Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellow speaks to club about her petroleum industry career
Fellow(s): Amina Salesse
2020-2021 fellow Amina Salesse was a featured speaker at the University of Boumerdès in celebration of International Women’s Day, addressing students from the University’s Petroleum Club. Amina is a petroleum engineer as well as an operation support engineer for SPA Smartest Algeria. Amina, who attended the university for both her undergraduate and master’s degrees, spoke about her journey in the oil in gas industry and shared her experience as a woman in a male-dominated field. Amina outlined the diverse skills required for her industry, ranging from engineering to HR experience. “There is no specific career path for a newly graduated engineer,” Amina said. “It depends on each person’s ambition, interest, skills, personality and perspective.” Amina also spoke about her TechWomen experience, encouraging the students to connect with the U.S. Embassy Algiers to learn about exchange programs that can facilitate their professional development and connect them to mentors. “I also shared about the stereotypes that stop women from being part of this industry, that we do have brave women who have chosen to make a career in the oil and gas industry and that they are doing incredibly well,” she said.
Report Date...: 4/4/2022
TechWomen 2022 came to a close this week at the Farewell Lunch, where 109 women leaders became fellows. Angela Woods and Chris Miner of the U.S. Department of State joined the event, officially welcoming the new fellows as exchange program alumni. The week leading up to the Farewell Lunch included Pitch Day, an #IamRemarkable workshop and a Capstone event. At the final event, the Community Celebration, fellows and mentors came together to celebrate the hard work, impact and connections made over five weeks. There, TechWomen director Katie Zee announced this year’s five seed grant winning teams that will receive a small grant to implement their country team’s action plan project. This year’s winning teams are:
➢ Team Kyrgyzstan and their platform Kamkor, a portal that seeks to support working moms by connecting them to childcare.
➢ Team Lebanon and their initiative, Taqa, a project that provides businesses access to long-term renewable energy solutions amidst the economic crisis exacerbated by the Beirut Blast.
➢ Team Nigeria and their project, The Walk To Water, an impact initiative offering solar-powered water systems to create access to safe water in the Niger Delta.
➢ Team Sierra Leone who will tackle the country’s waste management crisis by connecting plastic waste collectors and waste recycling companies.
➢ Team Zimbabwe and FOCUS (Feed Our Children Using STEM), an initiative that will enable children in orphanages to grow nutritious food using aquaponics.
Report Date...: 3/28/22
Fellow moderates panel with Iraqi female founders
Fellow(s): Shahrazad Shehab
2019 fellow Shahrazad Shehab moderated a panel on women and entrepreneurship in Iraq, inviting three Iraqi female founders to share lessons and successes from their businesses in celebration of International Women’s Day. The talk was hosted by Takween Accelerator, the first accelerator in Iraq that supports local startups. The accelerator is based at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. Shahrazad, an entrepreneur and Takween Accelerator’s startup accelerator trainer, first became involved when TechWomen mentor Eileen Brewer, then the accelerator’s director, invited her to serve as a mentor for an event. During the panel, the founders introduced their businesses, the problems they are solving and what motivates them as entrepreneurs. They also spoke about key elements that drive an entrepreneurial spirit: creativity, continuous learning and a commitment to help their communities. “I believe that passion is very important when any person wants to start a business,” said Shahrazad. “Being passionate about you’re doing drives success. I believe solving a problem and making the world a better place is what every entrepreneur should think about.”Read More »
Report Date...: 3/28/2022
Fellow featured for being an automotive industry trailblazer
Fellow(s): Oduwa Agboneni
2019 fellow Oduwa Agboneni was featured in a spotlight from United Bank of Africa, highlighted for her work as an entrepreneur, mechanical engineer and founder of Nenis Auto Care, an auto garage with a mission to empower women and girls in Nigeria. In addition to founding Nenis Auto Care, Oduwa established Nenis E-Learning Hub where she hosts courses on electric vehicles and trains women with essential skills like changing a tire and checking a car battery. Nenis Auto Care also works with the University of Lagos to host its women engineering students for hands-on internships, and, in 2019, Oduwa created Girls Auto Squad, an automotive training program that addresses the skills shortage and gender gap in the Nigerian automotive industry through empowering underserved girls. “There are very few women in this field because of lack of interest due to societal beliefs that it’s a man’s world,” Oduwa said in the feature. “I’ve tried as much as possible to encourage females…there’s a pride that comes with this field. It comes with respect; it comes with dignity…ladies should not be cut off from benefiting from the automotive industry.”Read More »
