Betty Shanahan, CAE, F.SWE, is the executive director and CEO for the Society of Women Engineers. As SWE's executive director since 2002, Shanahan is a champion for diversity in engineering and the engineering profession overall.
Before joining SWE, she spent 24 years in development, engineering management, and marketing for the electronics and software industries. She began her career at Data General, where she was the "one woman engineer" on the project captured in Tracy Kidder's The Soul of a New Machine. Shanahan continued her career at Alliant Computer Systems as a member of the design team for the first parallel processing minicomputer and manager of hardware design for subsequent systems. Attracted to the business side of technology, Shanahan moved to marketing management in 1990. Most recently, she was vice president of product management and marketing for the Software Components Division of Stellent Inc.
Shanahan earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Michigan State University, a Master of Software Engineering from the Wang Institute of Graduate Studies, and an MBA in strategic management from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Shanahan participates in several forums that advance the engineering profession, including the National Academy of Engineering’s committee for “Changing the Conversation” in the public understanding of engineering and the NAE committee for the Lifelong Learning Imperative in Engineering. She serves on the Alumni Board of the Michigan State University College of Engineering, Clemson University College of Engineering and Science Advisory Board, and is president of Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives. In 2010 she was the first woman to receive the Claud R. Erickson Distinguished Alumnus Award from the College of Engineering at Michigan State University. In 2012, Shanahan was named is one of STEMConnector’s “100 Women Leaders in STEM.” In 2013, she received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Connecticut.
A fellow life member of SWE, Shanahan has held numerous sectional and national volunteer positions, including the 1995 national convention co-chair and chair of the convention management committee. She is a Certified Association Executive, and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Society of Association Executives.
- Conference Advisory Board
- Corporate Partnership Council
- Editorial Board
- Government Relations & Public Policy