Lessons Learned from Leadership

A third-year Electrical Engineering student, as well as, the VP External of Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS). In this role, she is responsible for things such as conference delegate organization, school outreach, maintaining relationships with the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students (CFES) and Atlantic Council of Engineering students.

During this interview, Hannah sheds some light on current female engineering statistics with future goals student-led engineering movements have, as well as, advice for anyone running for leadership positions in student organizations.

One thing I have noticed when conducting some of the advocacy work is that female under-representation in the engineering field is a national problem. Engineers Canada has adopted a “30 by 30 rule” in which they hope to increase the women as professional engineers population 30 percent by the year 2030. The CFES decided to adopt that as well because it is such a prominent student issue, particularly in Canada. Currently, UNB is sitting roughly between 17-20 percent. What is inspiring though, is the high amount of turnout- almost 45 percent- we get from our female peers at these national events or conferences! So, to me, this shows that though the numbers for ladies in eng may be lower, they’re engaging heavily and being more involved in our communities. This is obviously great and I think it happens for a number of reasons but ultimately, I think it’s because the girls feel like they have something to prove. Maybe it’s something we need to prove in order to make a difference.

It could be some nonsense of ‘nurturing a community’  or something along the lines, but I think it’s that female engineers have to prove that much more. Like they have to prove that they’re equally just as employable and equally as driven as guys. So if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes.

One of the challenges of running for leadership positions as a woman is that you can’t look like you want it too bad because then society labels you as something negative and power-hungry. But if you don’t put any effort into making your ambitions known, then no one will know who you are. Whereas often times, if a guy has a laidback campaign, it’s still perceived that they care a lot about what they are pursuing, and they’re still smart, driven guys. So, unfortunately, women just have to prove it more.

But a word of advice I have for anyone, regardless of gender, running in any leadership position is to understand the position and know where you can add value and where your passions are. If you’re doing it just for your resume or a checklist, then it’s not really worth it. Know that if you work hard enough, it’s ultimately going to pay off.