Impact Stories from Empowering Women and Girls Policy Area
Mentor(s): Anar Simpson (mentor) and Erica Lockheimer (mentor)
Company: LinkedIn Learning, Technovation
Mentor Type: Impact, Professional
This week, TechWomen mentors Anar Simpson and Erica Lockheimer were featured speakers for the 2020 IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference, a month-long virtual series for women in technology that offers sessions, live panel discussions, virtual networking opportunities and more. Erica, a Professional Mentor, is the vice president of engineering for LinkedIn Learning. Anar, an Impact Coach and TechWomen’s strategic partnership advisor, is also a Global Ambassador for Technovation.
In their session, “Leading in Engineering,” Anar and Erica spoke about how women can optimize their network, step into leadership and support other women along the way. Erica shared both the challenges and highlights from her career, giving tips for other women on career progression and embracing leadership opportunities. They also spoke about TechWomen, reflecting on the relationships created between mentors and Emerging Leaders. “I thought I was the mentor, but I learned so much. I realized I needed to have a global impact perspective, which was so critical,” said Erica. “They’re strong connections. They’re relationships for life.”
Anar concluded their session with a call to action, encouraging participants to expand their network, lean on others and embrace their own journey: “It’s your own unique path,” said Anar. “Be true to yourself.”
Report Date...: 6/1/20
Fellow mentors Technovation team on COVID-19 mobile app
Fellow(s): Layal Zakhour
Recently, 2015 fellow Layal Zakhour helped lead the Technovation initiative in the United Arab Emirates, serving as club leader for nine teams of girls. Layal currently lives in the UAE, working for GE as a staff software architect.
Although many teams made the decision to postpone their mobile apps until next year due to COVID-19 difficulties, three teams were able to submit their projects. Layal mentored a team of 13 and 14 year old girls, teaching them the Technovation curriculum over weekly online sessions. Together, her team identified leading issues in their community and ultimately created RECOVER-19, a mobile application that connects patients in quarantine with doctors. The app allows patients to send out daily health check reports and communicate with their doctors online, aiming to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and prioritize critical cases. “Any woman can make an impact in her community. I am happy to help young girls become problem solvers in a time of crisis,” said Layal.
Report Date...: 6/1/20
Fellow and mentor collaborate for digital meetup
Fellow(s): Imene Henni Mansour, Maya Bisineer (mentor)
Country: Algeria, United States
This month, 2019 fellow Imene Henni Mansour launched Digital Meetup, a weekly virtual series meant to create a bridge between Silicon Valley and the MENA region and feature tech leaders sharing their expertise. Imene is hosting the weekly series in partnership with Innocom, a communications agency where she works as general manager.
In the debut session, Imene invited her TechWomen Professional Mentor Maya Bisineer to speak about tools, strategies and tactics businesses can use to create resiliency during the global pandemic. Maya is an entrepreneur, advisor and the director of product management at GoDaddy. In her session, Maya spoke about the value of long term thinking – focusing on the marathon, not the sprint – and how people in tech can bring a long term perspective to their businesses. She also spoke about how to build a resilient business that can flourish through hardship with an innovative and experimental mindset: “Always train hard and prepare for the unknown,” she advised.
Imene will continue to feature TechWomen mentors and fellows in Digital Meetup, working to share best practices for people in tech around the world. “I started with my mentors because they really encourage me,” she said.
Report Date...: 5/25/20
Fellow awarded Schlumberger Faculty for the Future Fellowship.
Fellow(s): Mercy Sosanya
2015 fellow Mercy Sosanya was recently named a recipient of the 2020-2021 Schlumberger Faculty for the Future Fellowship, a program that supports women from developing countries to pursue advanced graduate degrees in STEM fields at leading universities abroad.
Mercy is a nutritionist, PhD student and teaching assistant at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work focuses on improving the nutritional status of women, children and other vulnerable populations. Recently, she has been developing and evaluating a digital behavior change tool for teenage mothers in northern Nigeria that aims to both improve feeding practices as well as the nutrition status of the mothers and their young children.
The fellowship award will provide Mercy financial support for her research and allow her to continue leveraging technology to create solutions for young mothers and their children in Nigeria.
Report Date...: 5/25/20
Fellow interviewed about women in STEM fields
Fellow(s): Lamia Fikrat
This week, 2019 fellow of Morocco Lamia Fikrat was interviewed by Finances News Hebdo, a weekly newspaper in Morocco. In the article, Lamia, an executive manager and strategy consultant, discusses the landscape for women in STEM in Morocco and shares advice for women leaders.
Despite women playing a vital role in STEM throughout Morocco, Lamia believes they remain mostly invisible: “…it is still rare to see a woman praised for her professional success. Yet women undeniably contribute to the development of our country,” she says. In addition to her work as a consultant, Lamia mentors and supports women entrepreneurs, advocating for greater visibility of women in STEM fields. “I invite women STEM leaders to be more visible and sponsor the women and girls around them: push them, support them and celebrate their successes,” she says.
