By Edwina Dueñas, Communications Associate
Nearly 100 women from 19 countries arrived in San Francisco on September 27 to begin the five-week TechWomen program. Emerging Leaders (ELs) hit the ground running, with a packed “boot camp week” planned to equip them with the knowledge, resources and information for a successful exchange experience.
Here’s a recap of the ELs’ first week in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Basic Orientation at Mozilla
ELs began their week with a basic orientation covering essential info for living in the Bay Area for the next month. Like last year, Mozilla hosted the group at their San Francisco office. ELs were treated to a view of the Bay Bridge and warm welcome by CFO Jim Cook.
Program Kickoff at Juniper Networks
A highlight of the week, this event gave each country cohort the opportunity to showcase their countries before mentors, the Institute of International Education and State Department personnel. Through song, dance, traditional dress and presentations, ELs shared highlights about each of their cultures. Mitchell Baker, executive chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation and CEO of Mozilla Corporation, provided the keynote and recognized how exchange programs unite leaders to explore what can be done with diverse perspectives.
Program Orientation at Symantec
This month, ELs will partake in a variety of professional development and cultural activities. At Symantec, ELs learned about making the most of their mentorship, the action plan and met with cultural mentors. Symantec CIO Sheila Jordan provided a keynote on personal branding and impact.
Leadership Development Day at Prospect Silicon Valley
This year, each EL will develop an action plan with their respective groups that helps resolve a critical issue in their community that they can address through their collective skills, technical expertise and knowledge of their country. ELs began brainstorming potential action plans, in addition to collaborating through leadership exercises designed and led by Linkage Inc.
Sustainable Development Workshop at Autodesk
ELs had the opportunity to explore the creative culture of Autodesk in this day-long workshop. With breakout sessions on innovation, sustainable design and a walk-through of the company’s Pier 9 office, ELs were inspired to create. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan gave remarks to cap off the evening networking reception. Evan remarked on TechWomen’s beginnings in 2010, the program’s expansion to Central Asia and strong, sustainable partnerships with the private sector five years on. “The TechWomen program supports the United States’ global commitment to provide women and girls the access and opportunities needed to advance their careers and pursue their dreams,” Evan noted.
Golden Gate Bridge and Welcome Picnic
To celebrate the first week of #techwomen15, the program headed to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio for an afternoon of picture taking and picnicking with mentors. As many ELs shared, seeing the bridge was a “dream come true,” and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to the Bay Area.
For the second week of the program, professional mentorships at host companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley are in progress. Stay tuned to TechWomen on our blog, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more coverage from the program.