Thanks for tuning into the latest edition of the “Getting to Know You” column! This monthly series features one of Region E’s FY14 leaders so you have a chance to “meet” her, hear about her SWE career path, and learn a fun fact or two by the end!
This month, you’ll hear from Mary Steblein, Region E’s current Secretary!
1) When did you begin your SWE career?
I started participating in SWE in 1995 as a first-year at Lafayette College (also in Region E!), but my membership officially started in 1996. In 1999 after moving back to Rochester, I joined the Rochester professional section.
2) Explain a little bit about your current SWE position(s).
Since this interview is due to my Region Officer position, I’ll start there: I was elected as the FY14 Region Secretary at the council meeting in Delaware last year, and I am finishing my one-year term as Secretary and looking forward to another one (I was re-elected in Blacksburg). As the Secretary, I participate in the Leadership Summit, send out meeting announcements, conduct email voting, take notes during our monthly conference calls, maintain the list serves, and provide minutes for any business meetings.
I like to keep busy, so I’m also the elected Section Representative for the Rochester Section, meaning I participate on the Region Council in that capacity as well (monthly conference calls, voting, and attending the annual business meeting). I’m also a SWE Counselor for the Rochester Institute of Technology collegiate section. I don’t currently hold a society-level role but I have held some in the past (Counselor Coordinator, COR Communications Chair).
3) What does SWE mean to you?
SWE has meant many things to me over the years; in college it provided a big sister/little sister program, after college it provided the start of my professional network, and over the past decade it’s provided me the opportunity to strengthen leadership skills, work on my public speaking and refine my communication techniques. My husband is always amazed at my recharged enthusiasm for engineering whenever I return from a SWE conference – it’s also a motivational support group for me.
4) What advice would you give to people just starting their SWE careers?
#1 – Find a SWE mentor, or at least take opportunities (like speed networking) to learn more about the available positions – most people are happy to talk about their SWE path and #2 – look for opportunities that fit your strengths, but hopefully also helps you work on your weaknesses. It takes time to figure out these things about yourself, but it’s worthwhile when you find the right fit. There are so many opportunities within SWE – from volunteer opportunities to leadership roles, just keep active!
5) What is the first thing you notice about a person?
Their overall style and demeanor – you have to know your audience in order to communicate well with them, so I don’t ignore visual cues. I do try to be careful not to stereotype or pigeonhole people based on past experiences.
6) If money was no object, what would you be doing right now?
Traveling – I’d love to see all 50 states (I’m up to 29 – more than half way) and many more countries.