The IEEE Rising Stars Conference is designed to inform, excite, enthuse, and enlighten the top young engineering professionals and students. Featuring 40+ expert speakers, attendees obtained direction and perspective into potential career paths as they learned about emerging technologies and connected with industry professionals and executives.

John D. McDonald, IEEE Life Fellow, gives his impressions of the 2023 IEEE Rising Stars Conference:

John Tuesday Morning Workshop Grid Modernization1I participated in the 2022 IEEE Rising Stars Conference for the first time, where I gave a workshop on “Key Insights for Career Development” and loved the interaction with students and young professionals. I spent just one full day at the conference and was busy all day meeting many students, young professionals, and IEEE leaders who enthusiastically support this conference. My takeaways from this experience were that I hoped I would be invited to participate again by giving workshops on new topics and that I would be present at the conference from beginning to end the next time. I needed more time to meet and talk with more attendees.

At the 2023 IEEE Rising Stars Conference, I gave two workshops. One was a two-hour workshop on the technical topic “Grid Modernization: Technological Advancements Beyond Smart Grid”. The second was a one-hour workshop on the topic “Building and Leading a Volunteer Organization”. This workshop focused on building a team of volunteers, effectively engaging with and leading the team of volunteers, with examples from the many leadership positions I have had in 52 years at IEEE and 48 years of full-time engineering work with six companies. In both workshops, the attendees interacted with me throughout the entire time with many questions and comments.

Valuable Networking Opportunities

Being at the conference the entire time gave the attendees many opportunities to meet me and talk with me. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of attendees who posted on Linked in and said how impactful their discussions with me were to them. Many of them included photos with me in their postings. The IEEE Rising Stars Conference is one of the best opportunities I have ever seen for students and young professionals to learn both technical and soft skills, as well as network with peers and experienced leaders.

john with students

Examples of what the students and young professionals said about talking with me:

  • “I am glad to have had the opportunity to talk, connect and listen to what bright minds from all over the world have to say; most of them leaders and pioneers in their realm of work.”
  • “I’d also like to thank John McDonald, in particular, for taking the time to share his experiences and inspiring career achievements. We all have a lot to learn from you, sir.”
  • “I had the pleasure to meet John McDonald, one of my big moments at IEEE Rising Stars Conference 2023. Your advice and guidance shared with me will definitely shape my career ahead. Thank you!”

John D. McDonald has been an IEEE member and IEEE-HKN member for 52 years and an IEEE Life Member for six years. McDonald was the IEEE PES President from 2006-2007, the IEEE Division VII Director from 2008-2009, and he is currently on the IEEE Foundation Board of Directors and Chair of the IEEE Foundation 50th Anniversary Celebration Committee.