Plenary Panels Announced! 

We hope to see you at the following Plenary Panel discussions at WE Local Tampa.

No More “Checking the Box”: Cultivating Inclusion.

Friday, February 15, 2019 | 3:15-4:30 p.m.

Moderator: Jonna Gerken, Senior Manager, Global Transitions, Pratt & Whitney - UTC

The era of “check of box” diversity and inclusion efforts solely led by HR is over. Many executives have started to take ownership and drive accountability at all levels of the organization, as well as close the gap between the espoused values of diversity and inclusion (D&I) and actual outcomes—this is an issue of urgency within the engineering and technology workforce.

For younger workers, inclusion is not just about assembling diverse teams but also about connecting team members so that everyone is heard and respected. D&I can no longer be viewed as a training and education initiative, but needs to also focus on debiasing business processes and holding leaders accountable for inclusive behavior.

Panelists will share their perspectives/ideas on how to improve business processes, leadership development, and organizational culture through the lens of reducing bias and cultivating inclusion for underrepresented groups.


  • Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director, Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, FLATE
  • Cal Jackson, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, TechData
  • David Schmidt, Account Manager, Institute for Corporate Productivity


  1. How are you empowering women (and men) to recognize and confront unconscious bias?
  2. How can women and/or men engage the next generation of women to be confident and developing leadership roles?
  3. What obstacles and barriers have you faced in creating a culture of gender influence, and how have you overcome it?
  4. What (internal or external) factors affect women in leadership today?
  5. What advice would you give to other senior fe(male) leaders who are pushing forward a change initiative that focuses on increasing diversity and inclusion within their organization? What would you advise others to do, or not to do, when trying to change the culture of their organization to be inclusive?
  6. How do you think diversity initiatives can be an effective bridge between the workplace and the marketplace?
  7. How can men ensure that women are part of a professional network that leads to advancement within engineering?
  8. What advice or resources would you give to men who are mentoring women engineers? Additionally, how do you advise women to be mentors to other women?

What’s Your Moonshot?

Saturday, February 16, 2019 | 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Moderator: Julia MacGregor-Peralta, Founder and CEO, Global Safety Management

The term Moonshot is rooted in NASA’s ambitious Apollo moon program. “Moonshot” is the term favored by NASA’s exploratory arm, known as X, which states on its website: “Our mission is to invent and launch ‘moonshot’ technologies that we hope could someday make the world a radically better place.” With the notion that moonshots are high costs and high risk. The idea or metaphor of the Moonshot has received attention over the last couple of years, especially considering the many audacious and aspirational goals set by those in the engineering and scientific community. With this panel, discussion will concentrate on the Moonshots of the panelists’ organizations in how they may be addressing a complex challenge through a radical solution and/or breakthrough technology, and what they have done as leaders in their respective organizations in getting the formula right.


  • Susan Scofield, Global Project Director, Siemens
  • Dr. Stephanie Carey, Research Coordinator, CARRT
  • Valerie Landrio McDevitt, JD, Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer & Business Partnerships, University of South Florida


  1. What is your "moonshot?”
  2. How was your moonshot defined and communicated through your organization?
  3. Why is it important for your organization to have a moonshot?
  4. More than 50 years after the formulation of Moore’s law—which holds that computing power doubles in capability every 18 to 24 months—mobile devices, sensors, AI, and robotics affect our lives more quickly and more pervasively than ever before. How do you ensure that your organization keeps pace with the rate of change from a human capital perspective and achieve your moonshot?
  5. What kinds of change management challenges do you face as an organizational leader when trying to accomplish your moonshot?
  6. What future trends shape the aspirations of your organization beyond the bottom line?
  7. When considering future trends and your organization’s moonshot, what new knowledge, skills, and competencies need to be developed in workplace? How do you see the core competencies changing during the next decade?
  8. What general recommendations do you have for current and future leaders within the audience that outline a set of very audacious goals and "getting everyone on the bus?”

Download the full description of Plenary Panel opportunities including discussion points that will be covered.