Guest post by Ouafae Alami, 2014 Emerging Leader from Morocco
The TechWomen Experience: A Dream Come True
Being selected in the 2014 TechWomen program has been a dream one true. One month already spent in Silicon Valley–the temple of technologies that every engineer dreams to visit–I can’t begin to describe my feelings! One thing I can say is something in my has changed; my life perception has changed. Visiting LinkedIn, Twitter, Mozilla, Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Facebook and many other innovative companies is dream that came true because of the TechWomen program.
These big companies are more than just than big logos. Being inside their headquarters and in the executive briefing centers, and discussing with the top management of others has changed my perception of driving a business. I feel even more proud of working in STEM fields. I am even more motivated to advance my career as a woman in STEM, with the belief that starting small but thinking big is the philosophy behind Silicon Valley success.
My Mentorship at Symantec: An experience that begins with an inspiring speech and ends with an idea to advance STEM in Morocco
The TechWomen Emerging Leader Orientation was hosted by Symantec. I was excited to have the opportunity to discover host company a few days before my first official work day. My favorite memory of this day was an inspiring speech done by the CIO of Symantec, Sheila Jordan. She gave a a great speech in which one quote began to change my life perception: “If someone gives you an opportunity, never say no even if you are not ready. Accept the challenge and learn how to do it in parallel.”
Being hosted at Symantec for my professional mentorship while having no previous experience in the security domain was a big challenge for me, but I believed that my management team and colleagues would be outstanding motivation. During my time at Symantec, I had the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with many projects, programs and products managers. Since my career is just starting to move towards a management position, it was inspiring to discuss with them about their careers and their management styles.
One of the most amazing experiences I had was attending SWAN Toastmasters, a club for public speaking. Since that first meeting, I was inspired by the idea and thought about how to use public speaking in a STEM perspective. Coming from a country where English is the third language while also being the universal language of STEM, I’m planning to create a Moroccan STEM Toastmasters club to enhance the English public speaking skills of girls and women in STEM fields and create opportunities of networking for the Moroccan STEM community. I have started working on the communicative side of the club here and planing to work on the legal status when I return to Morocco.
San Francisco: An Ambassador City to the United States
The moment we landed in San Francisco, surprisingly the first feeling I had when I put my feet outside the airport was “I’m still feeling at home.” Usually when I travel abroad, I feel that the land is different and the people too, but this time every thing was warm just like in Morocco. The weather, the reception, and the friendly people I have met makes me believe San Francisco is an ambassador to know about the United States. I learned about culture diversity, about technology, and about American life. During the whole month I was like a bee flying from one attraction to another, never feeling satisfied by discovering this city. It’s a city that softly stole my heart it. Being in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, surrounded by high tech industries, reminds me that the future of STEM is your responsibility, without making you forget to enjoy your life, too!
Ouafae is a Senior Software Engineer at Devoteam Services Morocco. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Telecommunication and Computer Science from the National Institute of Posts and Telecommunication, and an MBA in Project Management from UWIC. She started her career as a Convergence Engineer working on the IMS platform for Alcatel-Lucent, developing value-added services using SIP protocol. After completing SUN certificiations in JAVA programming and web development, she began developing web applications in telecommunications, accounting, municipalities management, and security management for GFI and Novedia. In her current position, Ouafae is responsible for the management of applications for internal control and risk, as well as the writing and implementation of specifications. In addition, she manages the technical team and trains new members.