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Press Room - Kitty Didion new WEPAN Executive Director
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WEPAN Names Olin College VP as Executive Director


WEPAN (Women in Engineering Pro-Active Network) has named 

 Catherine Jay Didion as Executive Director

“I am excited to be joining WEPAN at this key moment in its history,” said Didion. “WEPAN is poised for even greater leadership in transforming engineering to foster diverse innovators with the knowledge, creativity, and mindset to tackle our planet’s greatest challenges. I look forward to contributing my abilities and efforts to advancing the organization toward this vital goal.”
Didion brings exceptional experience to lead WEPAN as she assumes responsibility for directing the non-profit organization. WEPAN was founded in 1990 to be a catalyst for change to enhance the success of women in the engineering professions.WEPAN is the nation’s foremost network dedicated to advancing cultures of inclusion and diversity in engineering higher education and workplaces.It has a long and storied history of conducting ground breaking research on relevant topics including mentoring, engagement strategies for recruiting and retaining faculty and students, and articulation of the value of a diverse workforce for companies.
WEPAN will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2020 and has reaffirmed its commitment to serve as a resource for engineering organizations, corporate and academic, who are striving to ensure that their workforce is talented, diverse and equipped to succeed in these challenging times.WEPAN looks forward to working with existing members as well as new partners to ensure that as a nation we engage all talent in our efforts to innovate and advance our society.


“I am delighted that Kitty will be assuming the role of executive director,” said WEPAN President Linda Katehi.

“She brings a depth of experience and leadership in engineering education, along with the ability and passion for the fundraising needed to bring about change WEPAN seeks to create. She is a tireless, driven, and committed person with a proven track record in creating successful networks with national leaders, an ability that will be crucial for us.”

Prior to joining WEPAN,

Didion served as the senior vice president of development, family and alumni relations at Olin College of Engineering from 2016 to 2018. She had overall responsibility for the college’s advancement efforts including fundraising and major gift cultivation, in support of Olin College’s strategic goal of transforming engineering education, and was a member of the president’s cabinet.
Didion was a senior program officer at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) from 2006 to 2016, and as director of the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering and Medicine at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine from 2007 to 2016. Her role was to develop and lead projects in the fields of engineering education, entrepreneurship, research on gender, workforce development and diversity, including the recruitment of influential national leaders to serve on committees, raising funds for each project, and providing staff leadership.
She served as executive director of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) from 1990 to 2004 and was vice president from 2004 to 2006 at The Didion Group, a public relations/government affairs firm. She also has experience in the U.S. Senate as a committee staff member.


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