Strength in numbers for ‘women in IT’

Jennifer Ng, chair of the IEEE Women inEngineering (WIE), leads the largest international professionalorganization dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists.

Its growth,however, depends on joining forces with like-minded organizations such as Womenin Leadership and the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists.Her outreach and innovative programs for members are a few of the reasons Ngwon ComputerWorld Canada’sfirst-ever CATA WIT IT Mentor Of The Year.

“She was instrumental in generating ideasand approaching groups within IEEE, as well as beyond. She demonstrated theability to appeal to students and professionalsalike, bringing them together to collaborate and network,” said Laura Mutu, astudent at CarletonUniversity in hernomination submission for Ng.

“One of the issueswe’ve overcome by keeping a close relationship with other groups such as WILand WISE was overhead. Many women’s groups are usually focused on the samegoals. Thus, by working together, we can each fulfill our goals in a moremeaningful way and in a more memorable way.”

WIE Ottawa also strengthened its kinshipwith the local student branch chapters, recognizing that students will be ourfuture generation of members and executives. In fact, Ng and her team helpedcreate a new WIE student chapter at the University of Ottawa.

At the IT Leadership Awards ceremony, Ngadmitted she hadn’t really expected the honour.

“Because it’s the first award, I didn’tprepare a speech, because I didn’t want to jinx it,” she said. “I’m very glad,I thank the judges, I came from Ottawa and Ihave some of my family here in Torontoto be with me when I won, so thank you very much.”

Like many industry group, the IEEE WIE hasbeen busy developing its social media presence on sites like LinkedIn andFacebook, but Mutu pointed to a more traditional form of networking that hasreally developed mentoring relationships: a book club hosted in a tea shop.

The format of these book clubs is differentfrom the traditional book club setting, since the attendees are not required toread the featured books for the event,” she explained. Instead, each speakergives a short presentation of no longer than 15 minutes with her personalopinion on the chosen book. “This format provides opportunities for members topractise their presentation skills as well as engage with like-minded people inlively discussions. These book clubsare educational, inspirational and social in nature.”

Each book club meeting is also leading toabout 15 to 20 per cent new women showing up, Mutu added. As far as Ng isconcerned, the more the merrier.

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