Being a successful leader is more than just being followed by a group of people. A great leader is someone who can gain trust, someone who can guide but not push, and someone who can inspire others to be better in all aspects of their lives. I aspire to be a great leader. I want to succeed in something that few people have done, and for me that something is challenging the status quo as a woman engineer and ultimately as a female executive leader.
My parents have been pushing me toward the engineering field since I was a child. They sent me to summer engineering camps, signed me up for youth engineering courses, and even coaxed me into taking an engineering design course in high school. I always pushed back. I had no interest in pursuing a field so dominated by men. It wasn’t until college, however, that I realized why they pushed me. Not only did engineering fit my proud-to-be-nerdy personality but by pursuing a field so untouched by other women, I have a great opportunity to show myself and other people that everyone can be intellectually competitive.
Being a woman engineer is a great accomplishment because it is something that challenges me every day. One of my greatest weaknesses is being assertive. As a woman in a male-dominated field, I am constantly challenged to be assertive to communicate my ideas and establish and maintain my credibility. This challenge allows me to grow, but can sometimes be disheartening. Statistically, about fourteen percent of engineers in the US are women (Crawford). Additionally, about thirty-eight percent of women who hold engineering degrees leave the field or do not enter it at all (St. Fleur). This fact means that the number of role models who are passionate about their work enough to continue it until retirement is very limited. The reality of these statistics can be intimidating, but they also give me a great sense of satisfaction. I have the opportunity to be a leader who can inspire others not to fear pursuing their desires.
If someone told me when I was a child that my parents were right and I would pursue engineering, I would not have believed it. As time passes, and I gain new experiences, however, I learn more about what I want to accomplish in my lifetime. Then again, outside of work I believe that my final and most critical goal is to find something to enjoy every day. I know that in my chosen profession I will face skepticism. I also know that if I can find at least one reason to enjoy every day, I will show others that they can achieve whatever they aspire, and I will succeed both as a leader and a happy person.
Crawford, Mark. “Engineering Still Needs More Women.” ASME. American Society
Of Mechanical Engineers, Sept. 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2014.
St. Fleur, Nicholas. “Many Women Leave Engineering, Blame The Work Culture.”
NPR. NPR, 12 Aug. 2014. Web. 31 Oct. 2014.
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