Message from the President

SCWIST President Fariba Pacheleh’s message in the Annual Report presented at the Annual General Meeting on June 15, 2016.

SCWIST has had an amazing year: we have moved from a quietly hardworking organization with lots of events that are consistently sold out though we don’t make a big splash about it to an organization with an impressive reach and increasing public profile.

We can proudly say that we have “hit the big time.”

We have grown this past year from 82 to 315 in membership and from 570 to 1140 in our distribution list, those who like to hear from SCWIST. Our social media presence has increased significantly; including 25% more Facebook likes on the page. We even had a “Twitter chat” hosted by ICTC – that had a huge response.

Then there are all our regular programs and events – and those are already pretty impressive. SCWIST the ‘parent organization’ has been involved in, consulted with, partnered with some pretty big players and here is a partial list:

In 2013 SCWIST became a founding member of the Science Charter of BC, which expresses the shared beliefs of over 30 science promotion organizations – this group now has its own website and their purpose is to “foster coherence and collaboration amongst organizations involved in science promotion in British Columbia by defining common understandings and purposes. Each of the Charter signees shares a belief that science and technology are pivotal to our economy, environment, health and many other dimensions of our lives.”

SCWIST is also a partner and founding member of the WEB Alliance of women’s business networks in BC – in fact, I am honored to become the Vice Chair of the group in April – The WEB Alliance is a consortium of women’s business networks in BC that serves as a resource for professional women’s groups and women in business and the trades to connect, elevate and educate the business community. WEB Alliance member organizations work together to utilize existing resources and services and collaborate rather than compete to serve the women of BC.

We work together to make the pie bigger.

As you may know, the WEB Alliance is responsible for the BC Economic Forum’s annual conference, “Women as a Catalyst for Growth.” and SCWIST is deeply involved in the conferences. Besides being a part of other organizations, SCWIST is being consulted by both provincial and federal governments.

Provincially – we have connected with the BC Minster of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, Amir Virk, and through him we have developed contacts with BC Innovation Council CEO Greg Caws; and with BCTIA, BC Technology Industry Association. Through SCWIST contacts from “way back” we are also connected with the BC Labor Market Information Office.

Federally – as a result of our MakePossible project that is funded by ‘Status of Women Canada’, we were on the new government’s radar and thus had a visit – at the SCWIST office with the new Minister for the ‘Status of Women’, the Honorable Patti Hajdu and her team. Our other “federal friend” Dr. Kirsty Duncan, is now the Honorable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science.

Then things got even more exciting: we don’t know how the connections were made, when we received a request to provide input into ‘Canada Global Affairs’ pre-G7 meeting in Ottawa. Marcia MacDonald, our Director of Strategic Development, headed off to the meeting for which we prepared a position statement – and had it on flash drives to be handed to whoever was willing to take them. SCWIST and Marcia must have made an impression as we received a second invitation to another meeting. This time Maria Issa, SCWIST Past President and MakePossible Steering Committee member headed to Ottawa. According to Maria, while the meeting itself was not too exciting, the connections were: SCWIST will be consulted and will participate in the planning of the “Women in STEM” component of the G7 in Canada in 2018 – as well as being participants in discussions with the G20 group.

Obviously, SCWIST’s reach and impact are increasing from Vancouver, across Canada and even globally. We need to think big and we need to think strategically. The most important strategic step to consider is the possibility of spreading SCWIST, the society, across the country. MakePossible already has an international reach – and we have some impressive CEOs and C-Level executives as members – but with all the above connections, there will be more, much more. Consequently, the Board has voted in favor of activating the ‘Advisory Council’ defined in our bylaws, to look at the mechanics of having SCWIST chapters or “sister connections” across the country.

YES! we are looking for volunteers for that group! This is your Society – so your input and ideas are valuable to your future – please participate in shaping that future. So as we head into that future, together – think about making connections , promoting each other , promoting SCWIST and SCWIST programs and SCWIST expertise – to your friends, colleagues and employers. Let it never be said that “oh, we couldn’t find women with the right skills” – you have the skills – go forth and shine!