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NOBCChE heads to New Orleans!
The agenda-at-a-glance is online

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Digital thinker Tokiwa Smith tweets a day in her life for NPR's 'Tell Me More'

On March 28, NOBCChE member Tokiwa Smith will be the featured "tweeter" for National Public Radio's "Tell Me More" show hosted by Michel Martin. Throughout the month of March, "Tell Me More" host Michel Martin will explore why so few women are leaders in the burgeoning technology industries. The latest research suggests that close to 90 percent of tech startups in Silicon Valley are launched by men. She'll host on-air discussions with women who are tech innovators; and on Twitter, Martin and the show's senior producer, Davar Ardalan, will moderate a digital conversation with more game-changing tech leaders around #NPRWIT. Tokiwa Smith, founder and executive director of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, Link Inc. will share her story in 140 characters or less for the entire day. Be sure to follow Tokiwa @tokiwana and @semlink and join the conversation using the hashtag #NPRWIT.

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Catching up with the ladies of COACh
In 2008, a group of six young women at various stages of their academic programs came together during the COACh (Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists) workshop held at the 37th annual conference in Philadelphia seeking personal growth and professional development opportunities. During this workshop, they uncovered some common challenges encountered to advance their careers, and worked together to develop a specific set of skills necessary to break through those roadblocks. Now these women have a shared sisterhood and are doing great things in their career and in NOBCChE.

COACh is a grass-roots organization working to increase the number and career success of women scientists and engineers through innovative programs and strategies. COACh has been expanding its efforts to women scientists and engineers in the United States and developing countries through a series of unique and in-country career training and networking activities.

NOBCChE caught up with these women to see what they are doing now in their careers and how the COACh workshop at NOBCChE helped them get there. In April and May, we will feature some of these fierce ladies and the COACh mentors who they credit with their success.

"COACh is the time to network, learn and develop into a extraordinary Young Professional Leader. The questions and different scenarios help me to be strategic and conscience on how I navigated my matriculation into my professional career as a Research Scientist." –Dr. Roderquita Moore, USDA Forestry Service

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  Spreadsheet Problem-Solving & VBA Programming Course

Spreadsheets are a powerful problem-solving tool for chemical engineers. Take advantage of a three-day immersion into Spreadsheet Problem Solving and Excel VBA Programming. This course is a combination of two popular AIChE courses: Spreadsheet Problem Solving and Excel VBA Programming Register for this class May 13 -14, 2014 Houston, TX.

Women's leadership in NOBCChE: How far have we really come?
An open letter from Talitha Hampton, NOBCChE vice president

At the 2013 conference, we asked a panel of female leaders in NOBCChE about the state of Women's Leadership in NOBCChE 40 years after our founding. What they shared was both infuriating and inspiring. They talked about their frustrations with the lack of gender diversity in the male-dominated NOBCChE leadership and the obvious absence of women during the decision making process. They also talked about the positive changes that have happened and how NOBCChE is a different organization than it was 40 years ago.

As I reflect on NOBCChE's history, I want to be clear that I believe the men leading NOBCChE had the best interest of the organization at heart and their contributions have made a lasting impact that has benefited thousands. But I also believe that NOBCChE was not exempt from reflecting the societal norms that existed during those times. NOBCChE and organizations like it can be microcosms of the society that they operate in.

In the United States, women have made major strides. From early victories such as the the Equal Pay Act, Roe v. Wade and Title IX to the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, new rights for women have been enshrined into law. Perhaps more importantly, attitudes have changed. And yet, we've still got a long way to go. Women today earn only $0.77 for every dollar paid to men. Only 21 Fortune 500 CEOs are women. The U.S. is one of the only countries on the planet that doesn't guarantee a single day of paid maternity leave.

Similar to the U.S., women in NOBCChE have made major strides. In the past 20 years we have had three female presidents, two female board chairs and a number of female board members and committee chairs. Our current vice president and vice chair of the board are female. In 2008, Dr. Sharon Haynie was the first female to receive NOBCChE's highest recognition, the Percy Julian Award. We continue to make progress through the Winifred Burks-Houck awards, our COACh Partnership and our annual NOBCChE Women's Reception. But just like in the U.S., more is needed. We have not had a female chair of the board since 2003 and there has not been a female recipient of the Percy Julian award since 2008. Many of our professional awards are inundated with male nominations.

As an organization, NOBCChE is not satisfied with the status quo. At the 2013 conference, we gave ourselves the challenge to think outside of the box. The current state is still very much in the box and it is marked gender. We must do more to change this. What has sustained us for the past 40 years is not sufficient for the next 40 years.

So what are we going to do?

