SWE continues its tradition of providing you with content that is unrivaled, including three amazing keynote speakers who I know will inspire our early-career members, those who are retired, and everyone in between.
As I took my walk this morning, I started putting my thoughts together for this column and was struck by the realization that WE23 will be my 20th SWE annual conference! And yet, I am just as excited to board the plane and head to Los Angeles this October as I was to jump in my car and drive up I-94 to Milwaukee for my first SWE annual conference in 2004. There’s a good reason why I’m so excited: because WE23 offers so many opportunities to “Live Without Limits!”
First and foremost, let’s take a look at the schedule. Whether you are attending in person or virtually, SWE continues its tradition of providing you with content that is unrivaled, including three amazing keynote speakers who I know will inspire our early-career members, those who are retired, and everyone in between. We’ve made it easy for anyone, anywhere to ask a question of the speaker by enabling you to interact via the WE23 mobile app. Be sure to download the app in advance. It’s all about providing you VIP access to some remarkable, accomplished women.
Looking for more inspiration? Do not miss the seven Inspirational Insight sessions, which also provide continuing education units (CEUs).
Beyond these headlining sessions, there are more than 200 workshops and panels. And for the first time, more than 60 of these sessions will be livestreamed. It’s another wonderful opportunity to interact with the session presenters, whether you are in Los Angeles or 10,000 miles away at your computer. Missed a session or want to take a second (or third) look at some of your favorites? SWE is thrilled to offer all registrants exclusive access to the virtual platform for three months post-WE23.
Even more inspiration awaits you on Friday evening as we recognize SWE’s Apex award recipients, an event open to all. Wear your finest or come as you are, but I encourage everyone from collegiate students to seasoned professionals to put it on their calendar and prepare to be blown away by this year’s award recipients. The event will also be recorded and uploaded to the Virtual Awards Hall. Search the award recipients by name and/or award and be sure to leave a note of congratulations for friends and colleagues. I know your kind words will mean a lot to them.
On Saturday morning, we look to inspire the next generation at our annual “Invent It. Build It.” (IIBI) event. With a new shorter format this year, IIBI aims to build precollege students’ confidence and interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by combining creativity, innovation, exploration through hands-on activities, and learning firsthand from SWE members and their peers. Don’t miss the kickoff of IIBI with an exciting interactive presentation, “It’s Not Magic, It’s Science.” What’s more, all participants will receive a home kit to share the excitement of STEM with their family and friends.
Whether it’s a hug, handshake, fist bump, or just a smile, what I look forward to most every year is connecting with our members and partners. The SWE community is like no other — warm and welcoming to all. Plus, there’s no shortage of networking opportunities, including technical and sightseeing tours, several hospitality suites, the SWE Social Media lounge, affinity group meetups, the Rainbow Lounge, sponsored networking lounges, and the not-to-be-missed closing celebration. And let’s not forget those spontaneous hallway conversations following a session or business meeting. For those not attending in person, virtual networking sessions will be available.
Are you looking for an internship or a new career opportunity, considering graduate school, returning after a career break, or just interested to learn about the organizations that support gender diversity in the workplace? Our incredible Career Fair is not to be missed. More than 300 organizations are part of this year’s sold-out event, which also includes a Small Business Pavilion. If you’re planning to attend, be sure to upload your resume to the SWE Career Center so recruiters know you are ready to connect.
It’ll be a full three days for all attendees. I hope each and every one of you makes the most of WE23 and that you Live Without Limits!
Karen Horting, CAE
Executive Director & CEO