We have come to the end of another memorable week of #techwomen17! During week three of the program, Emerging Leaders spent more time working on mentorship projects at their host companies, had opportunities to engage with the local community and participated in the final meeting of the Action Plan Workshop series. The week culminated with Volunteer Day on Saturday, October 7.
2017 Grace Hopper Celebration and ABIE Awards
This week, TechWomen was well represented by mentors, past fellows and 2017 Emerging Leaders at the Grace Hopper Celebration, which was held in Orlando, FL by AnitaB.org. Marie Claire Murekatete, 2014 fellow of Rwanda, was honored with the Change Agent ABIE Award and TechWomen mentor Mercedes Soria was honored with the Leadership ABIE Award. Anar Simpson, also a TechWomen mentor, moderated a panel that featured both Marie Claire and Mercedes.
Three current Emerging Leaders also had the opportunity to travel to Orlando to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration – Sofia Ghacham of Morocco, Chao Mbogo of Kenya and Meyo Zongo of Cameroon. Chao was among the winners of the 2017 Systers Pass It On awards, which honors Anita Borg’s desire to create a network of women technologists helping one another. All of the award winners presented about their plans to “pass on” the benefits of the award and fund their own projects to support other women in technology. Chao has created a mentorship program to encourage more female students to join and stay in the field of computer science.
Action Plan Workshop 3
The final chapter of the three-part Action Plan Workshop series, hosted by Salesforce and held at Galvanize, took place on Wednesday, October 4. Focused on supporting Emerging Leaders to develop their pitching skills, this workshop set the stage for Pitch Day on October 13, where each action plan team will pitch their project ideas. Cheryl Porro, Senior Vice President, Tech & Products at Salesforce, delivered the keynote presentation, offering Emerging Leaders three great tips for successful pitches: “Focus on the why. Be amazing at the how. Connect to the what.”
The evening continued with a pitch training and practice session led by mentor Eileen Brewer and her colleague, Nancy Hayes. Eileen and Nancy are both Angel Investors with Golden Seeds, an investment firm with a focus on women leaders. The advice and wisdom they were able to share with the Emerging Leaders came from their direct experience listening to pitches from women seeking funding from the firm.
After spending some time practicing their pitches, the evening closed in a discussion with mentor Rekha Pai Kamath, Vice President, Stanford Angels & Entrepreneurs, who was able to provide insight about pitching from a judge’s perspective. Rekha’s advice included to have a credible plan, be specific, explain how you will disrupt and cause systemic social impact.
Volunteer Day offered Emerging Leaders the opportunity to get out into San Francisco and carry out volunteer projects to benefit the local community. Emerging Leaders participated in diverse activities across five different volunteer sites.
BaySplash: BaySplash, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)-focused community engagement event, brought the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood together with local educators, leaders and organizations that inspire and empower the community. At BaySplash, TechWomen assisted visiting organizations with hands-on activities for children. They even had the opportunity to meet and work alongside U.S. astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle!
Community Technology Network: The Community Technology Network (CTN) works with senior centers in San Francisco to bring technology training to senior citizens. With CTN, Emerging Leaders visited the Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center to meet members of the community and help them develop digital literacy skills.
GRID Alternatives: GRID Alternatives aims to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities. Emerging Leaders in the solar/green tech sector installed solar panels on a house located in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.
McLaren Park: McLaren Park is located in the southeast corner of San Francisco and is the city’s second largest park. TechWomen volunteers joined San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department staff in restoration and beautification projects.
San Francisco Botanical Garden: The San Francisco Botanical Garden (SFBG), located in Golden Gate Park, covers 55 acres of land and showcases more than 8,500 different plants from around the world. Emerging Leaders assisted SFBG horticulturalists with general maintenance of the gardens.
This week, the Emerging Leaders are finalizing the pitches for their action plan projects in preparation for Pitch Day this Friday. Continue to follow along using #techwomen17!