2002 Business Meeting Minutes

Annual WIC Business Meeting
Tuesday, November 5, 7:00 am - 8:20 am

The 2002 business meeting of the Women's Initiatives Committee was called to order by Chair Kim Forsten Williams (Virginia Tech) at 7:00 am with about 15 in attendance.  The meeting began with a general welcome by Kim Forsten Williams, Chair, and introduction of the 2003 Chair and Vice-Chair, Melanie Miller (Bristol-Myers Squibb) and Surita Bhatia (Massachusetts), respectively.  A plaque expressing the gratitude of AICHE for her leadership of WIC was presented to Kim.  

An overview of the 2002 activities to date was presented:

WIC Reception, Spring Meeting, New Orleans - Approximately 20 attendees participated in networking and open dialog around areas where WIC could provide benefit to the membership.  

Women's Intersociety Network - Renee Sehee (Bristol-Myers Squibb) gave a report on the Women's Intersociety Network (WIN), a new initiative catalyzed by the Women's Chemists Committee of the ACS.  The near-term scope of the group's membership will be limited to the quantitative sciences.  Information sharing, particularly strategies for success and lessons learned, is the primary objective of the network.  Logistics for the group (e.g. convenient mechanisms for communication, meeting frequency) are still under discussion as is a clear definition of the expected value to the membership (e.g. sharing statistics, incorporating information into each other's newsletters).  Funding and coordination for WIN will be shared among the participating societies.

International Conference for Women in Engineering and Science (ICWES) - Lenore Witchey-Lakshmanan (Schering-Plough) represented WIC at the ICWES conference in Ottawa, Canada.  The conference drew 50 participants from various professional societies and an overview of American-based societies was provided.  Key takeaways from the conference were the potential for synergy between the various women's groups and the need to share/leverage resources across the groups, which is similar to the mission of WIN.  The international representation at the meeting highlighted that WIC is actually part of a large sisterhood spanning the globe with common goals and concerns.  A second meeting is to be scheduled and wider participation among WIC members is encouraged.

Student AICHE Meeting - Christi Patton-Luks (Tulsa) gave an overview of the poster session sponsored by WIC at the Student Meeting on November 3 and co-chaired by she and Melissa Reiger (Oklahoma).  The session, Women Chemical Engineers: Profiles in Motion, was attended by about 45 students and the feedback was positive.  Posters summarizing the professional histories of five women chemical engineers provided the basis for a Q&A period with the individual panelists.  It was noted that during the initial discussion period with the panel as a group, questions were primarily focussed on work/life balance.

WIC session - Barbara Todd (Phillips Petroleum) and Surita Bhatia, co-chairs, reviewed the Advancement and Retention of Chemical Engineers: Issues and Strategies session immediately following the business meeting.  Karen Gleason (MIT), Frankie-Wood Black (Phillips Petroleum), Regina Murphy (Wisconsin), Kathleen Barton (Pharmacia) and Diane Wolf (Kraft) are scheduled speakers. It was noted that speakers are required to register for the conference with payment for the day registration provided by WIC.

WIC Luncheon - Ying Wang (Dupont), luncheon chair, described the networking theme adopted for the luncheon to be held later that day.  WIC is grateful for the sponsorship of Kraft for the luncheon. The format included 30 minutes of networking time to precede the actual luncheon.  Approximately 70 people were expected to attend.  (Post meeting note: Luncheon attendance was about 50.  The networking format was well received and Kraft has agreed to sponsor the luncheon in 2003!)

Williams presented the progress made in the effort to increase the number of women award winners in AICHE.  As a first step, Jennifer Brand analyzed the available historical data for each of the award categories and made the following recommendations:  
Actions should be focussed on increasing the number of women at the Fellow level.  A key resource will be the list compiled by Betty Feehan (AICHE) of over 400 female members receiving degrees greater than 23 years ago.
Three awards were identified as targets for an increase in the number of women nominees.  WIC members interested in working on this effort were asked to contact Jennifer.  
Frankie Wood-Black and Francis Via, both of the ACS WCC, indicated that increasing the number of female award winners is an area where the WCC has made a visible impact.  WIC was encouraged to consider nominating members for ACS awards as well as AICHE and ACS share many members.  The ACS tracks women nominators and nominees as well as those receiving the award.  The number of women nominators is very low and from the ACS experience, the quality of the nomination package is often the key factor in consideration of the nominee.  The group agreed that experience in the preparation of nomination packages may be a barrier to submitting nominations and development of a workshop or informal discussion on the topic may be beneficial.  Action items from the discussion were for Jennifer to provide the list of AICHE awards to Cheryl Brown, ACS WCC liaison, and to explore analysis of the demographic data for the AICHE awards process.

Jamaica Price and Stephanie Sullivan gave a summary of the Minority Affairs Committee (MAC) meeting.  Stephanie, who is also a member of the Societal Impact Operating Committee (SIOC), indicated that diversity issues have become a discussion topic for the SIOC.  She and Emmanuel Dada (MAC) will work together on this topic.   It became clear in the discussion that MAC has a more extensive structure for officers and committees, which facilitates succession planning and follow up of activities.   MAC recently sponsored a 2-day faculty forum, a series of workshops for faculty at various stages in their career with the skill development towards tenure as primary focus.  Forum attendees also had the opportunity to meet with the Directors of AICHE.  An idea for future WIC programming was a similar forum for female faculty.  MAC also sponsors several scholarships.  Jamaica was congratulated as a recipient of one such scholarship for 2003.  New for MAC in 2003 is a student liaison position.  Francis Via indicated that in the ACS, which counts both chemists and engineers among its members, about 51% of new members are women while the overall membership is <20% women.  Retention of these new members is an important goal.  A possible role for the student liaison is to increase the visibility of groups such as MAC and WIC to students, increasing their awareness of the extensive network available to them upon graduation.  The question was raised whether or not WIC should create a student liaison position for WIC but no action was taken.

The topic of the budget for 2003 was raised and the group was unclear on what funds were available through 2002 and 2003.  WIC's budget is funded from the SIOC and Williams cited that a source of frustration in 2002 was not having good knowledge of the budget. It was proposed and accepted to create the position of WIC treasurer to manage the budget.  Caroline Reynolds was elected to serve as Treasurer for remainder of 2002 and 2003.  Discussion followed on how to increase funding.  Ideas include adding a WIC `check-off box' on the membership form, a strategy that has provided a stable budget for MAC.   Funding to explore development of a COACH-like program for industrial women was discussed.  COACH has been very successful in gaining funding for and developing programs to address the stagnation of women faculty in chemistry and chemical engineering.  COACH has garnered extensive support in its short history. Action items from the discussion include:  1) follow up on the 2002/2003 budgets with Dave Rosenthal (AICHE Treasurer); 2) contact AICHE membership to explore the feasibility of a check-off box, and 3) determine the feasibility of a grant program line item to explore putting together a COACH-like program for industrial women.  

Stephanie Sullivan, webmaster of the WIC website, solicited volunteers to form a subteam to evaluate the content and use of the website.  About $2K may be available through the Societal Impact Operating Committee to fund site modifications, however, a proposal needs to be developed by year-end to secure funding.   Renee Sehee volunteered to join the effort.

Programming for the 2003 session was briefly discussed.  Work/life balance is a possible programming theme.  Though the workshop format used at the 2001 session was successful, concern was voiced that the format would impact the ability of attendees to stay for only a portion of the session.  Volunteers for session chairs will be solicited.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 am.