Cummins Generator Technologies' global headquarters in Peterborough, UK recently hosted this year's Cummins European Women in Technology (CWIT) Conference. It was part of a global initiative to promote and develop women across Cummins. This was the 4th conference this year following on from the successful conferences' in the US, China and India.
The CWIT conference brought women from all backgrounds, race, cultures, and ethnicity from across the whole of Europe. They all had two things in common: A passion for technology and a desire for change.
This year's conference theme was 'Technical Excellence ' One Europe. One Mission. One Cummins.' Focussing on:
Technical expertise' Forums to stimulate discussion to promote innovation and customer focused technical creativity.
Embrace who you are; enable others' Discovering your personality revealing a role model in everyone, fostering open communication to create and nurture strong networks.
Development for all' Creating an inclusive environment for development of female technical employees and identifying the best avenue for success
Steve Hopkins (General Manager CGT) opened the conference by welcoming everyone from across Europe. The scene was set for the 3 days as he summed up the end goal to create a level playing field for all.
Day 1 ' Level Playing Field, Diverse Experiences, Leadership Engagement and Being True to Yourself
Keynote speaker, Dr Sarah Peers (Vice President ' WES) pushed the concept further asking us to see the engineering challenge as an opportunity to 'Change the world, not to change women'. The executive panel provided thoughtful and inspiring answers to the audience's challenging questions about career progression, conforming and development with a driving message of striving to remain true to yourself whilst moving forward.
The update on the Cummins Technical Women initiative inspired people into action projects such as; mentoring excellence, understanding the barriers to leadership development and the power of Women's Affinity groups. For instance, Cummins Turkey have set the way by collaborating with the government to drive gender equality in their apprentice/summer internship.
The day finished with a networking dinner with guest speaker Penny Atkins (Ricardo) who shared her engineering career journey. This was a chance to meet a variety of different people from the business, with many connections made.
Day 2 ' Working Across Cultures, Conflict Management, Inclusion & Unconscious Bias
Day 2 kicked off with Joan Wills (Power Systems Platform 3 Engineering Leader) on how to build your own leadership brand. The clear message was to focus on your strengths to make you stand out and to believe you can make your own opportunities.
Inspiring career journeys were shared by people at varying stages of their careers, education routes and disciplines. Claire Snowdon (Marketing Director at Turbo Technologies) emphasised the importance of understanding your own needs and motivations, by saying 'You can have it all, but you need to work out what your 'all' is'.
Working across cultures, inclusion and unconscious bias highlighted the need for self-awareness, unintentional consequences of action and also acknowledgement of the responsibility to make your environment better as well as the ability to do so. 'Small steps drive big changes' (Kevan J Simon).
Breakout sessions provided a variety of additional learning and interaction opportunities. These included:
- Conflict Management
- Promote Gender Diversity ' Social Media Interaction
- Aftertreatment, Cost Reduction and Optimisation
Day 2 ended with CGT hosting a plant tour at Stamford, for those wanting to learn more about alternators they manufacture.
Day 3 ' Role Models, Male Diversity Panel, Inner Happiness & Mindfulness
The last day of the conference started with role model and male diversity panels, which provided a great forum to share ideas, concerns and ultimately come together to see how Cummins can move forward to level the playing field.
Breakout Sessions offered on day 3 were:
- Cummins Innovation Centre
- Getting involved in the Technical Women Initiative
- Future Technologies for a Low Carbon Cummins.
Alison Snell (Europe ABO Strategy Director) delivered a unique and engaging keynote speech that resonated with all by promoting the message that happiness is a powerful tool. By consciously focusing on happiness, coupled with hard work can be a natural output for success:
Hard-work + Happiness = Success
23rd June was National Women in Engineering Day with Cummins being a proud sponsor. Students from Nene Park Academy and The Peterborough School attended an interactive activity sessions in Stamford & Peterborough giving them a chance to learn about a career in engineering.
There is a positive future where embracing diversity will drive the change we are looking for. The conference was a great initiative to collaborate across business units and Europe. The next conference will take place in 2018 and all attendees look forward to see the changes that have been made.
'As a Tech Leader attending the conference, the experience and opportunity to network with all the attendees and openly discuss the challenges everyone faces was thoroughly rewarding and helped progress towards levelling the field for all'. ' Lowell Siewert (Engineering Director in Power Systems).
'I am thrilled to see all of the amazing work the Cummins Technical Organization is doing to develop a diverse pipeline of talent and level the playing field'.- Jessica Keen (Lead Marketing Leader in Power Systems).
'I found the conference encouraging and also a fantastic opportunity to meet people in the business with whom I could share my work knowledge and learn from their experiences.' ' Gifty Mbroh (Service Engineer in Generator Technologies)