Erie Chamber Blog
Friday November 15,  2019
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Athena Speaks: On the Gender Gap

Navigating a career as a young professional is challenging. Now add in the fact that gender gap is at an all-time high, further emphasizing the severe lack of women in STEM fields. We can change that. Join us and from women who are bridging the Gender Gap and learn how to steer your career in the right direction to break up this cycle of exclusion.

We need to challenge workplaces to work collaboratively towards a single mission to emphasize inclusion. With this simple refocus, we can create opportunities for women in the workplace to fill gender gaps. By working together we can achieve ever greater professional success.

Next steps are to build out a collaborative workforce. Really focus on who is actually doing the work, how it is getting done, and where we need to insert inclusion. We want women to speak up and be heard, and men to help create opportunities for equality. Specifically, with STEM, the roles are fast-paced, tough and require high levels of intelligence – all things that women can excel in but need the opportunity. We need to work together to break through the barriers that we all/women today face.

You, as a young professional, have so much to offer, we want to help you navigate and rise up together to solidify your place in this industry.

  • We strive for commonality among our diversity.
  • Inclusive with a focus on opportunity and an equal playing field.
  • The male-dominated STEM industry is ready to be overturned.
  • We want to own our power and make room to give ladies the chance to succeed

Cost: $25 for members; $30 for non-members - No Cancellations or Refunds Accepted


Keynote Speaker/Moderator:

Sweetie Browne, Program Manager, Americas Sales Strategy & Planning, Cisco Systems, Inc. 

Sweetie believes in the motto, “good things come to those who go after it” and this has been her approach to her professional and personal growth. Sweetie has always found ways to combine her strengths and values to make an impact not only in her work but also in her community. It is no accident that she leads the Early-in-Career Internship Program for Americas Sales at Cisco Systems.

Sweetie’s passions lie in helping women of all ages feel empowered to accomplish their goals. Being the oldest of four sisters, she knows firsthand the importance of creating a strong foundation for young women to succeed. Sweetie volunteers with several local non-profit organizations and is the lead for WISE (Women In Science & Engineering) RTP, an Inclusion & Collaboration employee resource organization at Cisco. She also served on the Board of Directors for Professional Development for Connected Women of North Carolina, where she managed career professional development programs for women in the RTP area.

Sweetie resides in Cary, North Carolina, with her beloved dog, PrissyRose. She enjoys connecting with women and young girls across RTP and helping them understand the importance of building a strong network.


Geri-Lyn Hoffman, Quality Director, Dynamic Systems, LORD Corporation

Dr. Andrea Jeffress, MD, FACOG, Ob/Gyn Associates of Erie

Cathy Von Birgelen, Executive Director, eMarketing Learning Center @ BF


  • athena
  • gender gap
  • inclusion

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