Women's Support and Empowerment Council (WSEC)
The Women Scientists and Engineers Council is pleased to announce Deputy Director for Research Carol Burns as the new Executive Co-Sponsor.
WSEC has also voted to change its name to Women's Support and Empowerment Council to reflect its expanded mission and vision.
Formerly the Women Scientists and Engineers Council, the Women's Support and Empowerment Council (WSEC) was created to provide support and to address issues that affect the careers of all women at Berkeley Lab. The WSEC and Berkeley Lab’s Human Resources Department work in partnership to determine priorities and develop strategies for recruitment, retention, work-life balance, and the empowerment of all women at Berkeley Lab.
Key activities include:
Engaging Lab leaders in recruitment, retention, career development, and promotion
Improving policies for work-life balance
Empowering Lab employees through training, recognition, and providing opportunities for networking
The WSEC is different from a traditional ERG because it is made up of members who are both Division-appointed as well as volunteers. Three subcommittees (policy, networking, and empowerment) meet separately to work on WSEC goals and key activities. WSEC members meet quarterly in January, April, July, and October.
Building on the DOE’s Women @ Energy: STEM Rising project, the WSEC has held four Women@ The Lab events between 2013 - 2020. Read profiles of our honorees on the Women @ The Lab website.
This year’s Women @ the Lab award ceremony was held virtually. Watch the replay where 15 talented and dedicated employees were honored for their work and achievements, as well as an overview of the Women Scientists and Engineers Council’s accomplishments to date.
The Visible Spectrum series spotlights talented, dedicated women employees at the Lab.
Peer Exchanges and Coffee hours and Special Events
The Networking Subcommittee hosts monthly networking peer exchanges and/or coffee hours where members learn from other women their experiences and challenges, share resources, and engage in fellowship together. Examples include:
WSEC Empowerment and Networking co-sponsored event: Lucinda Jackson, "Not 'Just a Girl' - Growing Up Female and Ambitious"
Monthly networking peer exchanges and coffee hours
Women@ The Lab event for FY20
Celebrate Women's History Month
Changed the name of the ERG to be more inclusive. Changed from Women Scientists and Engineers Council to Women's Support and Empowerment Council.
Developed a new logo for the organization.
Created and promoted ERG Welcome Letter .
Members of the Executive Committee gave a WSEC overview presentation at several Division/Area all hands or IDEA Committee meetings.
Produced a slate of well-received virtual events for Women's History Month.
Collaborated with Strat Comm on publishing one edition of Visible Spectrum per month.
Facilitated a workshop series on having difficult conversations.
Presented at the IT Forum at LBNL during Women's History Month.
Hosted invited speaker Lucinda Jackson to talk about empowering women in the workplace and in their 'next act'.
Organized monthly peer exchanges (formerly Brown Bags) alternating between having a Woman at the Lab honoree as the speaker and having a discussion/speaker on a specific topic.
Developed Discussion Guidelines for WSEC Events.
Expanded from monthly meetings with reps from the Women's ERGS at the other Bay Area National Labs (plus NASA Ames) to a quarterly meeting with Women's ERGs from nearly all National Labs across the U.S..
Collaborated on presenting a virtual talk on Imposter Syndrome by scientist and best-selling author Dr. Malika Grayson, coordinating with SLAC, LLNL and Sandia; cross-promoted within LBNL in collaboration with the AAERG.
Partnering with HR to understand retention and pay equity. Our efforts to get data on these issues contributed to the IDEA office recruiting for a data scientist to study those issues.
Created drafts for Lab websites more clearly explaining parental leave options at the Lab for colleagues in various circumstances.
Organized an annual/bi-annual info session to invite HR parental leave policy experts to talk to the lab community on key take-aways, updates and Q&A.
After the switch to the UC parental leave, evaluated the usage of old compared to new policy and won Lab leadership support to continue to offer a choice between the old and the new policy.
Collaborated with colleagues from the FAIR Office to pilot a presentation on Pay Equity at Berkeley Lab that they then planned to deliver to other ERGs and wider audiences around the Lab.
Policy - Chairs: Vanessa Hsia, Tianhuan Luo
Networking - Chairs: Elizabeth Stuart, Andrea Taylor
Empowerment - Lydia Rachbauer and Baishakhi Bose
More information on committee missions, initiatives and accomplishments: WSEC Subcommittees
Chair: Ina Reichel
Vice-Chair: Tammera (Tammy) Campbell
Secretaries: Lauren Lui and Safia Sheerin Abdul Kadhar
Subcommittee Chairs: Elizabeth Stuart, Andrea Taylor. Vanessa Hsia, Tianhuan Luo, Lydia Rachbauer and Baishakhi Bose
Carol Burns, Deputy Director for Research and Chief Research Officer
Henrik von der Lippe, Engineering Division Director and the Lab’s Chief Engineering Officer
Women’s Support and Empowerment Council (WSEC) executive co-sponsor Henrik von der Lippe shares his perspective as an ally and the importance of having an inclusive environment. Read the full interview>>
Membership is open to all LBNL employees. We ask that every member join one or more of the subcommittees that carries out the objectives of the WSEC. Subcommittees include: Policy, Networking and Empowerment.