Ms. Elizabeth A. Shanahan
Society of Women Engineers
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Biography

Betty Shanahan is the executive director and CEO for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Founded in 1950 and headquartered in Chicago, SWE is an educational and service organization with 15,000 professionals and students who participate in programs and services through more than 100 local sections and 300 student sections. The mission of SWE is to help women achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, to expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and to demonstrate the value of diversity. When she became SWE’s Executive Director in September 2002, Betty became the first engineer to hold this position. Prior to joining SWE, Betty spent 24 years in development, engineering management, and marketing for the electronics and software industries. Betty’s career began at Data General as the “one woman engineer” on the “Eagle” minicomputer design project captured in Tracy Kidder’s Soul of a New Machine. Her career continued at Alliant Computer Systems where she was a member of the design team for the first parallel processing minicomputer and manager of hardware design for subsequent systems. Attracted by the business side of technology, Betty moved to marketing management in 1990. She has been responsible for computer-aided software engineering and signal processing products, and file viewing and conversion technologies. Most recently she was the vice president of product management and marketing for the Software Components Division of Stellent, Inc. Betty has earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Michigan State University, a Master of Software Engineering from the Wang Institute of Graduate Studies, and an M.B.A. in strategic management from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. Betty is a fellow life member of SWE and has held numerous section and national volunteer positions, including the 1995 national conference co-chair and chair of the Conference Management Committee. She is also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the American Society of Association Executives.

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