This month marks one year since the inaugural class of TechWomen Mentees arrived in the United States. Thirty-seven emerging women leaders landed in San Francisco in June 2011 to begin a five-week journey through the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, DC. The TechWomen Mentees traveled to California from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and the Palestinian Territories. TechWomen Director Heather Ramsey reminisces, “There’s not a day that goes by this month that I am not thinking about the TechWomen who were here with us last June. They have left their mark on me, the TechWomen team and, of course, their Mentors and host companies. Fortunately, we are staying in touch and still see this past year as only the beginning of lifelong collaboration.”
TechWomen program staff retrieved each group of arriving Mentees from the San Francisco International Airport until all of the women had successfully reached their accommodations. “I think it was almost more exciting for us [the program staff] than it was for the Mentees,” recalled Lexi Curtice, TechWomen Program Associate, “The Mentees immediately recognized us from our photos and we felt an instant sense of family.”
It is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since the arrival of the 37 women who undeniably touched the lives of Mentors, fellow Mentees, and everyone involved with TechWomen. At IIESF, the TechWomen listservs and social media groups are buzzing with memories of last summer’s events. To give you a sense of the feelings surrounding this anniversary, we have collected a brief sampling of the many sentiments that have been passed around.
It is astonishing to realize a whole year has gone by since the launch of our Cohort. I am sure I speak for the other mentors – we miss all the mentees and the fun, learning and growing we did together. You have all been and continue to be such an important part of our daily thoughts and fond memories. Meeting you changed my life, and I know also had a life-time impact on the lives of the other mentors. – TechWomen Mentor
The happiest moments my heart knows are “Techwomen days”; the biggest smile my face knows gets drawn when I remember “Techwomen days” and the biggest satisfaction I feel is when I realize how our friendships have grown despite the distances. I value the friendship of every single mentee and mentor of the TechWomen family and I am indeed so lucky and blessed to have known you all. We currently share wonderful memories and I am sure with time we will share more and more. Let us, hand in hand, fortify our friendship and professionally excel my dear ladies. – TechWomen alumna Mentee from Lebanon
You all are surely in my thoughts. The TechWomen experience was unforgettable. I met extraordinary women and I hope we will continue to inspire each other (and more) in years to come. – TechWomen Mentor
June the 2nd. Does it ring a bell?! It definitely does from my side. It rings a bell of unforgettable family, unforgettable moments, and unforgettable experiences. Just like today a year ago we met, we traveled made the decision to spend a whole month and a week with people we have just met, we decided to leave everything behind for the sake of knowing and trying new things. – TechWomen alumna Mentee from Egypt
Would you like to share your TechWomen experience? We want to hear from you! If you are a member of the TechWomen family and would like to write a guest blog post, please send an email to Techwomen(at)iie.org.