Friday, October 19, 2012

Passing the CU-WISE Torch

I'm one of the original founders of our Carleton University Women in Science and Engineering group.  I stayed on the exec for a few years, stepping down only when I was pregnant, since I knew I wasn't going to be there the whole year.  I was the last remaining original exec.  The transition into new leadership was tricky at first, but I couldn't be more proud of what the new generation of CU-WISE is doing!

I put a lot of effort into making CU-WISE successful and, more importantly, sustainable.  From ensuring we had an up-to-date web presence, to creating a consistent brand, to planning outreach events and events for current students, to getting our mentoring program off the ground... I did a lot.  When I left, they needed more than one person to replace me! Despite my efforts in documenting everything, it was difficult at first for those who remained to get off the ground.

After a bit of struggle last year, CU-WISE is totally rocking it this year.  We finally scored some coveted office space, which the new co-chairs have set up very nicely.  They use it to meet in person weekly, something we never did before (but should have).  One of our past execs has offered to get the mentoring program going again remotely, despite being a post-doc at another institution now.  There are several really interesting new events planned, including outreach events that build off of what I had created in the past.  Things are looking amazing.  The only thing that's needed is a few more executive members to help the current team out!

So why do I tell you all this? Yes, I did want to share my pride, but I also wanted to encourage anyone else who wonders whether all the effort is worth it.  It is! If you're trying to get a women in science and/or engineering program off the ground at your school or workplace, give it all you can reasonably give.  Document everything so others can take over later.  And if you're finding nobody is able to carry the torch at first, don't fret - persevere, and you'll see the fruits of your effort in no time.  You'll be amazed at what comes next.


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