The Program Development Grant (PDG) Committee provides opportunities for SWE groups to receive money to host outreach and professional development events. This is the next in a series of articles to showcase the great events sections are leveraging their PDG grants. The final application deadline of FY22 is fast approaching: February 15, 2022, so be sure to submit your application today! For more information on the grant process please check out the PDG website.
For less than $250 and over the course of five two-hour sessions, the Mid-Michigan SWE section hosted a book club that helped SWE members and non-members in the local area pursue professional excellence through development and application of learning provided by the chosen book: Women in Tech: Take Your Career to the Next Level with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories. During March and April 2021, the book club virtual environment empowered twelve participants to advocate for themselves and other women in engineering while broadening their networks. The event also helped grow the Mid-Michigan section’s reach and welcomed more SWE members.
Participants indicated that the best part of this book club was the fostering of inclusion, the conversation itself, and the networking initiated through the event. Mid-Michigan representatives indicated that many women were encouraged by being able to connect in these COVID times and share the same struggles as well as build each other up for success in our different companies and cultures. The book served as a starting point to initiate difficult conversations across a wide variety of discussion topics such as interviewing, negotiating salary and building a company culture. In fact, one participant indicated, “I didn’t know that I needed this for my own development until I realized what COVID isolation had taken away.”
Best practices and key takeaways:
- We had to adapt to our new COVID world, we embraced the virtual meetings for safety and still got the connection and networking outcomes we would have gotten in person.
- Listen to what the members of your section want. They might not say what specific event they would like, but they will give feedback over the purpose and objectives of the event.
- One of the Ah-ha moments we experienced is that the Women in Tech book was written by such a strong outspoken woman. She provided clear advice that participants then discussed if it was applicable or not to their specific situation. These discussions shed light upon our own fears of being bold and gave us some new strategies to try that will empower us in the future.
Are you interested in learning more about receiving PDG funding? Or perhaps you are ready to request funding? Learn more on the PDG website and don’t forget to submit your PDG application by February 15th, 2022.