Author: Shu-han Hsu.
The IEEE-WIE Conference was a great experience. Many industry and academic professionals gave advice about practical aspects for career advancement. I was also able to meet and network with many successful females. I attended the “Real Talk: Our Aspirations and Frustrations”, “Power and Influence”, “Passion and Purpose”, “Keys to Success for Entrepreneurs”, “Success Stories of Big Entrepreneurship Ventures”, “Real Talk: Putting Obstacles on the Table”, and the sessions on Friday morning.
The biggest lesson I took away was about the “Power and Influence” talk. Power is where people are forced to do things (short-term win), while influence is where people are willing to do something (long-term win). One of the ways to gain influence is to build value-based relationships, where you can provide value to someone, as opposed to just regular relationships, where people get together with each other mostly for just small-talk, such as meeting someone at a party. I thought this was an interesting concept, and was able to ask the speaker (Steve Bucherati, retired Global Chief Diversity Officer of the Cola-Cola Company a question.
For the value-based relationship, I asked Mr. Bucherati if a person(nicknamed A) should still be helpful and kind to someone(nicknamed B) who tries to make problems for person A, even though person A has previously been kind and helpful to the difficult person. His response was “yes, even though it’s difficult, because it could be possible that person B may still help person A in the future.” He said that being able to work with these people was one of the reasons of being successful.
Besides hearing the wonderful talks, this conference was an inspiration to not give up on your dream. Even though being a women has its challenges, it is still possible to find a way around the weakness to succeed, which many of the women discussed at the conference. I am very grateful for WECE to sponsor me for attending this event, because it opened my eyes to dealing with problems that are specifically faced by female engineers.