle but powerful language changes in the official documents.

Natalie went on to describe the full spectrum for defining a person’s identity.

Source: The Trevor Project
She described the challenges of the community, and drew on her personal experiences with colleagues and friends.  I learned so much from the session and appreciated her candor and honesty in sharing.


Shari Wang is a team member of the SWE PNW Virtual Brand Team. She is an Industrial Engineering Manager at Boeing, supporting Everett Site Operations through daily management, continuous improvement, and data analytics. Shari enjoys singing with the Seattle Women’s Chorus and volunteering for the Industrial Engineering University Relations Team at Boeing.