I attended my first SEMI Foundation-organized Women in Semiconductors (WIS) event on May 1st. It was held in conjunction with the Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference (ASMC) in Saratoga Springs, NY. I really didn’t know what to expect but I know I wasn’t expecting standing-room-only with 200 people attending. The other surprise was that the audience comprised 10% men.
This was a long way from one of my first women’s networking luncheons at Motorola in the late 80s where the few women at the company would get together and complain about the men. I only attended one of those.
WIS 2023 co-chairs —Marie LeGuilly, Entegris, and Garima Gautam, Intel — introduced the program and the theme: Bridging the Gender Gap through Allyship. They explained that Allyship is when we actively support each other and help each other regardless of gender, race, or minority group.
Diversity Equity and Belonging
The meeting started off with Michelle Williams-Vaden from the SEMI Foundation as the moderator of the panel discussion. I can’t say enough about how good moderator a moderator she was – enhancing and keeping the discussion flowing. As the hour passed by, I wanted to hear more.
Debbie Gustafson, CEO of Energetiq; Priya Mukundhan, Sr. Director, Onto Innovation; Gary Patton, Corporate VP, and GM Intel Corp; and Daniel Woodland –Sr. VP and President APS Entegris comprised the panel. They talked about their mentors, experiences, how they’ve embraced allyship, recognized unconscious bias, and what they’ve done to try to eliminate it. They made clear that no one person or organization is perfect, but they believe our industry is headed in the right direction. And the more successful companies are the ones making a concerted effort with education, training, and promoting Diversity Inclusion, and Belonging (DIB).
One interesting topic discussed was women bullying other women. This surprised me because I’ve not seen or experienced this. This brought back memories of my first manager who was a woman. She taught me many skills and put me in situations that helped me grow and gain confidence.
Learning The Art of Self-Branding at WIS
The panel was followed by an interactive workshop given by Rita Allen, founder of Rita B. Allen Associates, on Navigating Gender Bias. This was great and I did learn some new things. I appreciated that the discussion surrounded practices for all professionals not just women. But, because of how women are brought up, they may not spend time on it:
- Know Our Value
- Know What We Want – be goal oriented.
- Know How to Ask for It – advocate effectively.
She then talked about the 3Ps, which can actually be conveyed thru storytelling.
- Preparation – Identify and Define Your Brand
- Packaging – Create and Build Your Brand
- Presentation – Articulate and Enhance Your Brand
Though self-branding seems a simple task it’s difficult due to our perception vs. other people’s perception. I learned how storytelling is a powerful ability/skill for the 3Ps.
I think the best part of the day for me was the group mentoring session when we broke into smaller groups. There were tables set up to discuss: Cultivating Confidence, Addressing bias, Knowing your brand, and Self Care. Natural mentor/mentee roles came out of these discussions. After short breaks, you could move from table to table. What a great way to network naturally!
All in all, a great event and all professionals should consider attending this event in the future, not just women.