Written by Ally Jabuka-Goodwin
The Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Committee held its second “speed mentoring” event on Thursday, April 5th, 2018 at ARUP’s office in San Francisco. The event began at 6 pm with a welcome address from Hayley Dickson and Theresa Curtis, the committee co-chairs, followed by each mentor introducing themselves, briefly describing their past experience and career trajectory.
The format of the event was the same as the previous event. The mentors were divided into pairs and met with groups of three to five mentees at a time for 12 minute discussions. At the end of each session, mentees rotated to the next pair of mentors. By then end of the event, all mentees had a chance to speak with all of the mentors. Mentees where provided with information packets beforehand and came prepared with thoughtful, important questions.
The event attracted a large group of mentees at various stages in their careers. Topics of conversation included work life balance, networking, public speaking, how to advance in your career and more. The mentors provided incredible insight into these topics.
A common theme of discussion was the importance of networking and some strategies for the younger engineers who may find it difficult. One mentee asked Eugene Tuan, president of Tuan and Robinson Structural Engineers, how he built a client base when starting his own business and what advice he had for someone who is introverted. Eugene explained that building relationships with new clients and networking in general is like making friends. The same skills you have developed to make friends throughout your lifetime are the skills you use to build business relationships. He encouraged the mentee to not see his introversion as a limit on his ability to be successful in business.
Kate Stillwell, founder and CEO of Jumpstart Insurance Solutions, also stressed the importance of networking in business. She spoke about working on her networking skills during her time in business school and suggested Toastmasters as a great alternative for young engineers looking to develop their interpersonal skills.
Another topic of conversation was how to be chosen to work on the interesting projects in your firm. David Ojala, a senior associate at Thornton Tomasetti, described how all engineers have to work on the standard, code-based projects. Those projects are necessary to keep all companies going. However, he suggested doing outside research on structural engineering topics of interest. This would put the engineer at an advantage when their company gets a unique project. He also suggested joining one of a few of the SEAONC committees, which provide opportunities to explore some of the more complex challenges in structural engineering.
The SE3 Committee is delighted by the results of this event. The committee is very grateful for the participation of an amazing group of mentors. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with our mentees. Thanks also to everyone who participated as a mentee and asked such thoughtful questions. SE3 looks forward to future mentorship events to continue to foster connections in the structural engineering community.
To learn about or help plan upcoming events, join us at our next meeting on May 8th at Thornton Tomasetti in San Francisco! We are always looking for new members and contributors.
For more information about the SE3 Committee visit SE3project.org. To learn more about the NCSEA SE3 Committee, visit ncsea.com/committees/SE3 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to take the newly released 2018 NCSEA SE3 Survey about engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession that can be found at ncesa.com/committees.se3.
We are thrilled to announce that the 2018 SE3 national survey on engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession was released last week.
Please complete the survey if you are a practicing professional living in the United States, and share this with friends or colleagues who are no longer working in the structural engineering profession. We are relying heavily on friends and colleagues to help spread the word.
Link to the live survey: www.surveygizmo.com/s3/4135045/SE3-Survey-2018
The goal of this study is to advance the structural engineering profession by understanding the keys to engagement, retention and gender equity, examining topics such as advancement, compensation, and work-life balance.
The survey will be open for 2 months (until the end of May).
The SE3 Committee is excited to announce its second mentorship event in San Francisco (this time in SoMa)... Back by popular demand in early April 2018!
SE3 Speed Mentoring Event
This two-hour event, scheduled on Thursday, April 5, 2018 from 6 pm to 8 pm, provides a great opportunity for younger engineers to engage with some of the most prominent and experienced structural engineers in the SEAONC community.
Note that last summer's mentorship event sold out quickly, with immense interest from both mentors and mentees in the local community. Register early to reserve your spot.
We are thrilled to offer the guidance and support from following mentors for our upcoming event:
For more info, visit SEAONC or our Upcoming Events page
SE3 Project published 3 articles in STRUCTURE magazine in 2017, as a 3-part series on professional issues:
Check them out, and please feel free to add any comments or questions below.
You can read or download the full report here.
