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.

Celebrating Women

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.

In 2020, all four SLAM award recipients were women.

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:


  • Monthly networking peer exchanges and coffee hours

  • Women@ The Lab event for FY20

  • Empowerment workshops

  • Celebrate Women's History Month

Past News & Events

2020 Accomplishments

  • Hosted 8 brown bags showcasing Women@The lab honorees and IDEA topics

  • Hosted 5 networking coffee hours, including an all ERG coffee hour.

  • Organized and led monthly meetings of the Bay Area Networking Group.

  • Started collaboration with HR to study women retention, promotion, and salary data at the lab.

  • Worked with Organizational Learning & Development staff on incorporating microagression awareness trainings.

  • Worked with HR and onboarding team to help clarify pregnancy and disability leave information for new employees.

  • Worked with IDEA office on Covid-19/shelter in place survey and the situations effects on women employees.

  • Launched 2020 Women@The Lab nomination process.

  • Collaborated with Strategic Communications on Visible Spectrum interviews of women at the lab.

  • Participated in National Labs ERG leadership summit at LLNL.

  • 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

Executive Sponsors

  • 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.

WSEC Member Registration

Contact Information

For more information, please contact the WSEC Executive Committee at wsec-excom@lbl.gov.