Insights from a Society of Women Engineers’ Conference
Resideo’s SWE champion, Helen Meza, shares her key takeaways from the recent conference.
Resideo is committed to creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where employees can bring their authentic selves to work each day. Resideo’s partnership with the Society of Women Engineers offers employees resources and opportunities for personal and professional development. Resideo is a Corporate Partnership Council Member of SWE.
By: Helen Meza, Resideo System Test Lead Engineer
I find the SWE conferences to be an endless venue for professional development, education and networking. I come away from each one I attend feeling like I’ve had a career wake-up call.
I recently attended a conference in London, England, where key topics covered many relevant issues affecting women in engineering, including championing positive mental health, the importance of male allyship, the power of personal branding, maximizing outcomes through diversity and inclusion, increasing productivity in software teams and many others.
As always, I am honored to represent Resideo as its SWE champion. In this role, it’s a privilege to attend these conferences and share my insights.
Focus on Positive Mental Health
During the conference, one of the keynote speakers addressed the importance of positive mental health and shared the Keyes Model of Mental Health. In this model, mental health exists on a continuum from positive mental health, or flourishing, to negative mental health, or languishing. It does not necessarily mean one has a mental illness. You could have depressive symptoms while simultaneously displaying a moderately high level of psychological health – meaning you’re neither mentally ill, nor particularly healthy. Keyes calls this state “languishing.”
This concept resonated with me. In my early days as a student, I departed from my home in Peru and travelled across the world to begin university studies. Being away from my family and all that was familiar to me led to feelings of isolation, sadness and loneliness – all feelings that international students tend to experience when dealing with culture shock.
I was in a state of languishing without even realizing it. Looking back, I wish I was more aware of my mental state. Getting support would have made a big difference in understanding that my low emotional state was normal under those circumstances, that it was not permanent, and that I was not the only one who was experiencing these issues.
As leaders, we have the responsibility to provide our teams and colleagues support by establishing an environment of inclusiveness, trust and safety.
The Importance of Male Allyship
Another key takeaway that resonated with me was the importance to women of male allyhip. This concept is how men can contribute to empower women in the workplace. We need men supporting women and being allies, just as much as women supporting women.
What does male allyship look like?
Key behaviors to improve and become a better ally include:
- Listen to your team and female colleagues.
- Ask questions about what women on your team want to achieve in their careers, what their aspirations are and what obstacles they are currently facing.
- Help bring them into a conversation where otherwise they might be too shy or intimidated to participate.
- Use your influence to re-address the issues and establish a balance in the dynamics of your teams.
- Commit time to learning about issues/biases affecting women.
- Provide opportunities for a project, new tasks or ideas.
- Be accountable.
- Get involved in employee resource groups and stay informed of current issues impacting women.
With more than 40,000 members across the globe and several events each year, SWE offers leadership development, networking opportunities, educational resources and so much more. You don’t need to be an engineer or scientist to join. You must simply have the desire to improve professionally and step out of your comfort zone.
Resideo is dedicated to building a competitive pipeline of diverse talent and transformative programs for scholars, emerging engineers, and STEM professionals.
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