Shanniese Rice joined Women & Hi Tech in 2019 as part of a self-funded sponsor group at Community Health Network. After attending some events, listening to panels, and hearing stories of our members, she decided she wanted to get more involved. She consulted Active Emeritus board member Darcy Lee about next steps, and on her recommendation joined the Networking Events Committee. “It was a great opportunity to marry something I love to do, planning events, with an opportunity to grow.” Shanniese helped plan last year’s Holiday Networking Event and already has some great ideas in the works for our gathering this holiday season.
Soon, she was approached by other board members and encouraged to take a more active role in the organization’s leadership. Shanniese applied for the role of board Secretary and was confirmed in the role in June 2022. “I wasn’t sure I was ready, but one amazing thing about this organization is how much people who don’t even know you will show up and pour into you. That inspired me to want to do the same.”
Today, Shanniese works hard to be present, approachable, and share her story with new members. “Someone else at each of our events is like I was—they want to get more involved but don’t know where to start. I want to present the energy that they can start with me.” While a role on the board is a lot of hard work, she added that the mission of connecting with and supporting women and girls in STEM makes it worth the effort.
One of Shanniese’s goals is to pay special attention to male allies, increasing the engagement, membership, and networking opportunities for all Women & Hi Tech’s members. “Our name can be intimidating to men, but having male allies helps us grow even further.” She pointed out that many men are actively looking to be more supportive to women, but hesitate out of concern they will make things worse instead of better. “Men don’t want to hold so much privilege—they just don’t always know how to give it away. I want our organization to be a safe space men can come for education as well as meaningful connections and their own empowering experiences.”
Shanniese is always collecting feedback about how Women & Hi Tech can provide more inclusive and exclusive opportunities for our members. If you have thoughts or suggestions, please reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org