The Denver Pick and Pen Newsletter – February 2021

Amanda Adams, P.E. PMP
Letter from the Denver Chapter President, Amanda Adams

I have been thinking a lot about mentorship recently; at work and how it could be applied through WIM. I have had many mentors throughout my life, and I have been incredibly fortunate that most of my mentors have been women. My first mentors were teachers. As far back as kindergarten I had supportive women who were encouraging me to succeed. Several years ago my first-grade teacher contacted me for permission to publish one of my writing samples in a book that she was working on. The fact that she still had a letter that I had written 30 years ago was astonishing. I have always loved writing, and as an engineer I have a surprising number of writing assignments (such as this newsletter each month)! I credit so much of my love for writing to my teachers, who were truly my first mentors.

When I was a student at Colorado School of Mines, I had a summer internship for three years working in an environmental chemistry lab for the USGS. My supervisor was an amazing woman and mentor and remains one of my best friends. She taught me about hiring and supervising employees, showed me how to be a working mom and demonstrated that you can be a successful woman in a male-dominated profession. We talk frequently and try to go on “girls’ trips” every year. She has been a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board and my cheering section. Having her support and guidance has made a huge impact on my success.

At Stantec and in WIM I have developed a fantastic network of peer mentors; women that I can ask for help and give help to. We are at approximately the same level in our careers and encounter many of the same successes and challenges (having kids, meeting deadlines, winning projects, losing proposals, negotiating with our superiors, imposter syndrome, all of the juggling…). What I love about this group is that they don’t judge me, and I don’t judge them. We celebrate each other’s successes and support each other when times are tough. We typically use the word friend instead of mentor, but we are both. I can’t even begin to count all of the women who fall into this group, but I am thankful for each and every one of them.

It was just last year that I started to think of myself as a mentor. For most of my career I was the “young professional”. I was the junior in the room trying to learn from all of the much more senior and experienced engineers. But recently some switch flipped in my mind and I realized that I am older now than my mentor at the

USGS was when I started working for her. I see all of the amazing engineers and scientists that I work with – women and men – and I realized that they are looking to me for guidance, they need me to show them the way, like my mentors did for me. Stantec has a women’s mentorship program in Colorado that I participated in two years ago; I was assigned to a wonderful mentor and we still keep in touch. Even though she was in a completely different part of the company (HR) I learned so much from her. Now, I have volunteered to serve as a mentor in that same program. I cannot wait to start to give back a tiny portion of the wisdom that I have received from all of my amazing mentors.

Now, I want each of you to do the same! You may not realize that you are already in a mentor relationship, it may just look like a friendship. Celebrate those mentors who you can call on to ask a question, who are always there when you have a tough day. Look for opportunities to be a mentor to someone starting in their career. WIM is a nexus where mentor relationships can bloom. If you are interested in connecting with potential mentors or mentees and meeting other WIM members, please reach out to me or any of the other Board members.

Cheers,


2021 At a Glance - Upcoming Calendar

  • March 24 – Board Election and Former WIM Denver President Linda Brown’s presentation, The Influence Maze: Navigating the Meeting Before the Meeting
  • April 21 – 2020 Recap & Highlights and 2021 Goals and Strategy
  • May – A presentation by Laura Pearson, WIM Denver member and business owner

2021 WIM Denver Board Elections

March is right around the corner, which means the WIM Denver Board elections are coming.

Here is the current election slate:
Role
Nominee
President Amanda Adams
Vice President Mariea Kartick
Recording Secretary Emily Sportsman
Corresponding Secretary Jackie Dorr
Treasurer Brenda Steele
National Rep Anita Bertisen
National Rep Judy Bolis
1st Alternate Rep Mariea Kartick
2nd Alternate Rep Betty Mahaffey

Download the PDF Absentee Ballot

Please note that nominations are still open. If you have another recommendation for one of the elected positions noted above, please submit your nomination* to President, Amanda Adams, or Vice President, Allison Forrest, prior to the March meeting or at that meeting.

* Be sure all nominees are aware and accept being presented as a nominee PRIOR to the general.

If you are unable to make it to the meeting, an absentee ballot can be submitted for the record. Please our website for an absentee ballot with directions for submittal.

Scholarships Available!

Denver Chapter Scholarships

The WIM Denver Chapter has been awarding college-level scholarships for many years to encourage the next generation of participants in the mining and minerals industry. These opportunities are for students attending/enrolled in Colorado universities or colleges.

This year we are pleased to announce that two scholarships will be awarded for the 2021 Fall Semester, each in the amount of $2,000.

For more information, see the Scholarships section of our Chapter page or email denverscholarships@womeninmining.us.

