On October 18, Emerging Leaders and more than 60 mentors traveled from the San Francisco Bay Area to Washington, DC for the final days of the #TechWomen17 program. The final four days of programming were devoted to wrap-up sessions and discussing ways in which the Emerging Leaders can continue to carry the spirit and mission of the TechWomen program with them upon returning to their homes and their careers.
Thursday, October 19
On the first program day in DC, the Emerging Leaders spent the morning at the World Bank, where they heard from a panel of international experts in gender and women’s economic empowerment. The panel was organized by the UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment and included the following speakers:
- Caren Grown, Senior Director for Gender, World Bank Group and member of UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Komal Mohindra, Senior Private Sector Specialist, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, World Bank Group
- Elizabeth Vazquez, President, CEO, and Co-Founder of WEConnect and member of UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment
- Gwen Young, Director, Global Women’s Leadership Initiative, Wilson Center
- Moderator: Anar Simpson, TechWomen mentor, Technovation Global Ambassador and member of UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment
During the panel, the Emerging Leaders were encouraged to be storytellers and to connect with others to find a collective solution to bridge the gender gap in tech.
While Emerging Leaders were at the World Bank, mentors were invited to the U.S. Department of State for a roundtable discussion on public-private partnerships. Speakers included Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Chris Miner and staff from ECA’s Public Private Partnership Unit.
Emerging Leaders and mentors reconnected at the U.S. Department of State after lunch for breakout discussions with Department of State subject matter experts working on women’s issues and science and technology, as well as regional issues. Breakout discussions were led by Aldriana Leung and Chase Ballinger from the Office of Global Women’s Issues, Dr. LaShauna Evans from the Office of the Science and Technology Advisor and Claire Ruffing from the Office of Science and Technology Cooperation, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. In addition to learning about the work being done by the panelists, Emerging Leaders received advice on ways to engage with the U.S. embassies in their home countries.
The first day of the DC program concluded with a networking reception hosted at Symantec‘s local office with the Women’s High Tech Coalition, an organization that promotes the exchange of ideas among leaders in the public and private sectors with a focus on technology, innovation and the development of public policy related to technology.
Friday, October 20
On Friday, the U.S. Department of State hosted a closing luncheon for the TechWomen program in the historic Benjamin Franklin Diplomatic Reception Room. The lunch included a keynote address from Dr. Gale Allen, Acting Chief Scientist at NASA, and a welcome from Alyson Grunder, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. Jaye Chen, Executive Vice President of IIE, also joined the luncheon.
Following the luncheon, the U.S. Department of State hosted an inter-agency panel on women in STEM moderated by Dr. LaShauna Evans. The panelists included:
- Rebecca Keiser, Director of International Science and Engineering, National Science Foundation
- Andrea Razzaghi, Astrophysics Division Deputy Director, NASA
- AnneMarie Horowitz, Management Analyst, Office of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy
The panelists shared about their professional journeys as women in STEM and discussed the programs in which their government agencies are involved.
Emerging Leaders also learned how to remain engaged with the Department of State after the conclusion of the 2017 TechWomen program and were then were presented with certificates acknowledging their successful participation in the TechWomen program.
The evening ended with a scavenger hunt on and around the National Mall and a competition to take the most creative photos.
Saturday, October 21
On Saturday, Emerging Leaders met with Birgit Debeerst, Associate Director for Outreach and Internationalization at George Mason University, for a re-entry workshop. During the session, Emerging Leaders collectively identified and discussed the potential challenges in returning home after their TechWomen experience, how to overcome those challenges and how to integrate all that they learned into their professional and personal lives back home. The rest of the day was theirs to explore the city and take in all the cultural and historical attractions Washington, DC has to offer.
Sunday, October 22
On the final day of the program, Emerging Leaders and mentors gathered at the Georgetown waterfront for a farewell dinner to say goodbye, share memories and celebrate a wonderful five weeks together. Several of the Emerging Leaders had the chance to speak about what the program has meant to them, including Dhelal Shorman of Jordan, who shared these powerful words: “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself. TechWomen inspired me to create myself.”
As we bid farewell to the 2017 Emerging Leaders, we are excited to see the many ways in which they will continue to create not only themselves, but also inspire others to do so as well. Congratulations to all of the new TechWomen alumnae!
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