In just five, jam-packed weeks, the 78 TechWomen Emerging Leaders have completed a four-week mentorship with Professional Mentors at leading companies in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley, captured the best of Bay Area and American culture with Cultural Mentors, and participated in panels, workshops, and events featuring prominent and inspiring female role models such as Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and author of Lean In), and Rashmi Sinha (CEO and Co-founder of SlideShare). In addition to the Bay Area, they also traveled to Washington, DC to attend meetings and special events at the U.S. Department of State, including a luncheon with Lee Satterfield, Evan Ryan, and Dee Dee Myers, and even a private reception with Dr. Jill Biden (American educator and wife of Vice President Joe Biden).
Asked how they would summarize their TechWomen experience, the Emerging Leaders said:
- Life-changing experience!
- Walking on clouds
- A dream come true
Below, they recount their most memorable takeaways from the TechWomen program:
- People are the most important thing in any company. – Nihal Fares, Egypt
- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Plans are great because they can help take your goal and break it into bite-size steps so you can feel more confident about achieving the goal, help you determine how long it will take to achieve your goal, save you energy, time, and money by helping you to focus on the things that are essential, and remind you every day what you need to do to reach your goal. – Nassima Berryah, Algeria
- The most valuable thing I learned from my mentorship and Professional Mentor is to not be afraid of failure; it will only limit your potential.” – Peace Asukwo, Nigeria
- Fail early and fail fast. Then, pick yourself up and forge ahead. Never take your eyes off the prize. – Braunhilda Ngum, Cameroon
- Ask questions. – Josephine Kamanthe, Kenya
- Advocate your passions and ideas. Anyone can be the next entrepreneur. – Shatha Jayyousi, Jordan
- Everything is possible as long as you set your mind on it. We are actually very similar, which is evident from our experiences and situations, even though we may come from different backgrounds and countries. – Mary Simiyu, Kenya
- I learned from my fellow Emerging Leaders that we all face the same challenges as women. Our fears and aspirations are similar. It is now unto us to unite as women leaders to effect positive change, starting from our communities. – Janet Bih Shufor, Cameroon
- Women can make the world look better if they can grab the chance. – Nermin Ahmed, Egypt
Now that the 2013 TechWomen program has ended, the Emerging Leaders are soaking in some much-needed and well-deserved rest and relaxation. While some are exploring the U.S., other Emerging Leaders have already reunited with their loved ones in their home countries. They are all ready to share and implement their dreams, visions, and plans for the future. We can’t wait to see the kinds of changes they create in their jobs, personal lives, communities, and countries, as well as the impact that the combined efforts of the entire TechWomen community will create globally. We think it’s safe to say that these 78 remarkable women have graduated from “Emerging Leaders” to “Leaders.”
We’d like to thank each and every Emerging Leader, Mentor, host company, volunteer, and supporter who helped make this program possible, and who pushed us toward success. We are already looking ahead to next year’s program, and we are eagerly anticipating what’s in store for TechWomen 2014.