05 SEP 2018


The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) has announced a new leading figure to drive the body forward as it approaches a milestone centenary celebration next year. 

Elizabeth Donnelly has become the new chief executive officer and succeeds Kirsten Bodley who left the society last month. 

Founded in 1919, WES is a professional, not-for-profit network of women engineers, scientists and technologists offering inspiration, support and professional development.

Donnelly comes into the position with a wealth of experience having graduated from the Open University, specialising in systems thinking. She has worked with Rolls-Royce for three years and was awarded Membership of the Royal Aeronautical Society as a result. The chief executive then went on to lead skills policy for ADS Group Ltd, the trade association for aerospace, defence and security.

Commenting on the appointment, WES president Benita Mehra, said: “As we approach our centenary in 2019, I am delighted that Elizabeth Donnelly is joining WES as CEO. Elizabeth has a strong track record of success embracing engineering, diversity and charities and is ideally suited to lead WES into our second century.”

Furthermore, Donnelly has chaired the RAeS Education and Skills Committee and was a founder member and later deputy chair of the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Committee. She also founded the RAeS Amy Johnson Named Lecture in 2011 and from 2008-2011 was a non-executive director of the East Midlands Regional Development Agency.

Speaking about her new role, Donnelly said: “I am delighted to be appointed chief executive at WES as we celebrate our centenary. I am really looking forward to working with our members, partners, other professional engineering institutions and the wider public to showcase the success of women engineers who have gone before us and those who will transform our future.” 

It's an important time for the charity as 2019 approaches. During the year, WES will be undertaking a variety of national and local events and activities.  These are in recognition of the many women who have made a significant contribution in the past, and to embrace future change where we expect to see more women working in engineering and related careers. 

The 2019 WES centenary celebrations include: the WES Centenary Trail, the WES Centenary Annual Conference, ‘100 Violets’ – an activity being led by the WES Young Members’ Board, plus locally organised events. In addition to this, the annual campaign ‘International Women in Engineering Day’ (INWED) has the theme ‘30by30’, signifying our aim for 30% of the engineering workforce to be women by 2030.


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