Association for Computing Machinery Women (ACM-W) and Women Energy Network (WEN Chicago) joined hands in creating a Speed Mentoring Workshop in which ACM-W Illinois Tech students got to network and interact with WEN Chicago professionals from the industry. WEN Chicago is an organization that, like ACM-W, seeks to empower women and professionals in the technology industry, specifically aimed at those working along the energy value chain. Taken from their website: "WEN’s vision is to be the premier global organization that educates, attracts, retains, and develops professionals working across the energy value chain. WEN offers educational, networking and leadership opportunities to almost 4,000 men and women nationwide through luncheons, conferences, community initiatives, socials and mentoring programs."
ACM-W members went to the Aon Center 80th floor on April 12, 2018 to attend this speed mentoring workshop. At this event, students networked with professionals from various companies that included HBK Engineering, West Monroe Partners, Peoples Gas, Nicor, EDI Engineering, and more. They talked with each mentor for 15 minutes before switching, a little like speed dating, and were able to ask mentors a variety of questions, which ranged from simple advice to professional networking tips. The event ended with a more informal dinner that allowed students to talk more at-length with the mentors and eat a delicious dinner with a beautiful view of Chicago. Photos from the event are available on ACM-W's HawkLink and Facebook page.
ACM-W & WEN Chicago have been in communication and have been working together since last semester and hope to foster this connection in the future as well. ACM-W plans to continue to hold events like these and give their members and students at IIT an edge when entering the professional workplace. As one mentor mentioned, if a student starts early, and works at building a professional network throughout their college career, they will succeed. Professional networking events are the place to go to build the first steps to your future career. This event was also a great opportunity for students to get real female role models who are currently working in careers that many of our students aspire to. Attendee Fatima Azfar says she, “got some great advice; for my future career, networking tips, and advice on leadership in student organizations” from WEN mentors.
Last year, WEN invited ACM-W members to a workplace gender bias workshop moderated by Taffy Brokemond, Director of Diversity and Community Affairs at the Illinois Commerce Commission. At that event, ACM-W was given the opportunity to meet and network with professionals. That is also where Fatima Azfar initially met professionals from West Monroe Consulting, the company in which she will be interning for this upcoming summer.
This event & this partnership allows ACM-W members to take advantage of this great connection they have with WEN to further their professional careers and gain the internships & mentors they need to further their goals. This Mentorship Workshop, iA, is a continuation of the great work they continue to do, empowering women in tech on campus.
ACM-W would like to offer a special thank you to WEN members Tina Marquez & Alison Millerick for arranging this event, & helping us bring our members to it. ACM-W would also like to thank WEN members Catherine Mertes, Amanda Payonk, Madeleine Turk, & Jodi Bednar for sticking with us from the beginning of our partnership with WEN. They hope to continue working with you in future WEN + ACM-W events!
Upcoming from ACM-W on campus is a Cybersecurity talk with speaker Hajara Al Amodi held on April 24 from 12:45-1:50pm in Perlstein Hall room 108. Drop by to meet ACM-W members & attend an amazing talk on Cybersecurity in business, & the technical divide between IT & managerial professionals.