Report Date...: 5/25/20
Daily Nation recognizes fellow for leadership in education
Fellow(s): Linah Anyango
This week, 2019 fellow Linah Anyango was featured in a Daily Nation story that highlighted her efforts to educate Kenya’s students during the coronavirus pandemic. Linah is a teacher and the head of the science department at a secondary school in Mombasa, and also trains educators on bringing digital literacy and STEM mentorship for girls to their classrooms.
Over the last few months, Linah has mobilized over 65 teachers to support students whose education was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The educators – teachers in biology, chemistry, math and physics from multiple countries – have been working together to prepare engaging STEM lessons that they deliver during daily Zoom classes. Linah releases each week’s curriculum in advance, sharing links for students who want to participate in the Monday to Saturday lessons. Each class, open to as many as 300 students, has 15 teachers present who assign lessons and grade students’ work. So far, the initiative has reached over 1,200 students. Linah, who recently delivered a webinar for teachers on addressing education inequalities, says that COVID-19 has further exposed unequal access to learning opportunities. Her weekly lessons, however, have been able to reach students in remote and rural areas: those who don’t have personal devices have implemented social distancing meet-ups in churches and local community spaces, learning together on a projector.
Report Date...: 5/18/20
Fellow lists seven tips for girls interested in STEM
Fellow(s): Ghada Amin
This month, 2018 fellow Ghada Amin created a YouTube video to share tips, advice and inspiration for TechGirls participants. In “7 tips to select your STEM field,” Ghada, an environmental engineer, lists her best practices for finding a career, seeking mentorship and succeeding in STEM.
In her first tip, Ghada tells girls to begin with their passion – something they currently love to study – and turn it into a career. “You may get tired, but you won’t get bored,” she says. Ghada also urges girls to be adaptive, explaining that by creating more than one plan for their future, they are ensuring their success no matter what. Ghada also speaks about the importance of persistence, as many girls face gender discrimination within STEM fields. Finding a mentor, Ghada says, will help them overcome challenges. Ghada’s final tip is to believe in yourself and always choose what is right over what is easy. “You can be the first in a male-dominated field,” she says. “Don’t let being outnumbered make you change your mind. And congratulations in advance – you will be a pioneer.”
Report Date...: 5/18/20
Fellow shares exchange experience with U.S. alumni network
Fellow(s): Mahina Usmonova
This week, 2016 fellow Mahina Usmonova was invited to reflect on her TechWomen experience in a feature for the U.S. Alumni Network of Tajikistan, a group supported by the U.S. Embassy that brings together U.S. exchange program alumni to share expertise, collaborate and help solve social and economic issues in Tajikistan.
In the post, Mahina speaks about her journey to TechWomen, from finding out she was selected to her mentorship at Mozilla. Although Mahina knew that TechWomen would support her professional goals, she also found a new network of friends, allies and supporters who inspired her to invest in the next generation. “Participating in the Techwomen program has opened up many opportunities to grow and develop,” she says. “I have never wanted to be successful; the main thing for me is to give a feeling of success to others.” In addition to her work as a senior lecturer at the Polytechnic Institute of Tajik Technical University, Mahina is a mentor for the Technovation program as well as a member of the TechWomen/TechGirls Club in Tajikistan.
Report Date...: 5/18/20
Fellow honored at With and For Girls Awards
Fellow(s): Fellow honored at With and For Girls Awards
Recently, 2017 fellow Carolyn Seaman was recognized for her work as a leader, educator and advocate for girls’ rights. Carolyn is the founder of Girls Voices, an initiative that trains and empowers adolescent girls in human rights, STEM skills and leadership. Girls Voices has reached over 300,000 girls through their programs, and has collaborated with the UN to create policies that seek to end child marriage, violence against women and human trafficking.
The awards ceremony, held this March in London by With and For Girls, honored 25 leaders of extraordinary girl-led and girl-centered initiatives. Girls Voices was recognized for promoting a girls’ rights movement in Nigeria and mobilizing girls to learn about their rights in order to positively affect their communities and contribute to national policy.
Report Date...: 5/11/20
Fellow featured for mentoring girls in STEM
Fellow(s): Ruth Kaveke
2017 fellow Ruth Kaveke, founder of Pwani Teknowgalz, was featured in a recent article from Impacthub Media, a platform that features changemakers who are solving the challenges facing Africa and the world.
In “Shining Hope for Girls in Science & Technology,” Ruth shares her story of being raised by a single mother who pushed her to value education, as well as the challenges she faced as a woman often outnumbered by men in her school courses. Ruth also speaks about her work and impact as the founder of Pwani Teknowgalz, her organization that has empowered over 5,000 girls through STEM education. “It is hard for someone to join a career that they do not have someone to relate to,” Ruth says. “By women mentoring and being role models, I am confident more girls will pursue STEM careers.” Recently, Ruth has offered free tech skill training to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a class on website-building using WordPress.com.
Report Date...: 5/4/20