Prof. Lucia Lo Bello, the Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) AdHoc Committee of the IES Membership Committee, answered our questions about IES commitment.
What do we mean by Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
These concepts are sometime confused. I’m really glad that the Chair of the IEEE TAB Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Dalma Novak, clearly explained to us in her speech, how these three different concepts need to be defined:
- Diversity is about embracing differences
- Equity means treating people of all identities and backgrounds fairly and respectfully with regard to opportunities, access, outcomes, and resources
- Inclusion suppose to intentionally create welcoming and respectful environments where everyone is given an opportunity to flourish
What is IES commitment toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
When IES took the IEEE Women in Engineering (WiE) pledge in 2021, all of us engaged ourselves in working toward diversified and inclusive panels at all IEEE meetings, conferences, and events, including our own. The IEEE Industrial Electronics Society is committed to providing equal opportunity to scientists and engineers, regardless of ethnicity, race, nationality, disability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, gender, age, and/or personal identity.
Our policy is to continually improve our practices in order to build and maintain an environment that reflects the rich diversity of the industrial electronics scientific community.
For this reason, the VP for Membership, Antonio Luque, created this ad-hoc committee on DEI. The synergy between the DEI Committee and the Women in IES Committee chaired by Ya-Jun Pan is strategical and works very well.
Who are the DEI AdHoc Committee members?
The newly established DEI Committee within the Membership Activity Committee are Lucia Lo Bello (Chair), Fei Gao, Yajun Pan, Regina Roos, Afroditi V. Filippas and Chathurika S. Wickramasinghe.
What are the objectives of the IES AdHoc Committee?
The IES Membership Committee aims to:
- Make everybody feel welcome
- Work with Diversity & Inclusion at TAB and IEEE level
- Bring activities outside flagship conferences
- Analyze our diversity metrics
Can you tell us about the first Diversity and Inclusion Workshop?
The first D&I Workshop that was held on April 6, 2023 at ICIT in Orlando aimed to provide a better understanding of Diversity & Inclusion and to move beyond discussion into practice.
The workshop focused on DEI in the broad sense. For this reason, I invited Yajun Pan, the IES Women in Engineering Chair, to introduce herself and the new WiE team, as gender diversity is one aspect of diversity in general. Synergy is in place, as Yajun is a member of the DEI team, and I am a member of the WiE team.
During the workshop, one keynote speech, a panel discussion and a breakout session were scheduled.
Moreover, three videoclips were shown to get the point of view of PhD students and young professionals. They were very professionally made by three enthusiastic students:
Dr. Chathurika S. Wickramasinghe, Sr. Associate Scientist, Capital One, USA,
Beck Langstone, HCI Master’s student, Carleton University, Canada and
Aurora Esteban, PhD Candidate, University of Cordoba, Spain.
Our keynote speaker, Dalma Novak, Chair of TAB Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, told us about how TAB is advancing diversity and inclusion within IEEE technical communities, highlighting some of the best practices being implemented by IEEE Societies and Councils.
During the panel discussion, chaired by Regina Roos (Typhoon HIL, Switzerland) and moderated by Lucia Lo Bello, several aspects relevant to DEI were discussed with a diverse pool of panelists:
- Dr. Dalma Novak, Octane Wireless, USA
- Prof. Afroditi Filippas, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA
- Mr. Ludwig Sadredin Sahesch-Pur, Pur Consulting, Switzerland
- Prof. Maryam Saeedifard, Georgia Tech, USA
- Dr. Chathurika S. Wickramasinghe, Capital One, USA
From the breakout session, we highlighted how the lack of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace in general have an impact on the performance of any organization.
What are the future plans of the DEI Committee?
Some initiatives have been proposed to promote and consolidate IES Engagement:
- Participation to IES events to promote the IES DEI activities
- Reaching out to new communities through participation to DEI-relevant events
Our DEI Workshop in Orlando was very well attended. In my honest opinion, it was nice thanks to the valuable contribution of all the involved people, and fresh, thanks to the new format (i.e., the videoclips from PhD students and young professionals and the breakout session).