Guest post by Afnan Saqr, 2015 Emerging Leader from Jordan
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Growing up and advancing in my career, I started to think about my ultimate goal, as in, the long term-one. What really matters to me? Where do I see myself next? At that moment, I realized that I want to devote and share my life experience, both professionally and personally, to help and empower other people, such as less experienced professionals, to achieve their goals or to turn their “dreams” into reality! I want to be a role model for the next generation, to be more confident and powerful. Now, I just had to figure out how. The answer? Participating in the TechWomen program.
For me, TechWomen was a remarkable opportunity and a life changing experience! When I arrived in San Francisco to participate in the TechWomen program, my expectations were high, and the program undoubtedly lived up to them. During the program, I met with many powerful, inspiring, highly motivated and well educated people, and guess what? Most of them are Women! Beautiful and intelligent ladies who are passionate about helping , supporting and empowering the next generation of women leaders by providing and equipping them with the right tools, diversifying their knowledge through networking and connecting them with like-minded individuals in order to help them overcome life challenges, achieve goals and change the world for better!
She Can Do It!
This year, a new component has been added to TechWomen – the Action Plan. Action Plans gives TechWomen Emerging Leaders (ELs) the opportunity to address a social issue in their community and build effective and feasible solutions to resolve it.
Twenty teams of Techwomen’s Emerging Leaders (ELs) developed action plans to address a critical community issue and pitched them before a panel of judges that included leaders from USAID, Google, African Diaspora Network and Autodesk. Jordan was one of the top six winners for our action plan “She Can Do it!”
She Can Do it addresses a real issue in Jordan which is low women’s employment percentages in the labor market. Therefore, our implementation plan will focus on capacity building and job training for recent female graduates to get more women in the IT and green technology fields in specific. Also, we will collaborate with some of known organizations in Jordan to host training sessions for soft skills, technical skills and solar panels to make candidates more attractive for companies.
Mentorship Experience at LinkedIn
Another valuable part about TechWomen program is providing participants with opportunity to exchange and develop their experiences through mentorship at top companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
I was proudly hosted at LinkedIn, where I had a chance to work and learn from great leaders and highly professional individuals in the IT industry.
Furthermore, due to fact that I established my professional goals clearly before the program, I was matched and mentored by two super women from LinkedIn; Deepa Sethi, Technical Program Management Leader, growth engineering team, and Jennifer Hamiliton, Staff Technical Program Manager, flagship team.
Together with my mentors we worked to achieve my professional goals. Below is a summary for what I learned during my mentorship experience:
- Process development based on agile/scrum methodologies;
- Project planning;
- Event planning, post-Grace Hopper Conference (GHC);
- Learning about Women in Tech (WIT) initiative’s mission, vision and action plan;
- Built a product roadmap.
Also, I met with leaders in marketing, branding, communications, engineering and product. I observed some executive update meetings, leadership standup meetings and milestone celebrations.
I was overwhelmed by their great team spirits, ultimate support, comfortable work culture and generosity. Thank you, LinkedIn!
Finally, I’m honored and privileged to be part of this great network, surrounded with strong iron sisters, knowing exactly my next step and ready to create an impact and pay forward. I’m now more confident, powerful, inspired. I’m TechWomen 2015 fellow!
Afnan Saqr is a Business Analysis manager with more than seven years of experience in product development and management. Played key roles to assure product proper development and delivery as a Quality Assurance Engineer, Business Analyst and Product Development Manager. Participated efficiently in assessing products, identifying areas for potential improvement, designating new features and modeling necessary processes to assure proper product development and delivery with high customer satisfaction. Has a proven successful record of achievements at a complex products and applications: Hotels Quality Management System, Property Management system, Front Office and Online Booking system, Point of Sale (POS) system, Accounting system, Human Resources and Personnel Management System. Has a bachelor degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Jordan, and achieved different international certifications to encourage professional career development.