CANENA 2013: a perspective from Stephanie McLarty

Bringing the next generation of experts into the IEC's work

By Janice Blondeau

IEC 2010 Young Professional Leader, Stephanie McLarty presented on ensuring continuity through developing the next generation of international standardization experts at CANENA (the Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations of the Americas) 2013. In this interview, e-tech asked McLarty to share her experiences and learnings from this forum.

Stephanie McLarty, IEC 2010 Young Professional Leader

Positive and constructive atmosphere

e-tech: What were your impressions of the CANENA meeting?

McLarty:The CANENA group was very warm and welcoming to me. Many people told me that they were looking forward to my presentation, which was nice. I was impressed by how very serious and passionate about their work everyone was, and there was a tremendous amount of respect for one another. It was a constructive atmosphere.

e-tech: What did you enjoy about this opportunity?
McLarty:  One of the best benefits of international standardization is the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world whom you would not normally meet. So I enjoyed meeting everyone and learning about what they do and where they are from. It was a nice cross-section of individuals from Canada, the USA, and Mexico.

The same issues across organizations

e-tech: What would you say was useful to you?
McLarty:  The connections I made were useful, and I hope to collaborate with some of those individuals in the future.  I also enjoyed learning about the state of standards in North America, and particularly understanding some of the changes that have being going on in Canada, and elsewhere in North America.

e-tech: What did you learn there or what can help you in future work?
McLarty:  What struck me is that organizations of any size or focus are struggling to deal with how to get more young professionals involved in standards work. This isn’t just happening within standards organizations, but also within companies.

Need for social media guidelines

The other major takeaway for me is that organizations and companies need social media policies around standards participation. Young professionals are so used to using social media, but are unsure how to use it for standards work and do not want to make mistakes. Organizations can play a part by having guidelines around what young professionals can and cannot do with respect to social media and their standards work.

Mobilizing “GenNext” to ensure continuity

e-tech: Would you like to share some background about your presentation?

McLarty:Below is a synopsis on my presentation. Overall I discussed some of the successes and lessons learned from the IEC Young Professionals Programme, and some of the takeaways that I had written in this paper.

Synopsis:Mobilizing “GenNext” for the Next Generation of Standards The need for succession planning has become critical to ensure the future of standardization and its multifaceted benefits. This presentation looked at succession planning from a standards lens, including lessons learned from the IEC YP (Young Professionals) Programme. Practical strategies were covered including how to get young professionals involved and how they can usher in the next generation of standardization to help improve cost-effective market access.

Advice for Young Professionals

e-tech: Do you have any advice for IEC Young Professionals if they have a similar opportunity to give a presentation?

McLarty:If you have the opportunity to speak at such an event, go for it. It is an amazing opportunity to dive deeper into the standards community, network and share the outcomes of the IEC Young Professionals Programme. The issue of how to get more young professionals involved is one that all organizations are struggling to deal with. There is an important story to be told about how this can be improved and what the IEC Young Professionals Programme has done right.

e-tech: Is there any other interesting information you’d like to share?
McLarty:  Approximately 75 individuals from Canada, US and Mexico were in attendance for CANENA.  One person commented on how they were impressed that 92% of the IEC Young Professionals Programme participants had spread the information with their colleagues. This is a very good sign. Another commented that a Young Professional in their company had attended the IEC programme and was thoroughly impressed.

Brief biographical note

Stephanie McLarty is President and CEO of REfficient, an online reuse market­place where companies can source equip­ment for their businesses as well as sell and donate their surplus to others. Since 2008, McLarty has been the Canadian Technical Expert on reuse and recycling for IEC TC111:Environmental Standardization for Electrical and Electronic Products and Systems. McLarty was selected by her peers as one of three IEC Young Professional Leaders in 2010.

0807-IEC2010-CM2D0516 Stephanie McLarty, IEC 2010 Young Professional Leader
DSC_4974 The IEC YP Programme encourages upcoming experts to participate in the work of the IEC
social_media The need for social media policies in organizations was an issue that was raised