Women in Engineering and the Power of STEM – #Eweek2017

Women in Engineering and STEM

Today, I snuck away from the office to the movie theatre with my sister.  Hang on! before you get too excited, it was actually to do a little research for writing this very blog… and of course to share the experience with one of the smartest ladies I know…my sister!

The backstory; I recently watch the Golden Globes where I heard about a movie called Hidden Figures, sounded interesting so I took a mental note to go and watch it…  Then, last night I saw a tweet that said this movie had inspired girls to take up careers in ***STEM.  I didn’t read the whole article as it was ‘shut off the phone time’, I did however immediately contacted my sister, a nurse and lover of science and #girlpower, to see when she was available to go see this movie.

Well I just have to say – YOU HAVE TO SEE IT! It is the best movie I have seen in a while.  But, there is more… It is more than just a story. It is a TRUE story.  I’ll try not to give all of it away but consider this your spoiler alert.

It is a movie about three women that work behind the scenes at NASA, until they decide to ‘push the bar’… and move front and center to one of the most important NASA space missions of all time! Think about how their hearts must have been racing as the astronaut successful splashed down safely at the end of his mission, all because of their work! These three women (Numbers – a pure genius in calculating numbers, Engineer – a phenomenal engineering mind, and the Supervisor who thought “mechanically”) had very different jobs but worked for one purpose… To get a man into space and back safely!

These three courageous women had to stand up for themselves individually and work hard, but they also had to be each other’s support group when they needed a little pep talk!

Let’s look at Numbers. She could calculate any problem without a calculator! But it wasn’t until the leader encouraged her (saying she was better at computing than anyone in the room) that you saw her stand up for herself and demand that she be recognized for her work. The leader’s confidence in her work is what helped her to the next level.

The Engineer was the most “mouthy” of the group.  She knew what should be done, but also realized not to have unrealistic dreams and focus on doing her work. It wasn’t until her #bossman encouraged her that she decided to become an engineer… She had many obstacles to face and she faced them by research, hard work, and confidence!  This is because her work environment allowed her to grow. I think this is key in any industry that is predominately male… We need more men willing to encourage #WomeninSTEM#WomeninTECH, and we need more women willing to ‘push the bar’. I’m a believer that this starts by encouraging high school girls that the ****STEM education Classes offered by their schools are great choices and are in fact really fun and cool – who wouldn’t want to learn the basics of robotics, I know I would.

I think the reason these ladies were successful was partly because they had each other… They looked out of one another, encouraged each other, and pushed each other outside their comfort zones. We need this in our industry… any industry.  Women Empowering Women.  Too many times, we judge each other or think only of competing. We can accomplish so much more if we push and support each other instead of pushing each other down. In the movie the leader in the group was the encourager, the one that pushed and supported the others to grow and eventually succeed.

I don’t have an engineering degree or think I could design anything at NASA but I can see talent in others and I believe in “CAN”.   The power of positivity is the topic of many blogs, books, and events – but the reality is that it starts with ‘you’ and it works best when you are encouraged and supported by those around you – just like in the movie….can you tell just how much I loved this movie!

My daughter isn’t an engineer “yet” 🙂 … but I hope to raise a leader who follows her own mind who understands she can accomplish her goals by doing the work!  The Dream Big mind set starts at a young age; and that is why I am actively supporting #Eweek2017.

So, as we look ahead to February we will be covering Engineering and Engineering Week! I am excited to participate in raising awareness to supporting DiscoveryE’s #Girl Day and help #BringitOut! Let’s teach our girls what engineers do, and then let them go #BethatEngineer!

Make sure you follow all the hashtags in this article and comment below with any great engineering stories you know!

***STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM is important because it pervades every part of our lives. Science is everywhere in the world around us. Technology is continuously expanding into every aspect of our lives

****This is the theory behind STEM education. By exposing students to STEM and giving them opportunities to explore STEM-related concepts, they will develop a passion for it and hopefully pursue a job in a STEM field.

Tracking the Shift in My Strengths


Empowering Connections Charli

Many of you have read my blogs about my strengths: Positivity, Empathy, Woo, Developer, Activator.  I didn’t come up with these “strengths” myself. I took a test called the Strengths Finder in my twenties during a ‘Ministry by Strengths’ class. I decided to take the test again when I asked my team to take it a couple months ago. I was shocked… My strengths had changed.  Part of me was upset that the guide I had been living by had changed, but at a deeper look… I found it just was an extension of the traits I had. Which means improvement!

I believe my first writings about my strengths was to help me understand what I needed to do to build my career and truly discover my passion.  I think I have a good handle on that now. I am extremely thankful that my first test had positivity as my first strength.  I really needed to believe in the positives when building my business.  The world and even your most supportive friends and family cannot always make you believe in positive outcomes – thankfully I was able to lean on that inner voice that says “I can. It is Possible!”

My new strengths list is Woo, Maximizer, Futuristic, Strategic, and Communication.  I was so happy to see the Communication strength appear. I have been working hard on improving the ways I communicate with our audience.  I have been forcing myself for several years to reach outside my comfort zone.  I have been presenting at tradeshows, taking on committee leadership roles, and writing when honestly I felt… I had no business doing so… Thankfully, I have a very supportive team and the encouragement and support helped me strengthen that muscle.

I believe that positivity is still there in my Communication strengths. I am focused on sharing positive messages to help build up others in my network as well as educate on the benefit of using digital media tools. I look forward to continue to work this muscle and make it stronger.  You will see more writing, live coverage, and presentations from me this year. That brings me to my next strength: Maximizer. I really love helping others find the strength inside that drives them.  And now, I am working with others who have a common mission to actually help them discover how to build from that knowledge of their strengths and use it to accomplish their career goals.

When I look at my next strengths, Futuristic and Strategic, I see them as a product of owning a company. I also see it as an extension of my Activator trait.  Because I am one to get things started and with a “want to do it right now” attitude, I have had to force myself to be strategic and not jump before thinking about the future or the opportunities that might be lost if I “jump”.  The experience of building a business and running an established one has given me insight that I will hopefully be able to share with my network, help them through some of the obstacles, and identify opportunities.

Lastly, WOO! I like the definition of Woo; it means “ to seek favor and support”.  I am still working to Connect, Inform, and Educate the industry.  I will continue to seek support from strategic partners that have this common mission to amplify the voice of industry and the systems and people that make it all possible!