On Thursday, November 16th, 2017, Natalie Tse, SE, LEED AP, Project Manager of Tipping Structural Engineers, presented a 15-minute leadership talk on How to Cultivate Engaged and Productive Staff to an audience of 150 A/E/C professionals at the second annual Women in Design + Construction (WiD+C) Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. Natalie was invited to present on behalf of the SE3 Project by the event coordinators of Building Design + Construction Magazine.
The conference brought together thirty thought leaders to participate in panel discussions and to lead educational sessions with compelling content on important leadership topics relevant to women in design and construction. These included: keys to fortifying client relationships, establishing a Lean-in circle, strategies for developing and engaging diverse teams, emotional intelligence, gender bias and other barriers for women, confirmation bias, work-life balance, improvisation and negotiation skills.
Natalie’s talk was very well received by the conference attendees. They were a welcoming, attentive and powerful group of (mostly) female leaders in our industry. During the networking session, many attendees commended the SE3 Project Team on their efforts and commitment to inspire change in the profession.
With a good representation of leaders and professionals practicing as architects, engineers, contractors, building owners, facilities managers, and real estate investors involved in design and construction, this is the most diverse audience to which the SE3 Project has presented thus far, a milestone worth celebrating. The team is thrilled to have had the opportunity to share the findings and recommendations from the 2016 survey to individuals beyond the structural engineering profession and looks forward to future engagements with the WiD+C community.
Written by Angie Sommer
The SE3 Committee held its inaugural mentorship event on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at Thornton Tomasetti’s San Francisco office. The event sold out quickly, with huge interest from both mentors and mentees in the local community. At 6pm, the event began with a welcome address from Angie Sommer, the committee co-chair, followed by instructions for the evening from Faith Silva and Neelima Tapata, the committee’s Mentorship Task Group leaders.
The format of the event was “speed mentoring,” whereby mentees were placed into six groups of four or five, and mentors were paired up, typically matching two engineers with different backgrounds together. Most mentees were very early in their careers; some were summer interns. Six conference rooms were set up to host two mentors and one group of mentees at a time. Every 12 minutes event administrators would alert the mentee groups to rotate to the next room.
The atmosphere was convivial, but focused—mentees were sent prep materials beforehand, including sample questions to ask mentors, and everyone generally arrived prepared to gather as much information from the mentors as possible. While each session was quick, mentees asked intriguing questions, and mentors responses were thoughtful, interesting, and varied.
One young engineer who is working at a summer internship asked how to prepare to lead your first project. In response, Gina Carlson, a senior associate at Tipping Engineers, described the process of entry-level engineers being eased into project management by first attending project meetings, participating in discussions, and doing behind-the-scenes work to learn how a project is run before having to do it themselves.
Another young engineer posed a question about how to achieve work-life balance. Maryann Phipps, president and owner at Estructure, responded by noting that you can't have everything. She explained that one can choose to put more energy into one’s professional life or into one’s personal life (and those ratios can change over time), and that both of these choices are good, but they have different outcomes. She emphasized that each person needs to choose what’s right for them, and to set reasonable expectations.
The session ended with a short survey to gather feedback on the event, which was generally found to be positive. One mentee noted, “It is a relief to hear the same worries and challenges having come about for now successful engineers.” Another commented on the good organization and high value of the event, also noting that, “the diversity of mentors helped bring different perspectives to my questions.” The mentors had similarly positive feedback, expressing how much they enjoyed the event and working with the mentees. One common suggestion for improvement included leaving more time for discussions among each group; 12 minutes per session was generally felt to be too quick of a pace.
The SE3 Committee is very pleased with the results of its first mentorship event, and plans to host more events in the future that may be focused on different experience levels of mentees. The committee is very grateful for the enthusiastic participation of such an incredible group of mentors at this event; thank you for reaching out to, and connecting with, the next generation of engineers. Thanks also to everyone who signed up as mentees and arrived with such thoughtful, interesting, relevant questions. SE3 looks forward to continued success in its mentorship program to continue to engage and connect engineers in the local community.
To learn or help plan upcoming events, join us at our next meeting on September 20 at SGH in San Francisco! We welcome new members and contributors.
