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Alina and Shelly sitting and conversing in front of presentation screens.
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Women’s Network: Empowering women in the workplace

March 8, 2024

International Women’s Day holds different meaning depending on who you ask. To Alina, Systems Engineer III, the day has a special place in her heart.

Growing up in an eastern European family, where International Women’s Day is celebrated like any other holiday, Alina was always celebrated. She received flowers, cards and congratulations every year on March 8, and she spends her time—personal and working hours—sharing that recognition with the community.

Alina attended Smith College, a liberal arts women’s college in Massachusetts and the first women’s college to offer an accredited engineering degree. The school’s focus on advocacy fueled Alina’s passion for giving back to her community. Her passion began as a child, as she was provided support from her own community for being an underserved youth.

In her free time, Alina mentors members of the Society of Women Engineers chapter at her alma mater, providing them with support and guidance in finding internships, preparing application materials, and figuring out which career path they wish to pursue.

At work, in addition to her engineering role, Alina is the sole-chair of the Women’s Network, an employee resource group (ERG) at Textron Systems. She got involved in the ERG shortly after beginning her role at the company in 2022, when she participated in an event making chemotherapy kits for women with breast cancer.

“I was very pleasantly surprised at the level of engagement and how much people cared,” Alina said. “At our events, people are vulnerable with one another, express gratitude for one another and are genuinely kind with one another. The connections made go beyond being coworkers to real friendship.”

As sole chair of Women’s Network, Alina works to ensure that it is a safe and supportive environment for everyone, with goals of providing a network and empowering women on a professional and personal level. She plans to host many events this year, including Women in STEM forums, donation drives, Imposter Syndrome workshops, breast cancer walks and more. Alina is grateful for a board that stands behind her and helps plan, support and execute every event.

For International Women’s Day, Women’s Network hosted a candid conversation about empowering women in the workplace—given by Shelly, Director of Talent Management—which was followed by a cards and carnations event.

“The idea is, here’s a card and here’s a carnation—use that as a way to express gratitude to a woman in the business who’s had a positive impact and has inspired you,” Alina said.

The event was a huge hit last year. So much so, that when the event ended, people kept passing it on; getting new notecards to write notes of gratitude and pass their flowers to another woman whom they deemed influential.

For the event this year, Alina was sure to prepare more cards and flowers to allow people to pass on even more gracious messages to more women throughout the business.

Through her work on the Women’s Network, Alina has hopes of expanding the ERG across as many Textron Systems sites as possible, ensuring that all women at the company have a safe space to feel empowered.

“Empowered women make for a better world,” Alina said. “I’d like for anybody at any site, even if it’s just five people in a room, to feel like they can also have cards and carnations for International Women’s Day; that they can also get together and put together care kits for chemotherapy; that they can also participate in our workshops and have that network of women at Textron Systems at large, supporting them on their personal and professional journeys. Women’s Network is a very powerful resource and I want it to be available to everyone.”