Report Date...: 3/28/22
Emerging leaders entered week four of TechWomen with new skills and enhanced networks, ready to apply their learnings towards fulfilling their mentorship goals and finalizing their action plan projects. At Action Plan Workshop 3, Emerging Leaders were led by longtime TechWomen mentor Eileen Brewer through a comprehensive pitch training and practice session. There, Eileen explained the six key elements of an impactful pitch – Problem, Solution, Launch, Growth, Sustainability and Team – and in the breakout rooms that followed, Emerging Leaders and Impact Coaches reviewed what they learned and began to develop strategies for a successful pitch. At the end of the session, Eileen reminded the Emerging Leaders to enter Pitch Day feeling confident and empowered: “Don’t pause, don’t apologize, don’t backtrack,” she said. “Take a breath and keep on going when you’ve made a mistake.” At the following week’s Inclusive Leadership Workshop, YSC Consulting facilitators spoke about equity and conscious inclusion in a session where Emerging Leaders were encouraged to share and engage freely in a judgment-free space. At Volunteer Day, Emerging Leaders gave back to the community through volunteering at Bay Area initiatives. Through helping seniors at the Community Technology Network, assembling STEM kits with Resource Area For Teaching, packing donation boxes at Community Impact Lab or planting in a community garden, Emerging Leaders had an opportunity to learn about community needs in the Bay Area and the organizations that are dedicated to creating solutions.
Report Date...: 3/21/2022
TechWomen alumnae support Technovation Turkmenistan
Fellow(s): Maral Hudaybergenova, Radha Basu, Eileen Brewer, Janice Campbell, Erin Keeley, Cora Lam, Zulya Achilova, Zeenat Anjum, Ozoda Ismailova, Sitora Salaeva
Country: Pakistan, Turkmenistan, United States, Uzbekistan
Cohort: 2016, 2018, 2019
2018 fellow of Turkmenistan Maral Hudaybergenova recently brought together the TechWomen community to help girls from Technovation Turkmenistan build their confidence, refine their pitches and prepare for Technovation’s global technology competition. Maral, the chapter ambassador for Technovation, launched the first season of the program in Turkmenistan last year. This month she organized a Live Speed Mentoring event, bringing in mentors Radha Basu, Eileen Brewer, Janice Campbell, Erin Keeley and Cora Lam as well as 2019 fellow of Turkmenistan Zulya Achilova, 2019 fellow of Pakistan Zeenat Anjum and fellows of Uzbekistan Ozoda Ismailova (2016) and Sitora Salaeva (2019) to serve as mentors. Together, the fellows, mentors and other supporters met with the Technovation Turkmenistan girls, helping them with their projects that aim to use technology to address leading issues in their communities. 18 teams of girls ages eight to 18 had the opportunity practice pitching their projects to the mentors and gather feedback on their projects and pitch delivery.
Report Date...: 3/21/2022
After laying the groundwork for both mentorship and action planning in week two, week three of TechWomen was all about diving deeper: Emerging Leaders took action to fulfill their mentorship goals and objectives, worked together to create impactful projects and learned alongside their Professional Interest Groups. Where Action Plan Workshop 1 set the stage for defining an issue and optimizing teamwork and collaboration, week three’s Action Plan 2 moved Emerging Leaders into designing a solution, creating a clear social impact statement and carving a more defined path forward. After sharing out their progress with the wider cohort, Emerging Leaders and Impact Coaches spent the remainder of the session in speed mentoring, where Impact Coaches visited other teams’ breakout rooms for 20-minute feedback sessions. Emerging Leaders also continued to engage in their professional mentorships in week three, working alongside their mentors to fulfill their professional goals. Fatma Telib of Egypt, an entrepreneur who is working with mentors at GoDaddy, has gained exposure to best practices and new networks: “I’ve met with people from all nationalities and cultures, working in harmony. I feel inclusion, and I feel belonging. That’s what I love,” she said. Leonida Soi of Kenya, a computer science teacher, is being mentored by Kathy Giori of ZEDEDA who has shown Leonida how to use MicroBlocks to introduce kids to coding and hardware components. Together, they have begun working with one of MicroBlocks’ program developers to translate it into Swahili.
