Presidents Blog: February 2014

As SCWIST’s Board of Directors and members gear up for one of the most exciting years for our organization, I am honoured to be called upon to take over the role of Acting President by our Board of Directors, after the resilient leadership of recent past presidents, Rosine Hage-Moussa and Maria Issa.

SCWIST has a strong presence in our local society through events and activities such as ms infinity (for young girls), IWIS (for immigrant women), XX Evening  (connecting new university graduates with experts), the Brown Bag Series, student scholarships and more. 32 years after it was founded by a group of scientists and engineers to support girls and women involved in engineering, science and technology, we now have a great opportunity for SCWIST to engage more strongly with our community through the Status of Women Program funded by our federal government.

The journey towards empowering women in business, industries, and the scientific world is not new in North America, yet we are not where we should be. I have seen interviews and read articles and books (I recently read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg) discussing women and their presence in leadership roles both in business and politics. The good news is that there is awareness about the lack of diversity! The challenge is to find ways to make that diversity a reality!

Positioning women for leadership roles doesn’t happen by talking about it or forcing organizations to promote women who are not ready. There needs to be education, belief in one’s capabilities, skills and experiences and it shouldn’t get sidetracked by prejudices or misconduct.

A respected mentor I had the pleasure to know and communicate with gave me a good tip when I showed him my mid and long term plans for taking executive and director roles. He said, “Fariba, don’t think of being a woman and don’t use the current buzz to help you to get there; learn the skills you need to become a leader! That will give you confidence and earn you respect! That doesn’t mean to become or act like a man, just learn the required skills!”

SCWIST is one of the vehicles helping me toward my journey so I must do my best to help SCWIST and its members

Thank you for the opportunity to help lead SCWIST and for the support of an incredible team of Directors. We are working hard to make our vision a reality and use this opportunity to empower women through the Status of Women project and the great team we have put together to drive it. We will make a difference and I look forward to a great year full of opportunities, hard work, and excitement.