2023 WE Local Awards

RMS received two WE Local awards in 2023 and accepted both awards in person at WE Local Seattle. ​

  • WE Local Joint Professional/Collegiate Event
    for Rocky Mountain Section & Colorado School of Mines Section 2022 Spring Summit
  • WE Local Outstanding Professional Development Event for Heather Doty’s Presidential Celebration
  • WE Local Joint Professional/Collegiate Event for Rocky Mountain Section & Colorado School of Mines Section 2022 Spring Summit

RMS Members at 2023 WE Local Seattle Awards Celebration with FY23 President Dayna Johnson

The Spring Summit is a one-day conference for engineers, technologists, students, and diversity champions to connect through professional development workshops, inspirational speakers, and networking opportunities. SWE Rocky Mountain Section (RMS) partnered with the Colorado School of Mines Section (CSM) to host the 2022 Spring Summit in Golden, CO at the Colorado School of Mines campus in April 2022. 

This year’s theme was Your Golden Shadow: Discover Your Hidden Potential, a play on the Colorado School of Mines campus location in Golden, CO that encouraged attendees to lean into their own hidden creative talents. The event featured keynote speakers Emilie Aries, leadership expert and CEO and founder of Bossed Up, and Dr. Kate Youmans, Teaching Associate Professor in the Engineering, Design, and Society Department at Colorado School of Mines. 

Pictured: Bomsaerah Seong, RMS Chair for 2022 Spring Summit Bomsaerah Seong, RMS Chair for 2022 Spring Summit

The event kicked off with registration and an open networking breakfast. Registration included a station to create your own name badge to let attendees draw, color, and stickerfy their own unique name badge to show off their underlying creative flair. The open networking hour had no agenda to encourage attendees to share what brought them to the event or what they were excited about learning while connecting with new faces or reconnecting with past friends and SWE connections.

In her opening keynote, Emilie Aries discussed Beat Burnout: The Science of Stress. Chronic stress puts even the most hard-working professionals at risk of complete and total burnout. Emilie focused on implementing cognitive strategies for effective long-term goal pursuit. She shared inspiring stories of herself and others overcoming burnout and building careers and lives based on sustainable success. The audience was motivated to utilize Emilie’s practical research-based strategies to keep burnout at bay without compromising their work ethic.

The event boasted seven different breakout sessions across two timeslots. The breakout sessions included topics ranging from “How to Navigate a Mental Health Leave from Work” by RMS professional member Heather Munoz to “Leveraging SWE to Unlock Your Career Potential” by RMS Executive Council member Maureen Masiulis.

The event concluded with the Awards Program. The Awards Keynote speaker was Dr. Kate Youmans. Dr. Youmans shared how empathy can be a powerful tool in the engineering profession in her interactive talk “Uncovering the Hidden Potential of Empathy in Engineering”. The Awards Program concluded with recognizing the Rocky Mountain Summit Awards, presented each year to SWE members, teams, or collegiates for their outstanding achievements and contributions to activities within RMS during the fiscal year, and the RMS Freshmen and Collegiate scholarships.

Thanks to a sponsor, 55 copies of Keynote Speaker Emilie Aries’ book “Bossed Up: A Grown Woman’s Guide to Getting Your Sh*t Together” were distributed. The books were raffled during the networking breakfast to encourage interaction with the event sponsors. The final books were distributed to those asking questions after Emilie’s keynote presentation. This helped boost engagement, as attendees were interested in trying to receive a copy of the book. 

The event also included a Craft Station to encourage attendees to explore their creative side. The Craft Station included a small variety of crafting opportunities, including paint pens to embellish a zipper fabric pouch that served as a souvenir to commemorate their time at Spring Summit 2022. This was a fun activity to allow attendees to explore their hidden potential. 

Since RMS has a large geographic footprint encompassing two states, the section varies event locations across the most heavily populated areas to accommodate access to more members. Additionally, by hosting at the Colorado School of Mines, the event was able to provide ease of attendance for the students on-campus. 

The Spring Summit Committee consisted of 11 SWE members; 7 professionals and 4 collegiates. The committee was led by one RMS professional chair (Bomsaerah Seong) and one CSM collegiate chair (Madi Frotten). The RMS professional chair previously served as the collegiate chair on the 2020 Spring Summit Committee and one of the collegiate committee members was previously a collegiate committee member during the 2021 Virtual Spring Summit planning, demonstrating the impact this event has on collegiate to professional engagement. 

