Whatever your vision for living without limits looks like, know that it doesn’t need to be flawlessly executed; it just needs to be authentically you.
It was wonderful to see so many of you at WE23 in Los Angeles, which was officially the largest conference in SWE’s history. While I am personally hopeful the attendance record will not stand for long — as our annual conference is expected to continue growing and thriving — I encourage everyone to take the time to reflect on what you learned at WE23, keep the connections that you made strong, and enjoy that you were part of this momentous, record-setting event supporting women in engineering and technology.
At WE23, I spoke about the theme for this year, Live Without Limits, and what it means to me. A key piece of living without limits is embracing imperfection, giving yourself (and others) grace, and knowing that everyone — even you — needs a break sometimes. In this issue of SWE Magazine, we address a topic that is critical for living without limits: How to approach and address stress, burnout, and their effects. Those who identify as women in engineering and technology can face self-imposed stressors and stressors from their work, family, and society that can feel overwhelming at times. Burnout can occur at different points in your career and your life, and it may look different depending on what is causing your stress. Learning the signs and effects of burnout can help each of us understand and address it before it overwhelms us.
Whatever your vision for living without limits looks like, know that it doesn’t need to be flawlessly executed; it just needs to be authentically you. Getting stressed sometimes is OK, and we all need to give ourselves the tools to recharge and restart as well as support others on their own journeys. I encourage you to take the time to read through these articles and absorb their lessons and learnings. Make sure you have the knowledge, tools, and support to address your own stressors. Embracing imperfection and acknowledging the times when you need to step back or take a pause will allow you to be your authentic self and reach your goals faster than if you pushed forward without heeding the signs of potential burnout.
And speaking of self-care, one of my favorite ways to give myself a little boost of support each morning is my warm, comforting, caffeinated cup of coffee. In this issue, we have interesting insights into changes brewing in the coffee industry. As a chemical engineer and avid coffee drinker, I am excited to learn more about my favorite morning beverage.
Finally, I want to close by encouraging you all to check out the WE Local conferences planned for the first few months of 2024. WE Locals offer a different experience than our annual conference. They are smaller in size, which allows for more meaningful connections and networking, and they are held in five different locations throughout the globe, which makes them more accessible to a wider group of SWE members and friends (or as I call them, “SWE-ple”). The WE Locals for 2024 are:
- WE Local Las Vegas, Feb. 23–24, 2024
- WE Local Baltimore, Maryland, March 1–2, 2024
- WE Local Wichita, Kansas, March 15–16, 2024
- WE Local Bengaluru, India, April 18–19, 2024
- WE Local Munich, Germany, April 25–26, 2024
To find out more about each conference, please see welocal.swe.org/.
I hope everyone is having a great SWE year, and I look forward to seeing you at a WE Local conference or on a virtual SWE event in the coming months.
Alexis McKittrick, Ph.D.
FY24 SWE President