Professional Development Day

Professional Development Day, organized by the Society of Women Engineers Pittsburgh, is a half-day event virtually taking place on Saturday, May 22nd from

8:30 AM - 1:00 PM ET

Thank you, to our wonderful sponsors!

Naval Nuclear Laboratory

Everything you need to know about Professional Development Day

What is Professional Development Day?
Professional Development Day is a half-day event filled with interesting sessions with information on how to grow as a professional in your career! These sessions are intermixed with networking opportunities and corporate sponsor presentations.
Where will Professional Development Day be held?
This year Professional Development Day is completely virtual. The week of the event, you will be sent login information to a secure page of this website that will host the Zoom links for each session. If you have not received your login information by Friday, May 21st at 1 PM, please contact
Where do I register for Professional Development Day?
You can register for Professional Development Day on Eventbrite using this link:
How much does Professional Development Day cost?
Tickets cost $15 for any SWE member and $20 for any non-SWE member. However, if you register before midnight on May 7th, 2021 you are considered an Early Bird Registrant and you get a $5 discount on the ticket price. Collegiate SWE members can attend for $5.
What incentive do I have to be an Early Bird Registrant?
In addition to the reduced ticket price, all early bird registrants will be entered in a giveaway on the day of the event. To win the giveaway, you must be present during the attendee networking session.
What virtual event courtesy should I know?
For this event, we ask that you please keep your microphones off unless you are in a networking session or it is otherwise specified by a session moderator. In the networking session, we ask that you please use your cameras if you are able. Otherwise, you may keep cameras on or off per your preference.
Where can I find information on the sessions?
There is a “sessions” section below the agenda which gives detailed information on each session. The panelists or presenters in each session and their biographies will be added as information becomes available. The information is subject to change.
What is the corporate networking session?
This event is tentatively scheduled as an optional event after the closing session of Professional Development Day. Ideally, you will have the opportunity to network with area companies that are currently hiring. If your company is hiring and you would like to be a part of this event, please email


This is the tentative schedule for the day. We've got a lot of great things planned!

  • 8:30 AM - 8:45 AM


  • 8:45 AM - 9:35 AM

    Session A: Keeping Up With Industry Trends Panel

    Session B: Pivoting Careers Panel

  • 9:35 AM - 9:40 AM


  • 9:40 AM - 10:35 AM

    Strategic Planning & Goal Setting Workshop

  • 10:35 AM - 11:00 AM

    Attendee Networking Session

  • 11:00 AM - 11:05 AM


  • 11:05 AM - 11:55 AM

    Being a Good Manager: People, Projects, and You - Lightning Talks

  • 11:55 AM


  • 12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

    Corporate Networking Session [Tentative]

Keeping Up with Industry Trends

Format: Panel Discussion

Are you constantly fighting to keep up to date on trends within your industry? Are you wondering if it’s even worth it? Listen to our industry professionals discuss how keeping updated with industry trends has benefited their careers and learn how to stay on top of these changes.

  • Sara Blascovich

    Sara Blascovich is the Resources Business Group Manager at HDR for Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. In her 17 years of industry experience she has focused on preparing, leading, and delivering regulatory strategies for large complex projects. Ms. Blascovich focuses on regulatory requirements of projects and coordinates with the required permitting agencies from the beginning of the project through construction. She attends many industry meetings and conferences in order to track and provide input on new regulatory changes at the state and federal level. Ms. Blascovich helps to drive HDR’s regional program through strategic goals based on current and expected trends and drivers for industrial, oil and gas, power, renewables, and waste clients and projects.

  • Melissa Martinez

    Melissa Martinez is Vice President, New Product & Process Technology of Allegheny Technologies (ATI), a global manufacturer of technically advanced specialty materials and complex components. In this role, Melissa leads ATI’s Technology Council responsible for for ATI's innovation management process, ensuring technical collaboration and visibility among ATI's business units, supporting the development and recruitment technical talent, and the roadmap for product and process technology.

    Melissa joined ATI in 2006 in the Research and Development group of ATI’s Specialty Alloys and Components business unit, focused on metallurgy research for new product development. In 2010, she was promoted to Sr. Manager, Research & Development, where she was responsible for rebuilding the local R&D organization and designing a robust innovation management process aligned with business development efforts. During her tenure with ATI, Melissa has held positions of increasing managerial and leadership responsibility, including facilitating projects across ATI’s business units. In 2015, she was promoted to Vice President, New Product Development where she created and leads ATI’s Technology Council. In 2019, her role expanded to include process development.

