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Women in Standards is an enthusiastic network of standards professionals who provide support, resources, and mentoring to promote business and personal growth.


Members and friends,
Technology is the focus of this month’s newsletter with articles on machine learning and the move to remote work as the new normal. Are you currently working remotely and want to remain that way even after the pandemic is ended? Tell us your story by emailing us at
Members can seek advice and discuss relevant industry issues in the members-only LinkedIn group. Visit today to post your questions or send your questions to to request that they be posted anonymously. Women in Standards will review your request and post as many as we can to the members-only group. Follow along to get helpful advice and engage with others in the industry. 
Warm wishes,
Karin Athanas
Executive Officer
Women in Standards
Virtual First, The Future of Work
The Shift to Remote as the Default for Work
For some, gone are the days of onboarding employees with a desk, computer, and stack of procedures. The computer might still exist, and let’s face it, the procedures aren’t going away anytime soon, but offering physical office space to all staff may soon be a bygone era.

Allowing employees to work from home, or other virtual location of their choosing, has introduced unexpected benefits including increased employee morale, productivity, and profits. In an article by flexjobs [1], twenty-seven high profile companies have announced a switch to offering virtual first options to employees and many plan to continue long term.
Virtual first strategies allow workers to live and work from anywhere in the world. Giving them the freedom to travel (when there aren’t travel restrictions), live closer to friends and family, and seek out more affordable accommodations. As reported by Global Workplace Analytics, two-thirds of employees would choose it over a pay raise and 80% of employees consider remote work a job perk. [2]
Are remote workers getting more done? Sixty-five percent of surveyed workers in a study by Flexjobs reported that remote work increased their productivity [3] and “Ninety-four percent of 800 employers surveyed by Mercer, an HR and workplace benefits consulting firm, said that productivity was the same as or higher than it was before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely.” [4] Reasons for this include a reduction in workplace distractions, the elimination of commute times, and increased employee morale.
What does this all translate to? Savings in office and other overhead and administrative expenses and more productive and happy employees. Forbes reports that organizations can save an average of $11,000 per year per employee working remotely. [5] Savings that can be reinvested into projects and supporting strategic priorities.
“Virtual First” is a step into the deep end for many organizations used to a strong office culture and investments in rented space and infrastructure, but it’s clear from the statistics that companies are reaping major returns on taking the plunge. Is your organization experiencing positive outcomes from embracing a virtual first strategy? Tell us your story, email Women in Standards at

How Machine Learning is Supporting Industry

Image Recognition Software

AI-Powered Smart Mirrors

AI Personal Assistants

Internet Search Engines

Data Analytics
Is the Future AI?
How Machine Learning is Enhancing the Business Landscape
This week my email system notified me that any events identified in my emails will now be automatically added to my calendar. It pointed out that I could disable this feature in settings. Is this a benefit? A time saver? For some yes. Which is why this and other forms of machine learning are gaining ground and being implemented in organizations world-wide.
Those few minutes saved in adding events to your calendar can prevent you from missing important events and save you time and frustration. Spam filtering, task creation, and other tools supported by machine learning are also common with email platforms to help increase efficiency. With this in mind, we look at a few other machine learning services available to help enhance your day-to-day work.
Customer relationship management systems help you keep track of customers, their purchases, and needs. For those using Salesforce and other CRM tools, machine learning is being incorporated into all facets of data management to look for trends and identify opportunities. Add your customer’s social media and news channels and the system identifies similar news from organizations working in the same industry and delivers updates to you each day effortlessly.
For marketing departments, machine learning has become commonplace and assists in identifying trends, new audiences, and messages that will resonate. Data analytics was previously done by hand but can be continuously calculated and monitored, providing the speed and flexibility needed for departments to pivot quickly in response to shifts in audience needs.
“Can I assist you today?” says the chatbot you just installed on the company website. Chatbots support companies by assisting customers when a live agent isn’t available. The machine learning tools help address common questions and filter and distribute difficult issues to the right live representative. Companies can train their chatbot with common questions and answers from your company FAQ (i.e., Frequently Asked Questions) or let the chatbot learn from live agents and reap the gains in saved time and overhead expense.

For those organizations evaluating their machine learning options, consider the data you’ll provide to the system and review the outputs before going live. Machine learning is only as good as the information you give it, if your data includes biases, your machine learning tool will as well. However, with the right data and supported by a quality assurance program, machine learning can enhance your offerings, make you nimbler, and offer savings to you and your staff.
Excited for the 2021 Virtual Annual Dinner

This week the Women in Standards members will join with volunteers and experts from around the world to celebrate standardization at the 2021 Virtual Annual “Dinner.” The event on January 21st will include a keynote presentation from Chantal Guay, ing. P.Eng. FCAE, Chief Executive Officer, Standards Council of Canada.
The theme of this year’s dinner is Celebrating Diversity in Standards and Chantal Guay’s keynote address is similarly named “Diversity in Standards and Why the future belongs to standardization.”
Registration is free and Women in Standards extends its thanks to our sponsors: ASTM International, ICC, MCI, and UL Standards. Don’t miss this exciting event. Register today.
2020 Winter Social, A Recap