I do not believe in hope or hoping things get better. The only acceptable option is to plan for things to be better. But we must plan and execute strategies that position us for success. How will we do that?
  1. Build our leadership pipeline: NOBCChE commits to establishing a future talent program that strengthens our leadership pipeline. We will work with our partners who have HR expertise to ensure that this program aligns with industry standards, is intentional about inclusiveness and positions the organization to be sustainable for the next 40 years.
  2. Strengthen our current programs: We will continue to add rigor to our female programs such as the Winifred Burks-Houck Women's Leadership Award Symposium and our annual women's reception. We will establish a talent and inclusion committee to identify and nominate more NOBCChE women for external awards.
  3. Create an expectation of inclusiveness: Finally, I challenge the NOBCChE board, of which I am member, to be deliberate in selection of appointees. This does not mean that all appointees have to be female, but it does mean that diverse candidates (age, race, gender, industry, life experience, etc.) must be considered as a matter of fundamental practice.
What can YOU do?
  1. Reach out and make your ideas happen: When you see an opportunity for growth in the organization, step up to the plate and make it happen. The WBH Awards were established because three young women wanted to see a change in NOBCChE.
  2. Recognize diverse colleagues: Every year NOBCChE sponsors professional recognition awards. All of us know highly capable females — nominate them, advocate for them and publicize them among your network.
  3. Run for office or volunteer for a committee: If you don't step up, then you can expect more of the same.
  4. Vote! If you want change, you have the power to vote it in or out. Exercise the fundamental right and power you have as a member of this organization. The NOBCChE leadership serves at the pleasure of the membership.
In 2014, let us focus on being at the table. In the words of Dr. Mae Jemison, "If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu." As a leader of this organization, I am committed to empowering NOBCChE to set the table. Members of NOBCChE, we need you to be there! Let us continue to change the dynamic so that NOBCChE can be a place for empowerment of all people.

Will you join me to help move us forward? Join me for a live tweet discussion on March 31. Tweet me your ideas at @THMayo and include the hashtags #NOBCChE #Moveforward

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What makes America's favorite scientist such an anomaly
Many factors make Neil deGrasse Tyson unique — his ability to make complex ideas accessible, the fact that he hosts his own prime-time TV show. But he's also a rare breed in the world of American science: a black astrophysicist. Considering the stark absence of African-Americans in STEM fields, his position is nearly as important from a racial standpoint as for what he's accomplished professionally.
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Why science matters to the White House
Armed with Science
As the revamped "Cosmos" show is apt to point out, science is all around us. It's a part of who we are, how we live, where we're going. From the subatomic scale, to the whole of the known universe, science connects us all. It matters to us all. Back here on Earth, and more specifically in Washington, D.C., science is a matter of constant conversation. Specifically, the research and development that the U.S. government supports.
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How to stand out in your next meeting
By Deborah Wipf
Communication isn't just what we say. It’s how we say something — our tone of voice and our nonverbal cues, including facial expressions and body language. Sometimes our nonverbal cues can betray our intended message. One example that sticks out to me involves our beloved cellphones. Let's face it; we're addicted to those things. Don't believe me? If you've ever experienced that moment of panic when you couldn't locate your phone, you're addicted. Cellphones are great, and they're intended to facilitate better and faster communication, but sometimes we misuse the tool.
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Lipstick and nail files won't draw women into science
At 3 years old, my astute little niece has already glommed on to the perception that pursuing both motherhood and a career in the hard sciences is implausible, Audrey Iffert-Saleem writes. She had told me recently that she wanted to be a mommy when she grows up. I applauded her on this goal and suggested that she consider becoming both an astronaut and a mommy. Her response was to tell me I'm silly. "You can't be an astronaut and a mommy," she said, grinning at my seemingly ridiculous suggestion.
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Want to get published?
In an effort to enhance the overall content of the NOBCChE eBrief, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of NOBCChE, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit and our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.
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How MentorNet plans to bring diversity to tech and science
Fast Company
By now, the glaring lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is a familiar, if disappointing, refrain. It is very difficult to ignore the evidence: Silicon Valley's most powerful boardrooms do little to rebuff the caricature of an institutionalized white male patriarchy. And science isn't faring much better, either; a recent study published in Nature found that women accounted for less than 30 percent of the shared authorships on all published scientific papers.
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Column: Increasing STEM education for our nation's women
The Huffington Post
Women today out-earn men in college degrees and advanced degrees. Women make up more than half of America's population, and just under half of the workforce. But when it comes to filling the fastest-growing jobs in our economy in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, women do not come close. In fact, the latest census found that only 26 percent of STEM workers in the United States were women, meaning a full 74 percent of all STEM jobs are filled by men.
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How to remove gender bias from the hiring process
Are you aware of your own gender bias when you're hiring? A recent study, published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that managers of both sexes are twice as likely to hire a man as a woman. The study asked male and female managers to recruit people to handle simple mathematical tasks. The applicants had equal skills, but managers of both genders were more likely to hire men.
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Good managers avoid saying these things to their teams
God bless the bad managers we've struggled under, those toads and zombies who taught us so many valuable leadership lessons (all lessons of the How Not to Lead variety). We still remember those managers years later, with their tempers, idiosyncracies and neuroses. Sometimes it takes years to recognize the power in the leadership advice our former, lousy managers imparted.
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