In-person attendance grew from a historic average of 50 attendees to 91 full registrations. The post-event survey responses indicated overall attendee satisfaction, with 83% of participants rating the event as either “Excellent” or “Above Average”. Here is what some of our attendees said about Spring Summit:

  • ” Networking was great – it was awesome to be in-person again!”
  • ” It was a lovely event, I enjoyed that the structure was similar to swe22 with a calmer environment.”
  • ” The keynote was fabulous.”
  • ” Loved the event! Well done. Food and crafts were great.”
  • ” Thank you for a great event, I had a wonderful time and enjoyed seeing actual people again.”

The Spring Summit event provides a unique collaborative event for women to network across industries and gain valuable professional development insights and learnings. Maintaining a level of flexibility and leveraging local partnership contributes to an effective model that will serve the sections for years to come. Through hosting professional development events, such as the Spring Summit, RMS and CSM continue to refine our strategic focus to make more of an impact, so we can help support SWE’s mission to support women to “achieve their professional goals and aspire to professional success.”

WE Local Outstanding Professional Development Event
Heather Doty’s Presidential Celebration

SWE RMS had the honor of hosting the Presidential Celebration for the first time in its section’s history. The new event was unique in focusing the evening in recognition of a single individual, but with the support of an incredibly diverse set of both SWE members and non-members from across the country in attendance.

Pictured: Madalene Fetsch, Chair of the Presidential Celebration

The Presidential Celebration is an event hosted by the designated professional section of the incoming SWE president. The event was put on by the SWE Rocky Mountain Section (RMS) in support of FY21 President, Heather Doty. Heather was President of SWE during one of the most unique and challenging years of the organization’s 72 year history due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Her initiatives in reinventing events to spearheading new fundraising models, to recruiting new members, to connecting old, Heather has been an invaluable member to both the organization and her local SWE section. RMS hosted the FY21 Presidential Celebration at the Rembrandt Yard in Boulder, CO on Pearl Street on September 30, 2021. 

The primary goal of the event was to pay tribute and celebrate Heather Doty as the 58th President of SWE and highlight her lifetime commitment to the organization with close friends and family.

A planning committee of volunteers was assembled in 2019 to coordinate the event several months in advance and an original date was slated for March 2020. Due to various lockdowns caused by the pandemic in Spring of 2020, many of RMS’ planned events had to be canceled for logistical reasons, health concerns, and in an effort to follow CDC guidance from the State of Colorado and the City and County of Boulder. With the President’s Celebration being no exception, the planning committee quickly pivoted over the course of a year and postponed the original event due to the uncertainty and constantly changing protocols of the pandemic.

After extensive planning and paying attention to details, the evening included food with a nod to Cajun, a French theme assortment of beverages which touted a specialty drink dubbed “The Heather”, dancing, and toasting. With a Mardi Gras theme to honor missing out on the in-person WE20 conference, guests showed up to celebrate, showing off their purple, green, and gold; flapper dresses; and Mardi Gras masks. The event had a dedicated webpage and a memory book which was signed by in-person attendees and electronically by those who were unable to make the trip in person. The memory book was presented as a gift on behalf of RMS and the webpage served as a tribute to Heather.  

The Presidential Celebration Planning Committee consisted of 6 professional SWE members. The committee chair, Madalene Fetsch, previously served as SWE RMS President, Vice President, and Treasurer from 2010-2019. Other committee members (Megan Schulze, Casey Waggy, Jannine Rouw, Kaitlin Chapman, Christi Wisleder, and Lisa Woodward) included individuals who both previously and currently serve(d) on the SWE RMS Executive Council. 
The event brought together individuals from SWE sections across the United States and hosted sustained and engaged members, inactive members, and a number of student volunteers from local collegiate sections. A total of approximately 120 individuals attended which included past and future society presidents, industry professionals from Heather’s organization, and a number of close family and friends. Attendees appreciated the opportunity for a formal night out with SWE friends, and a few even commented that the event substituted for WE20 and WE21, and it enabled them to connect and network with long-distance SWE members that would only occur at annual conferences. 

The President’s Celebration event provided a unique opportunity that allowed both members and non-members from various backgrounds the opportunity to make new connections in a fun and highly interactive environment. The flexibility and organization of the planning committee over the course of two years can be used as an effective event model by the section in the future. RMS put on a celebration that recognized Heather Doty for her service to SWE while ensuring the health and safety of all attendees and staff during the ongoing pandemic remained a priority. In addition, the celebration also enabled an environment that fostered a sense of community, personal, and professional networking.

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