Report Date...: 3/14/2022
fellow shares passion for uplifting women and girls, In interview fellow shares passion for uplifting women and girls
Fellow(s): Joy Makumbe
2015 fellow Joy Makumbe was featured in Harare-based newspaper The Sunday Mail, interviewed about her passion for engineering and her commitment to bringing more women and girls into the field. Joy, a civil and water engineer and project manager, recently published Tech Girl Diaries, a book that chronicles her personal and professional journey in STEM. Through a series of essays, Joy shares lessons and practical advice on how parents, communities and workplaces can support girls and women on their STEM journeys and work together towards addressing the gender imbalance in STEM fields.
In the interview, Joy spoke about her hope for women and girls: “My vision to see more women in Africa take up positions of impact and influence in the engineering and science fields led me to start the Joy Makumbe Trust…a trust dedicated to empowering women with entrepreneurial skills and career guidance.” She also spoke about her role as secretary for the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities, sharing her projects that will house Zimbabweans in need.
Report Date...: 3/14/2022
Mentor(s): ELs begin mentorship and action planning in week two
After an active week of cultural exchange and professional development workshops, Emerging Leaders were eager to explore all the Bay Area has to offer alongside Cultural Mentors, their cultural ambassadors to the Bay Area. Whether it was a visit to the Academy of Sciences, a tour of Tesla, attending panels with industry leaders at a Bloomberg event or sightseeing around the Painted Ladies, Emerging Leaders and mentors learned about Bay Area culture, and one another, before a busy week ahead. Week two kicked-off with the first meeting of Professional Interest Groups, small groups of Emerging Leaders with common professional interests that are guided by mentors. Through the groups — themed on a variety of fields such as digital media, edtech, green tech, engineering, biotech and health sciences, AI and machine learning and more — Emerging Leaders and their mentors will share learnings from their professional mentorship experience, exchange resources and engage in conversations relevant to their fields of interest. Emerging Leaders also began learning alongside their Professional Mentors, beginning to work on their goals and learning objectives. The week concluded at Action Plan Workshop 1, where Emerging Leaders came together as country teams to lay the groundwork for their social impact projects. With facilitation from Susie Kelleher of YSC Consulting, country teams began to think strategically about their action plan, a project that will address a socioeconomic issue in their home country. By the end of the day, many country teams had laid the groundwork for their project’s mission and goals and had learned more about team strengths, collaboration and how to maximize their impact.
Report Date...: 3/7/2022
In TEDx talk fellow speaks about African innovation
Fellow(s): Sharon Telewa
2018 fellow Sharon Telewa was a speaker at TEDxKassel, presenting on the “rise and rise” of technology in the African ecosystem. The TEDx event was themed on “New Realities,” exploring the interplay between society and technology. Sharon, an innovation and business development manager, is currently based in Germany. She began her talk speaking about her education, culture and family, using her own story to dispel common stereotypes of Africa and the African people. She then explored her roles at Safaricom, Andela and Kenya Flying Labs, using her career experience to communicate the ways in which the innovation and technology ecosystem in Africa can be better supported: by strengthening education systems, supporting digital transformation in rural areas and investing in African startups. Sharon also introduced Jedimu Elimu Trust, the initiative she founded that supports local schools with STEM resources, builds digital literacy through training and offers economic empowerment opportunities. “I believe that I can make a difference for my home village and for surrounding villages,” Sharon said. “We’re a small organization with big dreams.”Read More »
Report Date...: 3/7/2022