Jaqueline Hochheiser, Corporate Communications
In October, 2022, two members from the Mini-Circuits team travelled to Houston, Texas to attend the annual Society for Women Engineers (SWE) conference. Loretta Lenharth, Distribution Operator, and Dana Gan, RF Pipeline Engineer, returned to Mini-Circuits with fresh vigor and inspiration from their visit and were excited to share their experiences. This year, the conference was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, named after the internationally recognized entrepreneur, engineer, civic leader, philanthropist and Houstonian, George R. Brown.
The 2022 SWE conference was open to attend both in person and virtually, with all sessions and talks recorded to view live or to watch later through a SWE online membership. The conference took place October 20 to 22, with a turnout of over 400 exhibitors, over 16,000 in-person and virtual attendees, and over 40 sessions per day. With three floors and 1.2 million square feet, the convention center was more than capable of handling the large crowd filled with people attending from all over the world.
Each day was opened with a “Keynote Address,” which was generally given by a woman in engineering who lent her perspective and experience working and growing in the field. After the address, attendees were free to roam and attend other sessions, visit the on-site career fair, go on job interviews, workshop their resumes, and network.
“The venue was very large, I was blown our of the water with how many companies and booths were there,” said Dana Gan. “A lot of them were big name companies and ones that Mini-Circuits does business with including Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Bowing, Northrup Grumman and Keysight. Everyone was super friendly.”
Both Dana and Lorie attended multiple sessions that piqued their interests throughout the weekend. As an engineer, Dana attended sessions featuring speakers (both male and female) from Keysight and Bowing who talked about their experiences and how they evolved and moved to leadership positions within their companies. The speakers expressed how they saw how women were treated in the workspace and sought to make their company culture more inclusive.
“It made me fell more hopeful about the future, and it was nice to hear that people are seeing these things and trying to make a difference,” said Dana. “It makes you feel like you’re not alone and your feelings are validated.”
Lorie, as a non-engineer, attended sessions that applied more generally to women in the workplace, as well as sessions that touched on basic communication strategies. “As women, we tend to speak in minimizing language instead of stating what we need,” said Lorie.
“I went to a session that explained how to use a software tool called Kanban, and how this form of organizing tasks can help working moms use their households to get tasks done more efficiently,” said Lorie. “I actually implemented this at work and I have a list of rolling tasks and things I need to get done that week and that day. So, SWE is not just about engineering and jobs, the convention was meant to help all women at all stages of life.”
In addition to the sessions, Dana and Lorie enjoyed walking around the convention center to see all there was to offer, including a social media room outfitted with charging stations and lounge areas to sit and relax or network. One of the special highlights they came across was a robot dog named Spot from Boston Dynamics that was brought around by the Exxon Mobile Team to interact with attendees. Not only was Spot a demonstration of technology, but he was also used as a fun way to liven up the space.
“The Exxon Mobile team had him go into a crouch and hide behind someone until they turned around and noticed him,” said Dana. “She got a jump from that; it was pretty funny.”
After an eventful two days at the SWE conference, Dana and Lorie returned to Mini-Circuits and shared their experiences with the Mini-Circuits SWE group, and team members were able to ask questions and learn more about the event. Dana and Lorie provided new ideas and inspiration not only for self-improvement, but how to make Mini-Circuits SWE have a greater impact on the company’s community and continue to create an inclusive, fulfilling work environment for all team members. Mini-Circuits SWE is excited to announce that team members will also be attending the 2023 conference in Los Angeles.