Interview with PWI Brussels’ incoming STEAM Programme Director Claire Mattelet

What can we expect from the relaunched programme?

PWI Brussels STEAM Programme Director Claire Mattelet

Claire, great to chat to you. Maybe introduce yourself to our readers shortly!

I am the new Director for the PWI Brussels STEAM Programme. About my background: I have always been interested by the science of the living and ecosystems and that’s why I became a bioengineer. I then specialised in Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT and started to work as a lobbyist in Brussels where I “translated” how technology works between industry, trade organisations and the European institutions. After graduating from a master in business management, I made another career transition and moved from a specialised function to a managerial role at AGC Automotive Europe as a market development manager. In my day to day work, there is a deep connection with the STEAM field. I am also in the process of being certified as a coach (Coach & Team®).

You are the new Director of our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Programme and about to re-launch what we do in Brussels. What can we expect from the PWI Brussels STEAM Programme?

One of our objectives for 2018 is the redefinition of our objectives and assessing the exact needs of our members in interested in STEAM. We will think about the ways to reshape the format of the programme: why not through the use of webinars in addition to the workshops that were already proposed in 2017? The webinars can focus on a dedicated growth topic for STEAM women in the medium term.

There are not many initiatives in Brussels who focus specifically to help women in STEAM grow and succeed. In three sentences, why is it important to have a STEAM programme?

In Belgium, there is still much work to be done to encourage the career of women in STEAM. Too many STEAM-educated women drop their expertise when they start to seek for a job. It has been estimated that the cost of losing female scientists is around £2 billion a year to the UK economy. For instance, in companies, the percentage of women in engineering, sciences and IT is low and this is representative of the ratio of women vs. men in this field during their studies. So this is often very difficult for a STEM women to feel encouraged to take a move in their company because of the few female role models at the higher levels of the company.

Our program offers to our STEAM members:

  • The possibility to meet with other women in this field and to learn from their achievements
  • Assistance in their career choices (incl. managerial versus technical track), to strengthen soft and hard skills as enablers of their professional advancement
  • To boost STEAM women’s creativity and circle of influence beyond their own functional area, enabling them to raise their visibility and value perception in our society.

What has the STEAM programme offered in the past and which aspects might you continue?

The STEAM programme focused on the creativity enhancement of STEAM women’s mind and on collaboration in a more and more complex world (vs. very specific and silos field of STEAM). These are two axis of development that are core for STEAM women. We will continue to strengthen these areas of growth while developing others that are typically required by STEAM women.

Learn more about our STEAM programme here

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Claire spoke to PWI Brussels’ Board member Rebecca Weicht.