On this episode of the podcast Women Who Work With Men I am delighted to have Jonna Gerken the president of the Society of Women Engineers. Jonna talks with us about her career at Pratt & Whitney, her love of engineering, and the massive advantages of finding your tribe.
I was fortunate to connect with Jonna at a Women in Manufacturing event. She caught my attention for a couple of reasons. Jonna spoke passionately about her career at Pratt & Whitney easily dispelling the popular myths of manufacturing environments as being dirty, dark, and dangerous. Jonna also spoke about what an honor it is for her to be the president of the Society of Women Engineers. It’s a global organization with over 40 thousand members, and an organization that has been such an internal part of her life.
I love how Jonna can easily and expertly discuss the technical aspects of engineering and totally gets the power of women in support of each other.
The Society of Women Engineers SWE has lofty goals and delivers on them. They offer support for students of all ages and Jonna explains how they work with both students and professionals at all levels.
Jonna also speaks about the concept of “once an engineer always an engineer” and how the thought process of an engineer leads to solving so many problems.
Engineers and SWE are focused on solving problems through collaboration.
How Can I connect with Jonna and Society of Women Engineers?
Jonna is on LinkedIn
Website for SWE www.swe.org
What’s Jonna’s most recent leap?
“Last leap was the decision to run for SWE President. After being on the board for 2 terms (4 years) it was finally time to decide whether I was going to take a chance and run. Since you don’t know who else is putting their names in, it’s a risk that someone ‘better’ might also be interested and I might not get chosen.
It was a tense few months while I waited to hear whether I was selected as the candidate for the ballot….because if not, then it’s basically a year off of SWE leadership since it’s too late to run for anything else. Glad it worked out! It’s been an incredible year and a few months (President-Elect followed by President) and I’m glad I had the opportunity to serve while I still can, while my family is still supportive, and while my work is accommodating of the schedule and commitments.”
This Weeks Actions: Join a Professional Organization.
1) Research, take your time and look into what they really do. If you are a woman engineer this is a great organization. Find the gperfect one that serves your profession.
2) In order to move ahead in your career you must make room for new projects. Sign up for our gentle ways to offload projects and work on the projects you want to:
And hey – follow all the episodes of the Women Who Work With Men podcast on iTunes.