For more information about the SE3 Committee, or to read the SE3 2016 Survey Report that discusses detailed findings from the 2016 nationwide survey, visit SE3project.org. To learn more about the newly formed NCSEA SE3 Committee, please visit ncsea.com/committees/equity or email email@example.com.
If you have questions or would like to join the SE3 Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Space is limited and we currently have a wait list. To be added to the waitlist for this event and be notified of future events, please submit your name, email, and additional info on the following form: https://goo.gl/forms/vw6TTKmXUHOEAQVD2
SEAONC SE3 Speed Mentoring Event
The SE3 Committee is pleased to launch its first mentorship event—speed mentoring! This event will provide a unique opportunity for junior engineers to engage with more established structural engineers in a time-efficient networking session. The purpose of the event is to encourage junior engineers to gain strategic guidance and advice to progress in their careers.
What is speed mentoring?
Speed mentoring is a series of quick, focused conversations between mentors and mentees. Groups of 3-4 mentees will cycle through several groups of 1-2 mentors over the course of the evening. Each cycle is 12-15 minutes long and consists of focused questions that will be answered by each group of mentors.
We are excited to announce the following mentors for our upcoming event:
Thursday, August 3, 2017 | 6-8 PM
650 California St, Suite 1400
San Francisco, CA 94108
Mentee registration costs:
$15 for SEAONC members | $20 for non-members
If you are currently registered for the event and can no longer attend, please email us at email@example.com as soon as possible, but no later than Wednesday, August 2, 2017.
Light refreshments will be provided.
Please contact SE3@seaonc.org with any questions.
2016-17 has been a big year for the SE3 Committee, and it started with the group being officially made a SEAONC committee at the end of the summer of 2016! With our new, official committee status, we hit the ground running and have accomplished a number of tasks in the pursuit of advancing engagement and equity in structural engineering over the last year. Below is a list of major milestones in our journey along the way, which would not have been possible without the tremendous support of our committee members, SEAONC, and the structural engineering community at large.
2016-17 SE3 Milestone Timeline
September 2016: Present preliminary findings from the 2016 SE3 nationwide survey at the SEAONC Monthly Meeting to approximately 130 attendees at Thornton Tomasetti’s office in San Francisco.
October 2016: Present findings from the 2016 SE3 survey at the SEAOC Convention in Maui.
December 2016: Present findings from the 2016 SE3 survey at an ATC webinar for approximately 500 registrants nationwide. This webinar is now available on our website at SE3project.org/webinar!
December 2016: Release the SE3 2016 Survey Report, a 12,000-word document that outlines the detailed findings and best practices related to the most relevant survey findings in the areas of overall career satisfaction, career advancement, pay and benefits, and work-life balance.
January 2017: Inaugural SE3 Symposium—LISTEN, ASSESS, CHANGE—a half-day event hosting 120 attendees at SPUR in San Francisco, with presentations and panel discussions to explore issues of engagement and gender equity in the structural engineering profession, focusing on what individuals and companies can do to improve.
March 2017: Committee establishes five task groups to address specific projects that relate to the Committee’s mission. Task groups and leaders:
April/May/June 2017: Present 2016 SE3 survey findings at:
June 2017: Announce the first SEAONC SE3 Mentorship event to be held August 3, 2017 from 6-8pm.
And, at the end of June, one of the crowning achievements of our committee over the last year: our proposal to begin a national SE3 Committee through NCSEA was accepted! Starting in 2017 there will be an NCSEA SE3 Committee that will oversee the creation and administration of a biennial survey of structural engineers nationwide and assist other chapters in starting their own local SE3 Committees. We are extremely humbled and grateful for the national support of the mission of SE3 and look forward to working within SEAONC and NCSEA to further the mission of the organization.
As for the future of the SEAONC SE3 Committee…leadership for the upcoming 2017-18 year will be announced very soon, and we’re confident that the next year will build on the work of previous years to bring continued success. In the remainder of 2017, the Committee will be hosting its first mentorship event on August 3; a best practices resource guide will be released on the SE3 website over the summer; a pay report with detailed information about compensation of the 2016 survey respondents will be released in the fall; and personal stories from members of our profession will be shared to help us understand anecdotal experiences within structural engineering in the summer and fall.
THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the SEAONC SE3 Committee and its mission over the last year and beyond—we can’t wait to see what’s next!
To be part of what’s next, join us at our next meeting on July 18 at SOM in San Francisco! We welcome new members and contributors.
For more information about the SE3 Committee, or to read the SE3 2016 Survey Report that discusses detailed findings from the 2016 nationwide survey, visit SE3project.org.
If you have questions or would like to join the SE3 Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 22nd, 2017, I participated in a special program at NASCC: The Steel Conference entitled “Solutions for Equity in the Workplace.” The panel discussion, led by Kristy Davis of AISC, included Babette Freund, President of Universal Steel Co., Heidi Brunette, COO of Steel Fabricators, Inc, and myself. Together, we covered a wide range of topics regarding diversity and equity within the structural steel industry, as seen through our perspectives as steel fabrication and engineering design professionals. The panel topics, which were initially organized around recent findings from the 2016 SE3 Study, were expanded to address such questions as “What does diverse talent mean for your company? And what is the potential impact if this is lost or unbalanced?” After establishing our individual definitions of diversity and its benefits, the conversation shifted towards a discussion of ways we can improve retention across the industry.
The panel session, which was attended by approximately 60 people on the first morning of the Steel Conference, lasted for 75 minutes and preceded a catered lunch, where attendees were encouraged to engage in discussion and debate amongst themselves. Thank you to AISC for organizing the program, and inviting me to participate!
Rose McClure, Senior Engineer
Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
SE3 Committee Mentorship
One of SE3’s 2017 initiatives is to establish a mentorship task group to take some of the lessons learned from the 2016 SE3 study and put them into action! In the 2016 SE3 survey, we found that people without mentors were 22% more likely to consider leaving the structural engineering profession. People with mentors were more satisfied with their career advancement and overall career choice. Another recent study by the Society of Women Engineers found that mentorship facilitates a sense of connectedness to the organization, increases satisfaction, and reduces turnover. Because part of SE3’s mission is to promote engagement in the structural engineering profession, bringing a mentorship program to SEAONC is a great way to pursue our mission.
Headed up by Faith Silva from Thornton Tomasetti and Neelima Tapata from Simpson Strong-Tie, this task group has done extensive research regarding the methods, successes, and failures of other mentorship programs in order to inform the best approach to starting an SE3 program. With input from other task group members, the committee at large, and SE3 leadership, the mentorship task group is gearing up to host their first mentorship event in early August 2017.
Faith Silva and Neelima Tapata, mentorship task group co-chairs
After we have one event under our belt, the group intends to re-assess the needs expressed by session attendees and possibly offer more formal mentorship or other programs in the future. Stay tuned for more information about an upcoming SEAONC SE3 mentorship event!
May was also a fruitful month for SE3 outreach; Angie Sommer participated in a panel discussion at the Groundbreaking Women in Construction (GWIC) conference on May 2 entitled Earn What You’re Worth—Closing the Gender Pay Gap. Nearly 400 contractors, architects, and engineers attended the sold out two-day conference, and Angie was invited to discuss the findings of the 2016 SE3 study regarding the gender pay gap in a broader discussion of how to improve it within the construction industry.
Angie Sommer (third from left) at the GWIC conference on May 2
Additionally, Ayse Hortacsu presented findings from the 2016 SE3 study to Buro Happold’s New York office on May 12, where she delved into issues such as mentorship and participation in professional organizations (like SEAONC!) with the younger attendees. AISC hosted Rose McClure and Angie Sommer to present a webinar for the Structural Engineers Association of Illinois on May 16, where they provided information about the 2016 SE3 study and corresponding best practices. The webinar was recorded and can be viewed online in the News section of the SE3 website.
This month, Rose McClure will be continuing to spread the word about SE3 to the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAONY) on June 21.
Join us at our next meeting on June 13 at SGH in San Francisco! We welcome new members and contributors.
The SEAONC SE3 Committee