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CWEEL Mentoring Program Offers a “Leg Up”

Every woman in the business world, whether in the private or public sector, has a moment in time when she fervently wishes she had someone to talk to.

Sometimes the issues are unique to our gender. Other times there are organizational problems. Occasionally, in the world of energy and the environment, technical issues might suddenly loom large. Or, a new opportunity, a new job offer, or promotion might tempt us to shift gears or change career paths.

If you are among the fortunate, an informal mentoring relationship might have evolved at work. Unfortunately, sometimes the needed mentor is just not to be found among co-workers. Other times, things come up which just can’t be discussed within the work place. Or, you may just want to get a second opinion or benefit from the richness of someone else’s experience in a given situation.

Sensitive to the needs of women aspiring to be leaders in our field, CWEEL has created a special mentoring program.  Within the sisterhood, we can join hands and make a difference.

Under the leadership of Lori Van der Voort, a committee has created the procedures for CWEEL members to work together to enrich our opportunities. The committee has established some criteria and information gathering forms for mentees and mentors. Taking a leaf out of the old Broadway musical, Mame, the committee is now poised to become matchmakers.

Our CWEEL members have an extraordinary wealth of experience, and they understand that sharing to benefit our colleagues enriches each of us. Laurie Wiegand Jackson, President of North America Power Partners and Co-Founder of CWEEL, says it like this:

Back when I was a teen in the Chatham, NJ public school system,  I went to a school assembly where four women spoke passionately about their engineering careers in aerospace, civil, mechanical and chemical engineering.  I had been considering following in my Dad’s footsteps as a chemical engineer, but was unsure about it.  The opportunity to see four women as my role models was both assuring and empowering.  After the school event, I felt confirmed that I could find a career in engineering that would be both fulfilling and fun.

We are all influenced by our life experiences.  Supportive families, inspiring teachers and heroes, and mentors – each have an impact on the direction of our lives. While families and teachers and heroes help us to form our dreams, a mentor helps us to make them a reality.  Whether you network with a young woman at a career day or conference or you commit to a CWEEL mentorship, you can change a life and give flight to a dream!

If you would like to find a mentor to help you expand your professional development quickly with the benefit of their experience on your side, or you need a sounding board to kick around some concerns, you are invited to participate in the CWEEL Mentoring Program.

Should you wish to share your experience in order to support women in our industry, we invite you to consider serving as a mentor. In either case, please contact www.aeecenter.org/mentor for more information. We look forward to connecting you!

Shirley J. Hansen, Ph.D.
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