Awards, Networking, and Beignets

Seven Board members of the New York AEE Chapter attended AEE World, which wasn’t unusual, as NYC always has a strong showing.  What was remarkable was that the NY-AEE Chapter won three National awards: Best Chapter Community, CWEEL Chapter Champion, and Best Overall Chapter Performance. In addition, our newest Board member and CWEEL Liaison, Cissy Bai, was awarded the CWEEL Individual Champion Award.  This was an incredible recognition for our AEE Chapter and CWEEL Group!

As the first woman NY-AEE Chapter President and our CWEEL Lead, I was honored to accept the Chapter Awards at the Chapter Leadership Meeting held the day before the Conference began.  Being in person at an event with my peers was thrilling and I was eager to stand at the podium and tout the wonderful work we’d done in starting the first US CWEEL group.  The second trip to the podium as great because I got to speak about the Chapter’s contributions to scholarships for talented women and men, both at home and internationally.  By the third trip to the podium, I opened my remarks with a comment about how I felt like the valedictorian at a high school graduation, and that they must all be thinking, oh, it’s her again. The audience responded with laughter and smiles, putting me at ease.

While the technical programming was excellent (I’m still following up with some presenters), I’d say that my favorite part of AEE World was the networking.  I had such great conversations with the men and women I met.  While we talked about the local, national, and international challenges we face in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, we also talked about our career experiences, professional goals, and how we balance our home and work commitments.

Another highlight was that I was inducted into the Legends of Energy group at the Gala on the night before the conference started.  Not only did we eat, drink and be merry, but we were part of a parade through the French Quarter.  What fun that was!

One final thing about my time in New Orleans that made such a deep and lasting impression on me, that everyone should know about and experience themselves someday.  The beignets!  These powdered French donuts have changed my life.  I brough home a box (they are also available on-line) and have learned how to make them myself. Bon appetite!

Davetta Thacher, NY-AEE Chapter President and CWEEL Lead