On December 15th, 2020, the Women in Standards held its end-of-year Winter Social. It was great to see familiar faces and catch up and celebrate the end of the year. The event included games and team building activities provided by and were excited to award the top prize to Women in Standards member Teresa Ambrosius. Tune in December 21st at the 2021 Virtual Annual “Dinner” to view a recording of the fun. But don’t worry, you haven’t missed out. Women in Standards is planning fun and engaging activities with partners such as for all our 2021 happy hours.
Sponsor the WiS

Participate in an educational presentation and voice your thoughts on standards development. 

Submit an article for publication in the WiS E-news.

Follow the Women in Standards on LinkedIn and get up-to-date information on new standards activities - events, committees, and federal programs.

Participate in online chats on issues of standards and raising the voice and participation of women in standards. 
Delegating at work
How to Delegate Effectively

Delegation is considered a core proficiency of leaders because it’s so difficult to do. Most people think that there are certain tasks that only they can complete. As a leader, there isn’t time to complete each task personally so training and trusting others to perform those tasks is essential to success. When deciding to delegate, first consider your authority to do so, the responsibility you are placing on someone else, and how your will ensure the work is completed.  
Delegating means to assign responsibility for completing an activity to someone else, either an employee on your team or another coworker. When delegating, make sure you have the authority to do so. This includes considering the workload of that person to ensure you will not be overburdening them, their skillset and ability to perform the task and other factors. If you aren’t able to perform these steps, you may want to step back to evaluate whether you have the appropriate level of authority to delegate work to that person.
It’s also important to consider whether that individual has the needed job description and work focus to complete the assigned task. If you are asking an administrative expert to fix a bug in a piece of software, you may be delegating to the wrong person. Understanding the current responsibilities of that individual will help you to ensure the work you’d like to delegate falls within their scope.
Read the full article, click here
Company Affinity Groups
What Are They and How Can You Start One

Affinity groups, also called employee resource groups (ERGs), are formed to provide a forum for a group of people who share an interest or common goal. [1] Book clubs, public speaking groups, and alumni associations are all types of affinity groups.

These groups play an important role in providing a space for individuals to share experiences, advice, and to look for support and insights. Within organizations, ESGs can provide support to groups that feel marginalized and help being visibility to issues they face. Being a new employee can be difficult and stressful, especially in cases where the employee may not know anyone at the company or have moved to join the company. ESGs for new employees can provide support and guidance and a place to share concerns or gain new perspective and have been shown to reduce employee turnover.  

ESGs can also “play a significant role in making workplaces more inclusive for those with disabilities” [2] and support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Through affinity groups, individuals can discuss shared issues and the group can work with management at the company to seek solutions. Other individuals that aren’t experiencing the same issues but want to help others that are can also join. These individuals are referred to as Allies. They play an important role in ESGs as advocates for equality of a marginalized group. And through the involvement of Allies in ESGs, the organization benefits from increased cultural awareness and a more inclusive work environment.

Many businesses support their employees forming ESGs as studies have found that ESGs can lead to gains in recruitment, retention, and professional development. As an example, when a potential employee is considering applying for or accepting a position at an organization, the presence of ESGs can be a deciding factor. Once hired, ESGs can provide the support needed to retain and foster the further development of that individual into a future leader.

For those wishing to establish an ESG, here are a few recommendations:

  • Identify a specific goal for the ESG – the goal will help other decide whether to join and should be clear and concise.
  • Reach out to others to identify potential members – both members and allies as well as someone in management to champion your group are important.
  • Develop a proposal to management that clearly outlines the goals and benefits of the ESG.
  • If approved, meet with interested members to identify how often you’d like to meet and what actions or successes you’d like to accomplish.
  • Open the group to others and be open to unique and differing viewpoints.   



The Women in Standards supports the professional development of its members. Here are a few positions currently available at standards developing organizations:
  • Standards Engineer, AWWA *Featured Opportunity* - As one of AWWA’s Standards Engineers, you’ll get to work in partnership with our volunteer committees, comprised of leaders in the water sector, on our Standards and Manuals of Practice. We’re seeking an administrative, technical professional who will provide exceptional service to our members, volunteers general public, and staff.
  • Associate Editor, Digital Projects, ASHRAE
  • Marketing Assistant, ASHRAE
  • Email Marketing Specialist, AIHA
  • Meetings Manager, AIHA
  • Program Manager, Education, AIHA
Standards developing organizations are also seeking member volunteers to support upcoming standards projects. These include ASME, PDA, IESBA, IAASB, IPSASB and others. If you haven’t yet selected an SDO to support, review our SDO Directory to identify the right SDO for you.
Visit the Women in Standards Participant and Employment Opportunities page today, click here.
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