    Melissa began her career in Motorola’s Land Mobile Products sector focused on evaluating new materials and additive manufacturing processes for consumer electronics.

    Melissa earned a bachelor’s degree in Materials Science & Engineering from the Massachusetts Insititute of Technology and a master’s degree in Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.

  • Karen Verelley

    Karen Verelley is the Managing Partner of Vaultimeter Group, a boutique product management and strategy consulting firm that serves executives across multiple industries, including financial services, insurance, healthcare, telecom, and new space. With a special emphasis on helping companies navigate digital transformation, drive success with AI/Machine Learning uses cases, and build SaaS product growth, Karen brings over 20 years of experience in product management, marketing, and strategy to her engagements. Throughout her career, she has worked with companies from startups to Fortune 100 companies to accelerate growth and drive innovation.

    Prior to Vaultimeter Group, Karen held executive global product management and marketing positions in Imagine Software, Conning Asset Management, DFA Capital Management, LinkShare Corporation (now Rakuten Marketing), and most recently in IBM Watson Product Management and Strategy where she led the global go-to-market and launch for IBM’s first API service for building chatbots and virtual agents. Her early career experience was in telecom with both AT&T and MCI (now Verizon) where she was trained to design voice and data networks, and also held positions in technical sales, global business development, M&A, and international marketing.

    Ms. Verelley has a B.S. from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and holds a patent in telecommunications.

Pivoting Careers

Format: Panel Discussion

Are you wondering what it looks like to change careers? Our industry professionals will discuss their experiences pivoting to a new area or field, the challenges they overcame in their new roles, and what you should learn from their experiences to make your transition to a new career smoother.

  • Margaret Adriatico

    Margaret Adriatico is currently a Vice President and Project Technical Lead for Citi. She is responsible for project oversight of Citi’s ATM Modernization Project. Margaret has worked as a project manager for 10 years and is experienced in Waterfall and Agile project management.

    Margaret holds a BS in Biology from Christopher Newport University and a MS in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. She is also a Certified Scrum Master.

    Margaret started her career as a research scientist with NASA in 1987 where she was instrumental in developing new materials for the Space Station. In 1990 she joined Procter & Gamble as an engineer and helped them create more sustainable business building products and services. In 2011, she joined dunnhumby, the consumer research and insights provider for Kroger, as a project manager. She has also worked as a project manager for media and broadcast provider, Scripps, and she lead the software development teams at PCMS/Flooid for retail point of sale systems for PetSmart, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Phillip VanHeusen and WinCo.

    She has held several leaders positions within SWE and other volunteer organizations, which have allowed her to share her love of science and technology as well as her experiences as a woman juggling home, family, school and success with students and professionals. She is a SWE Life Member and was the recipient of the SWE Region G GEM award in 2018.

    Margaret holds 5 US Patents for compositions of matter, and is a US Patent Agent. She also serves as a leader and role model for several non-profit organizations committed to increasing diversity, inclusion and developing leadership and technical excellence.

    “Project management is a natural evolution for an engineer as it appeals to our sense of planning and problem solving. As a project manager, I’m able to learn new technologies and products and make immediate business-building contributions. I love working with teams and enabling them to release their full potential by removing road-blocks and serving as a conduit to management,” says Margaret.

    Margaret and her husband live in Cincinnati, Ohio. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, golfing, candle making and wine making.

  • Kristin Malosh, P.E.

    Kristin is the Vice President of Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) for North Star BlueScope in Delta, OH. Kristin has a professional background in consulting for the first half of her career and industrial HSE experience in Electric Arc Furnace steel making for the past ten years. In her current role, Kristin is responsible to lead and develop the HSE performance of the currently expanding steel making operations (~$700M expansion started in 2019) for North Star.

    Beyond Kristin’s passion for HSE, she is also an active volunteer in organizations and events to inspire girls to consider engineering as a career option. Kristin is an active member of the Society of Women Engineers and a featured member on the National Academy of Engineering “Engineer Girl Website.”

    Kristin holds a B.S. in Engineering from Michigan State University and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Pennsylvania.

