On her blog, Tina in Wonderland, 2013 Cultural Mentor Tina Shakour reflects on how her TechWomen experience and interactions with Emerging Leader Saze, taught her insightful lessons about herself and life in America. She writes, “TechWomen changed my perspective on my own world and life.”
Excerpts from two blog posts are re-posted below:
TechWomen Part One: The Silicon Valley Days
I am back home after the Washington, DC trip with TechWomen and I still struggle with wrapping my head around all that has happened since the Emerging Leaders arrived in the Bay Area just over a month ago. I volunteered to help with orientation their first full day here and showed a group of women around Mountain View. Despite jet-lag and having just completed hours (and days) of travel, their energy level was high – I was worried I wouldn’t be up to the task!
That first day I had to explain why the US government was shut down and what that meant. I answered questions about “what is one block“? I was asked if California was a liberal or conservative state and explained about tipping in restaurants. I introduced several women to Cal-Mex food for the first time while learning at least one woman had taken her first plane flight, ever, to travel to California for the program.
TechWomen Part Two: The DC Days
So what happens after 78 women from 19 countries spend a month in Silicon Valley through a State Department program? They head to Washington, DC – of course!
As a cultural mentor, I was able to accompany TechWomen in early November for a round of panels and touring in our nation’s capital.
Our first full day was exciting as we navigated the Metro to get to the White House. Sadly, the President was not out front waving to us, but we did get some great photos. Afterwards we headed off to various destinations. Many of the women, being in science and engineering fields, were excited to visit the Air and Space Museum. I took a different path and for the first time visited the Library of Congress, seeing a Gutenberg Bible and the famous reading room.
Tina has over 15 years in sales, marketing, and engineering in the tech industry and Silicon Valley. She has had the opportunity to work for Cisco, Microsoft, Skype, and several small, angel-funded start-ups. She is a problem-solver; she works to find the best message, for the best audience, through the best medium. She loves strategy and big-picture thinking but also enjoys getting her hands dirty daily.