The TechWomen 2012 delegation concluded its journey with the TechWomen program in Washington, DC on October 11th. “Every one of us followed the same path this last month, but none of our actual journeys were the same. They only shared one commonality, it was life-changing,” said one program participant from Lebanon.
From October 6th to 11th, the TechWomen traveled to the nation’s capital, as a finale to their six-week long immersion experience in the United States. Upon arrival, their first stop was to the White House. “I can’t believe we are here,” said one Mentor. “Anything is possible,” responded an Emerging Leader.
The next day, the TechWomen continued their journey by partaking in a city tour by morning and a monuments tour by evening. “I was crying at the Lincoln Memorial,” said one Emerging Leader. “I can’t believe I have this opportunity right now. I’m in disbelief.”
On October 8th, the TechWomen attended the second-half of a full-day “Innovative Leadership” workshop led by Barbara Fittipaldi, Chief Executive Officer for the Center for New Futures, in Washington D.C. Barbara is an inspirational speaker who addressed the group of professionals and led them through interactive, hands-on training. “I believe I can do things now that I never believed I was able to do before,” claimed one Emerging Leader. “This workshop has taken down barriers that stood in the way of me thinking I could accomplish things in life,” said another Emerging Leader.
On October 9th, the TechWomen Emerging Leaders began their morning with a breakfast meeting at Facebook featuring Marne Levine, Vice President of Global Public Policy.
Following their time at Facebook, the TechWomen Emerging Leaders and Mentors were hosted by the Department of State for a presentation that featured a panel presentation by Victoria Esser, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Katie Dowd, Innovation Advisor to the Secretary of State; and Macon Phillips, White House New Media Director. The panelists openly discussed their social media strategies and the platforms that they use to make a difference in the political sphere. The TechWomen had an opportunity to engage in discussions and ask questions surrounding censorship, open platforms and usage of social media tools.
In the evening, the TechWomen attended a presentation regarding how the U.S. government and Non-Profits leverage technology for a social good hosted by the New America Foundation.
The last day of the TechWomen program commenced with a stirring elections panel. “When I got back to my room, I quickly revised everything I had prepared for our political party back home and I used the input that was provided by the elections panel to revise the way we think,” said one Emerging Leader. “I am a voter, and I did not have such important information about how the elections process works,” said an American Mentor.
The day continued with a luncheon featuring Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State. Assistant Secretary Stock welcomed the Tech Women and congratulated them on completing the program. The luncheon continued with a panel moderated by Dee Dee Myers, former White House Press Secretary, featuring TechWomen Mentors and Emerging Leaders.
“Through this experience, I realized that as women in the mid-east we have the same problems as the women here. Women here have the same problems with men. Before, I thought we needed 90 years for a woman in Oracle in the Middle East to be a VP. Now I know I can do it when I go home,” said an Emerging Leader.
Following the events at the Department of State, the day – and the TechWomen program – concluded with a farewell dinner celebration.
One TechWomen participant proclaimed, “Imagine if we had a UN that operated like this. I don’t think you really realize the enormous difference that this project is making. Clearly, utterly and absolutely changing the world.”