Guest post by Seham Aljaafreh, 2014 Emerging Leader from Jordan
Dear future Emerging Leader,
I know very well that inner feeling that tells you are special and capable of create success. I know the barriers and difficulties that you face as a woman working in the male dominated field of STEM. I know that you deserve to be what you want to be, so that’s why I’m writing to you. I want to share one of the distinctive experiences that changed my life.
In January 2014, I applied to participated in the U.S. Department of State TechWomen program. At the time, one of the main reasons I applied was because it was one of my goals to get 30 friends from 30 different countries. Do not be surprised, I always set crazy goals so that I can enjoy achievement. I was at the top of my happiness when I got that email telling me that I was accepted to be one of 78 Emerging Leaders travelling to the San Francisco Bay Area to start working with Professional Mentors in big companies that lead the world of technology.
The first week was so motivational and inspiring for me, being with all these creative women and introducing ourselves to each other. Sharing our stories and experiences was very valuable. I realized one thing: I’m not alone, there are many like me, fighting to reach our goals.
In the second week, we started to work at our host companies and I was fortunate to be hosted by Everwise to work with my Professional Mentor Katy Dickinson, and also Mai Temraz, an Emerging Leader from the Gaza Strip, on a mentoring project. I will never forget that meeting, which was held five minutes after my arrival to the company! They started discussing the project that we will work on. I tried hard to catch some words because they were speaking fast with an accent. I know you’re laughing now. Yes, life goes quickly here, saying “Hi, nice to meet you” is enough to introduce yourself and start working!
The three of us worked on developing a series of videos to help people realize what mentoring is in a short, simple, and easy to understand manner. (You can see my video on YouTube here!) I was also involved in developing the “mentoring in a box” project, which is will assist Program Managers in designing, managing and evaluating their mentoring program successfully. This project granted me very good knowledge of mentoring. It exceeded my expectations!
I have also learned very good and hard lessons on the personal side. I have learned how to push myself to the max, racing with time to win. I also gained an understanding of how to manage my work team in Jordan successfully at a distance.
I am very thankful to all of the inspiring people who I met during this program, especially my Professional Mentor Katy and my Cultural Mentor Lucy Keoni, for all the efforts they have put to make my experience beneficial.
Confucius said “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential, these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.” If you already have these three keys, open the door to follow your dreams like me!
The 2015 TechWomen Emerging Leader application is now open! To apply, visit the eligibility and application page.
Seham is the Supervisor of Training and Development at Mutah Knowledge Station. She graduated from the University of Mutah with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems and later, an MBA. Prior to her current role, Seham was a trainer for the National Information Technology Center at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Jordan. Seham also had the honor of being named as one of the Best 100 Telecenter Directors in the World by Spark Granada in 2013. Alongside her work at Mutah Knowledge Station, she is a member of telecenter.org, an e-learning website, and helps facilitate its online academy. She is also a team leader in the Ambassadors of Arab Development association. Seham’s proudest career achievement is founding an e-learning academy website.