WE KC is SWE-KC’s annual signature professional development event, where we empower and inspire women in STEM along their careers through an evening program of educational presentations, keynote speaker, and networking.
Join us for another exciting WE KC!
WE KC 2023
“Building Moments for Lasting Connections”
Connect in person with other women in STEM at SWE-KC’s 8th annual WE KC conference: “Building Moments for Lasting Connections.”
The evening includes time for networking and drinks, a keynote address, dinner (optional), and two breakout speaker sessions. See below for detailed schedule and details on the breakout sessions.
DATE AND TIME:
5:00-5:45pm Networking, Refreshments & Sponsor Fair
5:45-7:00pm Welcome & Keynote
- “Building Moments for Lasting Connections”, Christa Langford, General Motors
7:00-7:20pm Pick up Dinner & Refreshments
7:20-7:50pm Breakout Session #1
- “Harnessing Self-Talk to Propel Your Career”, Sunita Lavin, Burns & McDonnell
- “Cultivating Good Ground for a Fruitful Team”, Christina Gelvin, KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T
8:00pm – 8:30pm Breakout Session #2
- “The Ripple Effect: Building Emotional Intelligence in Teams”, Piper Stone, KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T
- “Building A Connected and Confident Workforce through Employee Networks”, Caitlin Wright, KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T
Registration is now closed.
Christa Langford is the Area Manager for Paint at General Motors Fairfax Assembly and Stamping Plant in Kansas City, KS and is a member of the plant’s senior leadership team.Paint is a critical area of the GM Fairfax plant, utilizing a $500 million facility constructed in 2013 and a team of 200 people. Before being named to lead the paint department in May of 2023, Christa was GM Fairfax’s Trim Shift Leader. Christa has held various roles of increasing responsibility since joining GM in 2003. In addition to leading large teams, Christa’s roles have included leadership roles in maintenance and production on engine and transmission assembly, new vehicle launches, business planning, and quality.
A native of Ontario, she began her career with GM in Canada before relocating to the U.S. This is Christa’s second time working at the Fairfax plant, having started there in 2014 before a two-year assignment at Arlington Assembly in Texas, launching the new full-size SUVs (Cadillac Escalade), with a return to the Kansas City area in 2020.
Christa’s leadership behaviors focus on innovation, where she is a champion for change and the process that builds the culture to make those changes, and looking ahead, where she has a passion for developing others and linking the vision to the tasks.
Christa earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from McMaster University and is working on her MBA from Park University. Christa and her husband Nic live in Tonganoxie with their 1-year-old girl, two dogs and a cat. She is a private pilot and avid athlete, participating in hockey, triathlons, Jiu Jitsu, obstacle racing, and surfing.
Session 1A: “Harnessing Self-Talk to Propel your Career”
Sunita Lavin, Burns & McDonnell
How many times before an important meeting or presentation have you heard yourself say, “You don’t belong here. Don’t mess up”? It seems so trivial, but negative self-talk can stress you out and hold you back from your aspirations. In this session, we’ll flip the script! Positive self-talk is about being self-confident, motivated and self-assured. It’s a free tool that you can take everywhere you go. We’ll discuss the effects of negative self-talk, how to stop the cycle and how you can harness positive self-talk to reduce stress while advancing your career.
Sunita’s work has spanned distinct roles, industries and companies: from technical to project management to people management; from avionics to IT to telecommunications; and from Garmin to Burns & McDonnell.
Currently, Sunita is an Assistant Department Manager and Project Engineer working on telecommunications for utilities at Burns & McDonnell. She is a licensed professional engineer and an active member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
Sunita has a B.S. in Computer Engineering, M.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.B.A from the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Sunita enjoys running and traveling with her husband Peter.
Session 1B: “Cultivating Good Ground for a Fruitful Team”
Christina Gelvin, KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T
Having a healthy network is a multi-faceted effort, requiring intentional investment paired with consistency over time. This holds true in both professional and personal communities. In this session, we will be discussing some of the key tools necessary for cultivating good ground for a fruitful team. Fruit comes in a variety of forms – it can be a tangible product, premium service, cherished relationship, and a number of other things.
Christina has worked at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) managed by Honeywell FM&T, for over 5 years, and is currently a Lead Engineering Project Specialist for the Systems Engineering division. Although she serves as the lead project manager for the in-house software development team, naturally, she wears multiple hats.
The majority of her career has the common thread of helping teams effectively communicate, internally and externally, and realize a common vision, honing in on a winning strategy to deliver impactful and innovative products and services.
Prior to KCNSC, Christina served as a global marketing and communications strategist for a Global Engineering firm
specializing in critical human infrastructure; was a lead writer for creative non-fiction, as well as helping patients recover from total joint replacement surgery in the hospital. Careers tend to not be linear, and she is here to help encourage others, especially women, that they are right on track.
Session 2A: “The Ripple Effect: Building Emotional Intelligence in Teams”
Piper Stone, KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T
The research is growing on the importance of Emotional Intelligence in STEM environments, but as evolved as your own EQ might be – how can you impact the development of those who work most closely with you? This session will equip you with application-based tools to help you improve communication, strengthen rapport, and build a culture of emotional intelligence.
Piper Stone is a talent development professional with over 18 years of experience specializing in onboarding, communication, relationship-building, coaching, and culture evolution. She currently serves as the Talent Management Manager at the KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T, supporting employee engagement, career pathing, and leadership development.
Piper has a BA in English and a BS in Education from Kansas State University (GO CATS!) and an MA in Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution from Baker University. Always looking to learn something new, in 2021 Piper earned her SHRM-SCP certification and also how to ride a motorcycle.
Session 2B: “Building A Connected and Confident Workforce through Employee Networks”
Caitlin Wright, KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T
As companies across industry continue to meet the challenges of the “great resignation” and isolating effects of the pandemic, it is more critical than ever to foster a connected, confident, and equipped workforce and rapidly engage our early career professionals. One of the best tools to deploy creative and agile solutions to retention concerns are Employee Networks (ENs). Learn more about ways to build lasting EN programs and engage your early career professionals with meaningful development opportunities and business connections that will keep them confident and equipped in their role and connected to business, people, and mission!
Caitlin Wright is a Systems Engineer with over six years of experience at the KCNSC managed by Honeywell FM&T and brings her Chemical Engineering training and passion for employee engagement to her roles, leading multiple efforts to progress technology advancements in the national security mission as well as product realization enhancements.
Caitlin is the President of the KCNSC Young Professionals Employee Network, managing an organization of emerging leaders dedicated to the professional and personal development of over 1000 early career professionals in the business.
Recaps from past WE KC events
Testimonials from WE KC Attendees
“Amazing, amazing, amazing!!! Didn’t really know how I felt about going and absolutely had the best time. Thank you!”
“Great little conference and I love seeing all these women together!”
“I loved the scheduling of speakers, and the overall organization of the event. Long enough to gain a lot of valuable information, short enough to avoid being overwhelmed.”