Editor’s Note: Ngowari Diminas is an engineer in Texas. I got to know about her when I noticed a lot of activity from a particular Facebook group, CAFEW (Connecting All Female Engineers Worldwide). I was immediately intrigued and reached out to her.
We read every day about the dearth of females in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Several studies and articles have been published about that and one common factor is that women are just not encouraged to pursue STEM.
Most of us know what it’s like to have a toxic boss and speaking with Ngowari, I could tell she knew how devastating such an environment could be for anyone. She also knew what it meant to have a boss who was positive and encouraging.
Passionate about the need to create an environment where female engineers could connect, network and build each other up, Diminas began CAFEW. I am not an engineer, but her passion and enthusiasm almost made me think of becoming one. In this article, she shares about her motivation and future plans for CAFEW.
Why I Started CAFEW
My name is Ngowari Diminas and I founded CAFEW – Connecting African Female Engineers Worldwide facebook group January 21, 2016. Currently, it is now “Connecting All Female Engineers Worldwide.”
What inspired me to start CAFEW is the need to have a lot of African Female Engineers practicing comfortably in any country or place. We need more of us everywhere to the point it becomes reasonable.
Now, I see CAFEW as being a social-professional group for all female Engineers and not just Africans. There have been exciting moments when I had external meetings with vendors or contractors after addressing me in emails as Mr. It was awesome to see the look on their faces which was priceless as I introduced myself and the comments made were more hilarious.
I am passionate about women having a voice and being seen & heard in the STEM field – especially engineering field. This group requires strong support to see ladies grow in this male dominated field.
Connecting Female Engineers
This group mainly promotes and connects Young & Experienced Female Engineers all over the world. It provides a platform to showcase achievements, technologies and encourage various Female Engineers to remain focused in the Engineering Profession. The Engineering Career requires continuous hard work, development, determination and working through challenges to attain success.
Also, CAFEW is in support of diversity and inclusion. Everyone is welcome to provide social-professional advice, articles, training/events, scholarships, etc. too numerous to mention.
Through CAFEW group many ladies are encouraging fellow women to learn new technical skills, develop themselves through continuing education, to take more risks, to be more courageous, accept challenges, and also take on significant roles and managerial positions where there is a high degree of uncertainty – and work to succeed at the challenge.
The CAFEW Facebook page is committed to boosting the morale of fellow female engineers by encouraging them to give their best, notifying the online members of any technical job opening, training opportunities.
This page features up and coming engineers in their respective fields which boost members’ confidence. These profiles mainly show others that we don’t have an excuse because we see other ladies from different backgrounds and with different challenges but still excelling.
Encouraging growth and professionalism
Female Engineers should be respected because they require passion, consistency, technical abilities; hands-on skills, soft skills, very high standards of work ethics, professionalism, high-level management, desire and ability to solve problems.
All females need to consider several skills to maintain a sustainable level of professionalism which includes being authentic, high performers, confident, risk takers, diversified, volunteers, productive time and emotional managers.
Recently, I started the “#I’mSmart&Stunning” movement because I have noticed that many females out there lack confidence or struggle as students/professionals in addition to family activities and commitments; some women are intimidated and looking for other women to encourage them to do better.
We need to say the right things to ourselves every day we embark on our daily tasks. We often get caught up with promoting successful women and forget to carry along the everyday women.
We need to focus on being that strong foundation required anywhere we go. Be brave and encouraged because you are uniquely talented. Most importantly, I ensure fellow women understand that “the higher you go; the more humility is required from you!”
Personally, I do not make excuses when faced with challenges at work, but seek innovative ways to solve problems when they do arise while maintaining engineering and technical integrity. This real inner strength has given me the determination and ability to persevere in the face of adversity so far in my career.
Why female engineers need to stay professional
Most times people perceive women as very emotional, and this impression needs to change. Once we can learn to control emotions at work places or in local communities, it establishes a firm trust that we can handle the enormous tasks.
Sometimes others like to take credit for your job or want to throw you under the bus openly but being able to deal with this professionally without including personal issues sets you aside as an incredible leader. The ability to identify barriers that can cause confusion and distraction are required.
Being brave with positive energy while commanding respect is extremely necessary. This can be visibly displayed through one’s facial expression, the tone of voice, posture, body language, eye contact, and active listening. Looking at most successful female engineers, you can’t help but notice that executive presence they exhibit.
We need to be effective communicators to others. Effective communication can be done with tact and focus while being influential. Also, provide the avenue for general documented feedback from others regarding performance that will be useful in the future.
My Favorite Quotes
The personal quotes below have helped me, and I am glad to share it with others.
“What matters most is being passionate about whatever career path you choose while demonstrating a positive attitude; maintain good working relationships; build trust and credibility; take responsibility for your actions and develop a high standard set of competencies; deal with change successfully; see the opportunity in the midst of risks, challenges and obstacles”.
“Quality & Integrity on any job will produce Safety, Security, Stability, and Sustainability.”
CAFEW in the future
CAFEW intends to be that integrated platform where all female Engineers all over the world can see Science, Technology, Mathematics and especially Engineering information readily available.
This group should be where members will be actively playing different roles to learn, mentor, volunteer, organize professional events, share experiences, support resume writing and so many other beneficial activities that can be achieved effectively in a social-professional way.
CAFEW plans to integrate all her existing platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter and Blog) into a website in the future.
About Ngowari Diminas
B.Eng in Chemical Engineering (University of Port-Harcourt) and MSc in Oil & Gas Engineering (Robert Gordon University). I also have my PMP Certification. I have 10years of work experience within the Oil & Gas Industry in Nigeria, UK, and USA.
I am married and love to have fun activities with my two lovely kids, shop, travel, and dance (dancing gives me pure joy).
Links to some of my articles:
– SPE Article link: https://www.spe.org/en/twa/twa-article-detail/?art=2661
– CAFEW facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/217726115231406/
– CAFEW blog link: https://blogcafewnd.com/about/
– PanAtlantic Journal Article: http://www.pa-journal.com/restructuring-career-sustainability-success/
– PanAtlantic Journal Article: http://www.pa-journal.com/importance-benefits-professional-development/