Jen Jewers Bowlin, ASME vice president, Leadership and Recognition in the Student and Early Career Sector, and Noha El-Ghobashy, president of Engineering For Change LLC (E4C), were among the more than 30 speakers taking part in the 2013 Global Marathon last week.
The Global Marathon is a worldwide online forum for women in engineering and technology to share stories of personal and professional challenges and successes. Sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, the forum ran March 6-8.
Jewers Bowlin and El-Ghobashy entered the forum on March 7, talking for about 12 minutes each in a topic session titled “Emerging Leaders and Entrepreneurs: Inspiration at Work and University.” During the presentation, the two women talked about the rigors and challenges associated with balancing professional and personal goals and responsibilities, sharing best strategies and lessons learned.
Jen Jewers Bolin
Jewers Bowlin, a refrigeration engineer at Henderson Engineers, Inc., said the best approach for balancing work-life commitments and setting priorities differs from one professional to another. For Jewers Bowlin, who had her first child last year, the order of priorities is family, job, friends, and involvement with professional organizations like ASME.
Finding time for all four priorities, said Bowlin, requires setting boundaries and “learning to say ‘no’” when personal and professional tasks mount.
“You must also request help at certain times,” Jewers Bowlin said, presenting the example of the recent ASME Leadership Training Conference, at which she and other organizers delegated a variety of tasks and assignments.
At home, Jewers Bowlin has established what the engineer refers to as “a partnership” with her spouse, enabling both to find the time to tend to various cares around the house while pursuing important personal and professional interests. She often does her ASME business after 7 p.m., when the baby is put to sleep.
Finding time for all four priorities, said Jewers Bowlin, requires setting boundaries and "learning to say 'no'" when personal and professional tasks mount..
“As an engineer, I wanted to make a difference, and I believed the nonprofit sector provided the best opportunities for me,” El-Ghobashy said. She pointed to E4C and Engineering for Global Development as “challenging and fascinating programs” at ASME.
Nonprofit work, said El-Ghobashy, offers many benefits and attributes, including flexible work arrangements. She added that many engineers, including ASME members, are interested in outreach work and considering opportunities in the nonprofit space.
A common thread that ran through both presentations is the need to enjoy work and set priorities in one’s personal and professional life.
Other sessions in the 2013 Global Marathon included "Leadership: Never Underestimate the Power of Example" and "One Woman at a Time: Change the World." Major sponsors of the event included ExxonMobil, Motorola Solutions Foundation and Bechtel.
— John Varrasi, Public Information