  • Mali Poorfarhani

    Mali Poorfarhani has been with Bayer Pharma for 16 years and currently is the director of global Digital Health sourcing. This role spans from technology scouting to data acquisition, building digital health supply chain and periodic performance evaluation in Bayer. Mali holds Masters of Science in System Engineering from University of Maryland, Leadership and negotiation certificate from Carnegie Mellon and AI in Healthcare certificate from MIT. Mali throughout her career at Bayer, design and implemented multi-disciplinary complex software and hardware system applications deployed in healthcare environment. Her current focus is to enable the Digital Health solution businesses across Bayer Pharma by scouting external partnerships.

Strategic Planning and Goal Setting

Format: Workshop

Do you find yourself wondering how to incorporate or improve strategic planning in to your career? Are you wishing you were better with goal setting in your personal life? Our industry professional will be sharing her insight into these topics to help you walk away from this session with actionable ideas on how to be the best strategic planner/goal setter that you can be.

  • Beth Davis

    Beth’s passion and belief is that everyone in a company is responsible for people development and creating company culture. After many years in various corporate roles across a diverse set of global industries, Beth founded The Llewellin Group where she now get to work with people serious about bringing the Agile mindset, principles, and methods forward in their workplaces in pursuit of lasting value creation for customers and the creation of exceptional employee experiences.

    Beth is a certified Scrum Trainer with Scrum Inc., co-created the first Scrum in HR certification experience with Scrum Inc., and is one of the first certified facilitators of the iCAgile – Agility in HR certification in the USA. She contributed the chapter on Self-Organization in the recently published book by Agile People, “Agile People Principles: Your Call to Action for the Future of Work”. Beth holds certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources, and is a certified trainer and Community of Practice leader of 3 Vital Questions ( aimed at developing self-coaching and leadership capabilities in everyone she gets to work with. She volunteers as one of the leaders of the PittAgile Meetup community and is core faculty for the Early Career and Advanced Faculty Leadership Academy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health Sciences.

    Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Being a Good Manager: People, Projects, and You

Format: Lightning Talks

No matter your title, we all have a role in management - even if it’s just managing ourselves! In this session, we will have a people manager, product manager, and a great “self” manager each give 15 minute talks on their experiences in management and what you need to know to be successful in any of these roles.

  • Terry Dean

    Terry Dean is an accomplished leader in software engineering and product development. She enjoys building and growing great engineering teams with the support they need to excel at delivering high value software products. Her past experience spans multiple industries including government (DoD, HHS), accounting, aviation, supply chain management, and healthcare. She is a native Pittsburgher and holds a Bachelor's in CS from the University of Pittsburgh.

  • Rachel Morford

    Rachel Morford is the SWE Society President-Elect. She is a Principal Director at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California, where she manages a team responsible for the integration of multiple space and ground programs. In previous roles, Morford led the Aerospace team supporting the production, launch, and on-orbit testing of three high-value communication satellites; provided technical leadership and supported strategic development of international agreements between the U.S. Air Force and other nations; and spent several years as a systems engineer working on national security launches. Morford has led the Aerospace Women’s Committee, served on the Aerospace Diversity Action Committee, and is an enthusiastic member of multiple Aerospace Employee Resource Groups. She has been recognized with the Aerospace Woman of the Year award and the Aerospace Commitment to Our People Diversity and Inclusion award.

    A senior life member of SWE, Morford joined the Society as a student at the University of Southern California. She has held several leadership roles in SWE at all levels, including Chair of the Collegiate Leadership Coaching Committee, Region Governor, Los Angeles Section President, and Director of Advocacy. Morford is a recipient of the SWE Distinguished New Engineer award and the WeLocal ELiTE award.

    Morford holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California, and a certificate in technical management from the University of California, Los Angeles. An active alumna, Morford serves on the Alumni Association Board of Governors and the Viterbi Emerging Leaders Board. She enjoys traveling, running, and refinishing furniture.

  • Micaha Dean Hughes

    Micaha Dean Hughes is a Kentucky native with a passion for creating equitable educational spaces for young kids. Most recently, Hughes served as the Director of Outreach and Community Engagement at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering, where she created and led K-12 outreach programs to get young students and their families engaged in engineering. Hughes also worked to specifically recruit more women into UK Engineering and hosted special events to encourage greater participation of women in the traditionally male-dominated field. This May, Hughes graduated with a Master of Science degree in STEM Education, and she also holds a bachelor's degree in Integrated Strategic Communication, both from the University of Kentucky. This fall, Hughes will begin pursuit of her PhD in Educational Equity in Teaching and Learning Sciences at NC State University. Micaha currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, their two young daughters, and their dog.