Words from the 2000 Chair
The Women's Initiative Committee (WIC) began the year with a series of goals in mind focussing primarily on the establishment of an infrastructure from which we could draw as we build our organization.  This infrastructure needed to do two things:
(I) Provide us with the ability to make efficient and mass communications.
(II) Provide us with a forum for exposure to women ChEs in AIChE, women outside AIChE and women in other society organizations

To this end the following was accomplished:

1) A base infrastructure to allow for ease in communication and contact with the members
A listserve was established which provides a tool for communicating WIC needs and programs, and a means of communication of all members to each other.
The WebPage, established last year, was updated to facilitate possible members in finding WIC and the programs it offers, as well as a forum for AIChE members to access the services we provided, such as the roommate service and the family activity service.

2) A Session and other activities are being at the LA 2000 mtg, at which women can begin to network and understand their common interests.
SIOC mtg: update and report to improve exposure of WIC
Student lunch - participation of Chair to introduce WIC to students
Student Chat - discussion to promote networking and mentoring of women at start of their careers.
Session - Turn of the Century Chemical Engineers - Successes and Challenges. Review of the issues still facing women, and men, engineers from childhood to continuing practice.
Luncheon - networking oppty and presentation of project between GSA and AIChE to promote science education among women.
Business mtg - oppty for women (and men) to get involved in continuing the development of women Ch E's and of their careers.

3) To network with other WIC type organizations in our sister societies.
Participated in Women on the Move, hosted by ASCE.  Opportunity for various women form sister organizations to begin developing of a data based on women, their areas of expertise and availability for various opportunities with government commissions, speaking engagements, mentoring arenas, and awards.  Meeting also focussed on development of a culture survey that would establish the real level of support a company or organization possesses for the recruiting and retaining of talented women engineers
SWE article interview
Continuing participation in database development and culture survey.

4) To tap into the membership to accomplish these things, and others.  
Participating in SWE/ASCE interactions
Preparing of the list serve
Developing means for contacting possible roommates
Preparing activities for families for the mtg
Penning a letter requesting dept chairs to provide names of faculty or women alumnae who would be considered for various awards
Preparing grants to assist with funding of speakers for session
Assisting with session preparation and delivery
Web page maintenance

Future plans:

To survey membership to help determine what areas of interest/need are in the ranks that might be addressed by WIC.

To assist with a database development to provide names for award candidates, committee candidates, and officer positions within AIChE.

To prepare a system by which the interests and abilities of several members can be tapped for use in small projects or parts of larger projects to prevent burnout and allow for succession management.


Leonore C. Witchey-Lakshmanan, Ph. D.
1999-2000 Chair
Women's Initiative Committee, AIChE