More than 45 male and female delegates to the 2019 Turbomachinery & Pump Symposia (TPS) gathered on Wednesday of the conference for the inaugural Women of TPS Luncheon to network with colleagues and interact with a panel of women who shared their experiences and challenges in a male-dominated industry.
The Women of TPS luncheon—to which men are also encouraged to attend—is a forum for women of TPS to share experiences and challenges in the industry. It is also an avenue in which those experiences and challenges can be heard and understood by others, including upper management.
Panelists included Judith Hodgson, P.E. president of JE Hodgson Consulting Enterprises; Charli K. Matthews founder and CEO of Empowering Brands and Empowering Pumps & Equipment; Jane Ploeger, head of portfolio management within the technology and innovation group at Siemens; and Meera Day Towler, P.E., research engineer in the Rotating Machinery Dynamics Section at Southwest Research Institute. The panelists’ backgrounds represented the wide breadth of attendance at TPS, from heavy technical to non-technical careers. Panel discussions ranged from retrospective advice to encouraging personal experiences. Themes repeated among the panelists included the importance of mentors and the necessity of finding confidence in oneself.
Hodgson said she was struggling to feel comfortable in her field early on in her career. It was her mentor’s advice that eventually lead her to start her own consulting company.
“He told me, ‘To stand out in your field, you have to learn something you don’t already know,'” Hodgson said. “So that’s what I did. People had to start coming to me for information, because I was the one who had it.”
Both men and women took note during the engaging discussions and were invited to pose questions to the panel, all of which seemed to resonate with the audience.
“The way the panelists interacted with one another and the attendees, and shared such meaningful ideas made this event an unforgettable experience,” said Brooke Conrad, communications director for the Turbo Lab and a coordinator of the event. “I left feeling encouraged at their advice and the buzz of important conversation between attendees. I am grateful to all the panelists and attendees, and look forward to making the luncheon a staple event for the men and women of TPS for years to come.”
The luncheon opened with a game of “bag bingo” where participants could win one of three designer bags purchased by bag sponsors Ariel Corporation, Empowering Pumps & Equipment, and the TPS Advisory Committees. The event concluded with more networking, and fun poses and props in the selfie booth.
To nominate a panelist for the 2020 Women of TPS Luncheon, contact Brooke Conrad, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.