Center for Creative Leadership Talks Retention Crisis for Women in STEM

Past Tides
March 27, 2019 By Jackie Connor

A packed room of leaders and consultants from Southern California’s business community, members from the UCI campus and partners from UCI Applied Innovation discussed an action plan to address retention of women working at the senior level within the Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) fields. The roundtable luncheon discussion, co-hosted by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) and Applied Innovation, opened with the ‘quit rate’ for women in STEM careers who have leadership roles.

“It seems like it’s an issue that they’ve been grappling with in silos,” said Kelly Simmons, CCL design architect and presenter. “There’s so much opportunity for people to do cross-sharing across organizations to listen and learn from each other’s practices with things they can leverage back into their organizations.”

The audience later broke out into small discussion groups to talk about ways to address this challenge. Groups highlighted the need to focus on the communication gap, identify influences within the community and incorporate specialized internships for STEM women in senior job roles.

“As a mentor and advocate for women in STEM, I know the importance of opportunities for women to meet like-minded individuals,” said Wendy Brown, UCI post-doc and event attendee. “I feel fortunate that the Cove embraces important programs like this because they create those opportunities for mutual support and empower women to succeed as leaders in STEM in Orange County.”

CCL and Applied Innovation will hold an additional “Advancing Technical Women” two-day conference in June and will include mentoring, learning sessions and resources both online and in-person. Find more information about the event:

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