Each month during 2021, we will be highlighting a different SWE affinity group (AG). The blog posts will have two sections: (1) a ‘group overview’ that highlights the overall purpose and goals of the AG, and (2) a ‘meet the members’ section that lists all AG members who wish to be featured.

SWE Affinity Group goals:

  • Develop a sense of community in the Affinity Groups fostering an inclusive environment where people discuss experiences in their engineering career, online and offline.
  • Provide professional development opportunities enabling and sponsoring leadership experiences, networking and mentorship.
  • Empower members through highlighting accomplishments and supporting diversity in the SWE Leadership pipeline, Awards, and Scholarships.

SWE Affinity Groups are organized into DE&I AGs and Business Interests AGs. DE&I AGs are focused on the needs of social minority populations and support initiatives tailored to serve these communities. Business Interest AGs are loosely centered around the members’ business environment and career experiences.

For July, we’re excited to highlight the Small Business Affinity Group!

Get to know the goals of the Small Business Affinity Group!

What are the overall goals of the Small Business Affinity Group?

Our mission is to provide support and networking for SWE members who are small business employees. Furthermore, we want to be a resource for information and feedback of the small business perspective to other SWE committees and groups.

Does the Small Business Affinity Group have regular meetings? If so, when and how often? What takes place during a typical meeting?

We do not have regular meetings. Our main communication with members is through our Facebook group.

How is the Small Business Affinity Group working to reach and include new members?

Beyond our current platform on Facebook, we would like to expand to other social platforms during FY22.

Why is the Small Business Affinity Group important to its members?

The camaraderie and learning from each other is important to members.

Where would you direct those interested in joining or learning more about the Small Business Affinity Group?

You can find us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SWESmallBusinessAG!

Meet the Small Business Affinity Group members!

Anne RocheleauAnne Rocheleau
Biomedical engineer
Co-Lead Small Business AG
SWE member since: 2010

Anne Rocheleau works in research & development at medical device start-up Hemex Health. Her company is commercializing technologies that diagnose malaria and sickle cell disease from a few drops of blood. She grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter. She has a BS in chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts and a PhD in biomedical engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Anne became involved in SWE while in grad school and has held roles at the collegiate, professional, and society levels. In her free time she loves to read and run/ hike/ ski/ bike/ kayak!

 

StephanieStephanie DeCotiis,
Deputy Speaker of the Senate

Stephanie DeCotiis, PE, FY21 Deputy Speaker, is a project manager at H2M architects + engineers within their Water Division where she supervises water planning and design projects and construction engineering services.  She previously served as a Professional Senator from FY15-16, and as a Special Senator in FY18.  As Senator, Stephanie participated on the Governance Working Group to evaluate the structure and role of the Senate in the future SWE governance structure.  She has worked for both small and large businesses throughout her career and used that knowledge as part of the Strategic Initiatives Committee where she co-authored a white paper on how SWE can better support its small business members in FY16, and was later selected as the Strategic Initiatives Committee FY17 Chair-Elect.  In FY17 she was selected to serve on the Governance Task Force, and had an active role in the development of the concepts and implementation plan for SWE’s new structure.  She’s continued her SWE involvement as a founding member and co-lead of the Small Business Member Affinity Group as well as a sub-team lead on the FY20 Curriculum Committee.  In her spare time she enjoys cooking and baking, especially focused on understanding the science of why and how ingredients interact.

Brittney ElkoBrittney Elko
Chemical Engineer
SWE Society Nominating Committee Chair-Elect
SWE member since: 2005

Brittney graduated in 2008 from Trinity University with a B.S. in Engineering Science (Chemical focus), she started out as an engineer at Clorox in process development for cleaning products like Pine-Sol but soon found her passion was in Supply Chain. She has since transitioned from consumer products to pharmaceuticals/biotech and is currently Sr. Director of Supply Chain at a small pharma company – Tricida – in the San Francisco Bay Area.  In her free time she likes to travel, experience new foods, does a lot of DIY/house projects in her home workshop and also volunteers in various suicide prevention organizations.

Melissa A. BranchMelissa A. Branch, P.E.
Civil Engineer
Scholarship Chair, Greatland Section
Life Member (since May 2000)

Melissa is the proud owner and principal engineer of Big City Engineers, LLC, a boutique civil engineering firm in Anchorage, Alaska providing site research, planning assistance, site grading and drainage design, water and wastewater design, and permitting assistance services. As a small business owner, Melissa’s mission is to challenge the perception that bigger means better. She earned her BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage and is a Life Member of SWE.

When it comes to site design, Melissa thrives on the collaborative process, working with others to develop a setting that complements the building’s use and connects the site to the community. With the lessons learned from over 20 years of experience, she enjoys solving complex design challenges and leveraging relationships with other design professionals and agency representatives to help her clients realize their vision and accomplish their goals.

As a community advocate, Melissa uses her volunteer time to lift others up and contribute to making a community that she is proud to call home. She is passionately involved with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) – mentoring new leaders, raising funds for scholarships, mentoring the UAA Collegiate Section, and participating in SWE Greatland’s many outreach events. Melissa also serves as a Programs Chair for the Alaska Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, the Communications Chair for the UAA College of Engineering Advisory Board, and on the Anchorage CANstruction Steering Committee.

Outside of the office, Melissa’s most challenging and rewarding project is motherhood. Her young son keeps both her and her husband on their toes.


Related content:

  • Affinity Group Spotlight: Small Business Affinity Group

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