Living Without Limits — or Borders

Through the connections forged at WE Local events, women in engineering form lasting friendships, mentorship relationships, and professional connections that transcend geographic boundaries.

In my role at the Society of Women Engineers, I am constantly reminded of the transformative power of our community, most recently at our WE Local conferences held around the globe. More intimate than SWE’s annual conference, WE Local events provide the same learning, networking, and career opportunities. And while these events feature knowledge sharing and networking — valuable takeaways for attendees — there is so much more under the surface. These events are also about building and nurturing a professional ecosystem in which women in engineering can thrive, grow, and inspire each other. That’s where the magic of SWE comes to life.

I am reminded of a quote by Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” When we come together at events like these, we bring an array of perspectives, experiences, and talents to the table. We create an environment in which collaboration thrives, barriers are removed, and innovation flourishes. What’s more, WE Local events truly embody this year’s theme: “Live Without Limits.”

One of the most profound aspects of WE Local events is the sense of community and solidarity that permeates every interaction. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a student early in your journey, you are welcomed with open arms and surrounded by peers who understand and appreciate the challenges you face. This sense of belonging is palpable, reminding us that we are never alone regardless of geography.

And community is not just about support, but also accountability. As we do at our other events, we hold each other to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and inclusivity. We challenge one another to think critically, to question assumptions, and to push the boundaries of what is possible. In doing so, we not only elevate ourselves, but also the entire engineering profession.

And the SWE community extends beyond the conference venue. Through the connections forged at WE Local events, women in engineering form lasting friendships, mentorship relationships, and professional connections that transcend geographic boundaries. These relationships serve as pillars of support throughout their careers, helping women navigate challenges and achieve their fullest potential.

Perhaps most importantly, the value of community at WE Local gatherings lies in the ability to inspire action. When we witness the accomplishments of our peers, when we hear their stories of triumph over adversity, and when we see the tangible impact of our collective efforts, we are motivated to take bold steps forward in our own lives and careers. We are reminded that positive change in the industry is not only possible but inevitable when we work together with passion, purpose, and determination. The stories shared were incredibly moving. Some brought tears while others brought cheers — but in every case vulnerability, sincerity, and authenticity emerged.

As we look to the future, the importance of community at WE Local conferences cannot be overstated. In a world that is complex and interconnected, the need for collaboration, empathy, and mutual support has never been greater. By coming together as a community, women in engineering can harness their collective strength to address the most pressing challenges facing the profession and our planet.

You have a chance to experience this magic for yourself at our upcoming WE24 annual conference this October or any of our six WE Local conferences in calendar year 2025. I promise that you will not be disappointed. Join me and let’s continue to build and nurture the SWE community, knowing that our greatest accomplishments lie ahead, guided by the unwavering belief that together, we can change the world. And we can all Live Without Limits!

Karen Horting, CAE
Executive Director & CEO