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New York CWEEL Group Inaugural Meeting Recap

On Jan. 21st, 2021, the New York – CWEEL Group hosted the first meeting with prospective members virtually. The purposes were to introduce CWEEL and the NY Group to the local industrial community and explore potential interest in membership. We were honored to have Laurie Wiegand-Jackson, the CWEEL National Board Chair, and Maryanne McGowan, CWEEL National Board Member, to join the meeting as speakers. Laurie introduced the origin and missions of CWEEL. She mentioned that the organization started over a decade ago to get women together and support each other. The purpose is to address gender equity issue in energy and environmental industries. The mission is to provide a network for women and support them to advance their education and career through scholarships, mentoring program and technical training. 

The next speaker, Maryanne gave an inspiring testimony on her belief that “Life is an Adventure”. She is the winner of 2020 CWEEL Champion Award. Maryanne started with exciting news that today’s educational tv programs like Sesame Street started to feature women in technical and engineering fields. Then she shared a story of Alexander Fleming, a Scottish Biologist, who accidentally discovered penicillin that saved millions of lives during the World War II. She quoted that “One sometimes finds what one is not looking for.” It refers to Alexander’s discovery on penicillin that made tremendous impact on human history and brought him a Nobel Prize. She used this quote to encourage attendees to take adventures in their life: they may discover talents that they did not know they had. And hopefully the adventure they take with CWEEL and the NY Group leads them to a bright future.

Following the speakers’ session, attendees were invited to network and discuss their expectations on the NY Group in 2 breakout-room sessions. In the end, the meeting’s moderator, Davetta Thacher, closed the meeting with her moving words and appreciation to all attendees for their participation and their sharing. This meeting had 125 registrations and 60 attendees.

According to the breakout-room discussions, mentoring program and networking opportunities were the most popular topics. The Group also gained 5 attendees’ interest in being part of the leadership and creating the Group’s programs.

Here we want to shout out to the CWEEL National Board and NY-AEE Chapter Board for their huge support on providing resources to the Group and facilitating group discussion in the meeting. We especially thank Laurie Wiegand-Jackson, Maryanne McGowan, Alison Shea, Deborah Lenny, Fredric Goldner, Altramese Roberts-Tompkins and Michelle Whitlock.

The Group was initiated by CWEEL NY Chapter Liaison, Cissy Bai, and the President of NY-AEE Chapter & CWEEL Lead for NY Group, Davetta Thacher.