AIChE Rising Star Workshop and Leadership Equity Program

The 2019 AIChE Gala, Doing a World of Good, featured two exceptional pre-event leadership programs. A Rising Star workshop for women and a Leadership Equity program to advance underrepresented engineers toward executive level roles. Both programs were held on December 3, 2019 in New York City prior to the Gala.

The second annual leadership workshop for Rising Star workshop welcomed more than 30 exceptionally talented women from companies around the world. The event was held at Pfizer’s headquarters.

In welcoming the Rising Star attendees, Kevin Edwards, Global Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at Bechtel Corporation remarked on the progress women have made within the engineering profession—and the commitment the industry is making to retain and advance women. Susan Dunlap, an executive coach and communications trainer, presented best practices for women to counteract perceptions and mitigate stereotypes. Throughout the discussion and activities, Rising Star participants developed skills for communicating with an authentic presence to effectively meet and network in the work place and beyond. Participants explored the dynamics of gender communication norms and stereotypes. They also learned how Confidence, Courage, Self-Advocacy, and Presence can differ by gender and the potential to impact career progression in the workplace.

The Rising Star 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. Kevin Edwards, was joined on the panel by Vanessa Abrahams-John, Executive Director, Diversity, Inclusion & Talent Acquisition at Praxair, Inc., a Linde company and Lynne Handanyan, Vice President, Pharmaceutical Sciences Global Chemical Research & Development at Pfizer.

AIChE’s inaugural Leadership Equity program was attended by more than 40 successful, talented senior engineers to gain tools and skills key to support executive level roles in engineering.

Shariq Yosufzai, AIChE Foundation Chair, Chairman of the Board and Lead Director of Aqua Metals Inc. and retired Vice President, Global Diversity for the Chevron Corporation welcomed the group and set the stage for a full day of leadership development sessions. Simone Sloane of Jennifer Brown Consulting presented, “Culture of Inclusion, Understanding the Executive’s Role in Building Dynamic, High Performing Teams”.

Shariq moderated a panel of senior executives on the Challenges of Executive Leaders in Engineering. Panelists were Bruce Chinn, President at Chevron Chemicals, Camille Batiste, President of Nutrition Optimization at Archer Daniels Midland Company, Patricia Rossman, Chief Diversity Officer and HR Communications at BASF, and Linda Wright, Business Transformation VP at ExxonMobil Fuels & Lubricants.

A luncheon and keynote from Sharon Beshouri, President at Shell Global Solutions (US) Inc., Chief Engineer, R&D Technical Function VP Catalyst, Analytical and Refining Technology followed. The afternoon featured two tracks with Dina Clark, Covestro’s Head of Diversity & Inclusion, North America presenting on “Credibility in Today’s Workplace” and Gayle Gibson, retired DuPont, Head of Engineering, Director, Board of Aqua Metals, Principal, Accordant Advisors, and AIChE Fellow recipient of the Management Division Award presented on “Executive Presence”.

The Rising Star workshop will be offered at AIChE’s 2020 Spring Conference. For more information please visit here.