Honoring Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, we highlight this open letter by Marian Croak, a Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) winner and Women in Technology Hall of Fame inductee:

“Dear Young Women in Technology, Welcome from a 30-Year Veteran”

It was 1960, and I can still trace the phone call like the back of my hand. It was an ordinary day; I remember something broke at home, and my mother called my father at work, instructing him to come home and help fix it. Doesn’t matter what the problem was now, but at age 5 I knew I wanted to be the one she’d run to when something needed repair. I’d make sure nothing would break and, if it did, I surely would know how to make it work again. Whether I was an imagined plumber, electrician or carpenter, it didn’t matter — I envied that men could go out and work.

Thus began my journey into the field of technology. After completing graduate school in 1982, I packed my bags, made my foray into the real world and landed my first job at what was then known as AT&T Bell Laboratories. I felt somewhat unusual at first as a woman in a “man’s world,” but I was okay with it because I loved the work. So work I did — the regular workday, late nights at the Labs, drafting five or six patents during “free time” on the weekends. I loved all of it, though, and I never felt I had to give up raising my family to chase my dreams. I’ve dedicated most of my career to the design, development and launching of integrated voice and data services for the company — basically, putting voice communications over the Internet. And as women tend to do, I’ve juggled my career and kept up with my three children while managing more than 500 talented engineers and computer scientists for more than 300 programs impacting AT&T’s wireline and wireless services.

The decision to enter a male-dominated field didn’t cross my mind as odd because no one told me that I was different for doing so. The proverbial “they” never warned me that I was walking into a world where I didn’t belong. I was lucky to grow up in a supportive environment — my father built me my very own chemistry lab in our home — and I attended a public New York City high school better known for bars on its windows than its academic performance. But, it was wonderful, and my teachers understood how to inspire me. There, I decided on two things: I wanted to be challenged, and I wanted to do something that would change people’s lives. Oh, and I liked science.

Fast forward 30 years, and there’s more conversation around females entering the STEM field than ever

before. Years ago, it appeared that women in the technology field were more aware, often even paralyzed, by their gender identity. Working in a predominantly male environment used to be normal. But now, small start-ups and large corporations are barreling after talented and educated women who are driven enough to rule the world and are breaking down barriers seemingly with ease.

But why is there still a disconnect? While women are making great strides, we still see the statistics that show we make up a dramatically smaller proportion of the technology industry. There’s still the notion that women face an uphill battle and that only those who exhibit traditional “male” working styles can succeed in the industry. I know I wouldn’t be more than three decades into my career if that were the case.

You see, I’m not a vocal person. I’m quiet, self-reflective and introspective in my thinking; I like to invent. So essentially, I’m the opposite of that old axiom of what a woman needs to succeed in this business. While having 100 patents to my name is a nice benchmark, I don’t let it define me. I want to change the world in simple, pragmatic ways, to make the world a better place and to make life easier for people. Always grounded, but always dreaming.

So what’s my hope out of telling my story? As a woman working for one of the largest technology companies, I want to encourage women to keep thinking and dreaming — because no one else can think creatively or imagine what the future of technology will look like quite like you can.

People are going to accept you, and people are going to want (and value) your contributions because you are unique and, therefore, so are your thoughts. Our society is desperate for your minds and energy.

So be yourself. Fulfill the passions and dreams that you have in the environment that works best for your growth.

Here’s to young women chasing after their dreams and to all my STEM veteran counterparts out there doing their thing. The late Nora Ephron said it best: “I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”

Originally published August 23, 2012 on Huffpost.com.

Webinar Replay - Women in Mining UK, “Commodities: What is the Future of Mining?”

As green energy, climate change and emission targets come to the forefront of the political agenda, governments and companies have no choice but to join the energy transition. This will lead to higher demand from the mining companies that provide the necessary metals and minerals to achieve this low-carbon future. Can the industry deliver? In this webinar, kindly sponsored by Berenberg, the panelists will share their perspectives on how the mining sector can fulfil projected increased demand while also satisfying investors requirements in relation to ESG.

Reminder - Automatic Membership Dues Renewals

Membership dues will automatically renew if you paid using a credit card through the website. Automated email reminders about your membership are sent from membership@womeninmining.us. To ensure that notifications and reminders do not end up in your spam folder, we recommend that you add this email address to your contacts list. Your membership will attempt to auto-renew on the anniversary date that you started your online membership. Three different email reminders will be sent prior to the attempted renewal date – the first arrives two weeks before, then another one week before, and the final reminder will be on the day before your renewal date. Please look for an email titled “Women In Mining – USA: Membership renewal reminder”.

Also, please note that dues have increased from $35 to $50 starting late last year. If your dues auto-renewed at $35, we will be in touch to collect the remaining $15 and end the auto-renewal. You can login to your account to verify and update your information here.

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If you have an article or information you would like included in the next Pick & Pen, please email the editor at Kelly.Ward@marsh.com.

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