Rising Stars Shine at AIChE Workshop to Empower Women in Engineering

December 13, 2018
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Associated AIChE gala raised funds to strengthen STEM education for girls and improve retention of women engineers in the workforce

More than fifty exceptional women from companies around the world participated at a Leadership Workshop for Rising Star Women in Engineering, December 11, 2018, in New York City.

The workshop — sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and held in advance of AIChE’s 2018 fundraising gala devoted to inspiring women in engineering — convened at the New York City headquarters of global biopharmaceuticals company Pfizer Inc, a top employer of women in executive leadership roles and one of the gala honorees.

In welcoming the Rising Star attendees, June Wispelwey, AIChE Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, remarked on the progress women have made within the engineering profession — a field that many women leave in their early or mid-careers, often due to the dynamics within their organizations. Wispelwey noted that the 2018 AIChE gala had raised approximately $570,000 to support efforts to expand women’s leadership programs, improve the retention of women engineers at all stages in their careers, and strengthen pre-college science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education for girls — all aimed at creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce where everyone is recognized for their talents and contributions.

“Through our gala and supporting programs, like today’s Rising Star workshop, we can inspire more women to be formidable advocates for themselves and their colleagues,” Wispelwey added.

At the Rising Star workshop, Susan Dunlap, an executive coach and communication trainer, examined the dynamics of gender communication norms and the differing communication styles of men and women in the workplace. Dunlop explained how gender stereotypes and implicit biases can potentially impede career progress — with attendees learning how to circumvent those roadblocks.

The workshop included an executive panel discussion featuring leaders from industry, who offered advice on how women can find their authentic voices, navigate workplace hierarchies, and communicate effectively. Panelists included Karen Carter, Chief Inclusion Officer and the Chief Human Resources Officer, The Dow Chemical Company; Bruce Chinn, President of Chevron Oronite; Erin Kane, President and Chief Executive Officer of AdvanSix Inc., and an organizer of the workshop; Patricia Rossman, Chief Diversity Officer, BASF Corporation; and Pamela Siwik, Vice President, Pfizer Global Supply, Pfizer Inc.

Organizations represented at the workshop included AdvanSix; AIChE; Air Liquide; Air Products; Arnold & Porter; Arsenal Capital Partners; BASF Corporation; Bechtel; Chemours; Chevron Corporation; Covestro LLC; The Dow Chemical Company; Honeywell; Innophos, Inc.; LyondellBasell; Pfizer Inc; Praxair; and WACKER Chemical Corporation.

That evening, the associated AIChE gala honored Pfizer Inc and Covestro LLC, along with those companies’ leaders, for their dedication to inspiring and empowering women in engineering. Pfizer Inc was recognized for “leadership in advancing women in the biopharmaceuticals sector,” and Covestro LLC was recognized for “championing women in manufacturing, corporate leadership, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.” The gala also honored Nance Dicciani, Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of medical-device company RTM Vital Signs LLC, who received the AIChE Foundation’s Doing a World of Good Medal, a prize that salutes the achievements of an individual who has advanced the societal contributions of engineers.

The annual gala supports initiatives of the AIChE Foundation and its Doing a World of Good campaign, which focus on advancing chemical engineering and bringing that expertise to bear for the good of society.

See photos of the workshop on Flickr.

For more information about AIChE’s 2018 Annual Gala and the activities of the AIChE Foundation, visit www.aiche.org/gala.

About AIChE: AIChE is a professional society of more than 60,000 members in more than 110 countries. Its members work in corporations, universities and government using their knowledge of chemical processes to develop safe and useful products for the benefit of society. Through its varied programs, AIChE continues to be a focal point for information exchange on the frontier of chemical engineering research in such areas as nanotechnology, sustainability, hydrogen fuels, biological and environmental engineering, and chemical plant safety and security. More information about AIChE is available at www.aiche.org.