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A Perspective On Initiatives In Diversity And Outreach Activities Of Asme, An International Society

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

International Engineering Education II

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

11.93.1 - 11.93.8



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Paper Authors

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Mulchand Rathod Wayne State University


Mary James Legatski American Society of Mechanical Engineers

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Mary James Legatski serves as Manager of Leadership and Diversity at ASME . She has previously served as a Government Relations Representative for ASME, focusing on R&D funding issues. Prior to joining ASME, Ms. Legatski served for two decades as an advocate for the petro-chemical industry in Washinton, DC, representing both Fortune 500 corporations and national trade associations. She is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has pursued graduate studies at George Washington University in Washington, DC. She has most recently been elected to the Board of Directors of the Friends of the South Coastal Library in Bethany Beach, DE.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



For our global community and diverse workforce, respecting, recognizing, and understanding diversity and being inclusive are of the utmost importance for our success. Professional societies can provide an important venue and role model for others to follow.

During the period 2002-05, the authors served in leadership positions of a board on diversity and outreach at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, an international professional society with more than 100,000 members and in 2005 it celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding. This paper describes that board’s some of successful and emerging programs, as well as the impact of the board’s actions on the society as it attempts to grow and reach out to members in a global setting.

A brief description of topics to be addressed include board membership that can make an impact, organizing diversity forums, successful student chapter organized activities, mentoring program for young under-represented members, activities organized by senior members, outreach to minority and women professional societies, and the leadership’s recognition of the crucial role that diversity and outreach play in organizational success.

A perspective from the authors’ point of view concludes the paper. It describes lessons learned and not learned while trying to make an impact in an international setting. As professions grow globally, a model containing diversity as a business case is presented for other societies and organizations to follow.


The economic well being of the United States of America and US-based professional societies very much depends on the reliable and all inclusive workforce [1-4, 6-10]. Professional societies have begun to take proactive steps in recognizing diversity as a business need for their success [6]. As a matter of fact, ASME’s international region is the fastest growing region based on its membership. This phenomenon is significant in light of the fact that the North American membership is either stagnant or declining. Further more, the female member population continues to remain around meager 4% since the 1980s, and there is no data available on under- represented US ethnic groups.

Before sharing some history of ASME’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusiveness, it is important to understand the definitions of some terms.

Diversity means all the ways we differ as individuals. It includes visible differences such as age, gender, ethnicity and physical appearance; as well as underlying differences such as

Rathod, M., & Legatski, M. J. (2006, June), A Perspective On Initiatives In Diversity And Outreach Activities Of Asme, An International Society Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--57

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