As part of our sponsorship with INCOSE’s Empowering Women Leaders in Systems Engineering (EWLSE), we wanted to take our own spin on a book they wrote, Letters To My Younger Self: How Systems Engineering Changed My Life. 5 SPEC Innovations women wrote letters to their younger selves about lessons learned from pivotal moments in their professional journeys that changed their lives and made them the women leaders they are today!
Elizabeth, Marketing Lead
Have more faith in yourself and your career. You’re capable of much more than the box you thought you needed to fit in, and you will prove that to yourself.
When choosing a career route, you believed you couldn’t be a systems engineer. The systems engineering world isn’t a place for women…or so that’s what you believed. You pursued marketing and got the opportunity with SPEC Innovations to lead their marketing efforts. This would be the beginning of proving yourself wrong. Their mentorship program opened your eyes to the endless possibilities your career could bring you. You eventually become somewhat of a systems engineer yourself. Systems engineering does have a place for women. You now have your own team and mentor them to do the same; encourage them to broaden their horizons and try things they may think they’re incapable of doing. Give yourself more credit and don’t put limits on your growth. We’re lucky that we ended up doing what we thought we couldn’t do all along!
Lilleigh, Systems Engineer
I know you’re wondering and doubting if pursuing a master’s degree was the right path. It was.
It will lead to learning more about yourself, getting a great job, and meeting new, amazing people along the way. But you will be faced with new challenges, some of which you will fail at and learn from. One of those challenges will be comparing yourself to the other people in the master’s program, who are at different points in life with different experiences and backgrounds. You will compare your lack of experience and limited knowledge to theirs and it will cause you to doubt if you are smart enough and if you are cut out for the Systems Engineering field. But the thing to remember is that everyone is different; they have different experiences, different skills, different interests. Your path will not be the same as theirs. So, forge your own path, create your own experiences, indulge your own interests, and never doubt your intelligence.
Discover what you are good at and use it to your advantage.
We all have skills and talents that come naturally to us; discover them, develop them, and watch yourself thrive. Use your talents to give your best; there are no regrets when you put forth your best effort.
Be willing to take advice and learn from others.
A willingness or desire to learn can overcome many obstacles. The best lessons are often taught by those who have been there before you. Take their knowledge and absorb it.
Kindness goes a long way.
As the quote by Maya Angelou says, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Treat everyone you encounter with kindness and respect, and it will become second nature in all aspects of your life.
Jenna, Software Engineering Intern
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Knowing ourselves, I know this is the best advice I can give to you, me, and future us. You will have many forks in the road on the way to reaching your goals. You will stress and overthink every decision; the decision of joining the Army causing you to graduate in 5 years instead of 4; to stay enlisted or commission as an officer; to stay in California and do Software Engineering work in Silicon Valley or to move to the East Coast and do it for the government. These decisions you’ll make may seem major at the time, but in the grand scheme of lif]e, they aren’t. Remember that life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Each decision you make in this marathon of life will help you grow and shape who you are. Just breathe and remember to not sweat the small stuff.
Taylor, Communications Manager
Trust the process. Good things come to those who wait, and you were patient in a time that was difficult in your career. Remember that growth happens when you’re uncomfortable; not when you’re complacent and somewhat content. If it never became uncomfortable, you would never be where you are because of the effort you put in to get out of a difficult situation. Be confident in who you are and your abilities, and no one will be able to take that away from you. Sometimes what feels like a difficult end is actually and beautiful beginning.
About SPEC Innovations: SPEC Innovations is a leading expert in systems engineering, since 1993. We developed Innoslate, the first web-based MBSE tool, to support the entire system or product lifecycle. Sopatra, a digital assistant that verifies your Standard Operating Procedures, ensures optimal reliability throughout the lifecycle. To learn more, visit specinnovations.com.
About INCOSE EWLSE: To learn more, visit https://www.incose.org/incose-member-resources/ewlse/about-ewlse