The third week of the 5-week TechWomen 2023 program was filled with dynamic and profound mentorship experiences for Emerging Leaders. This week was all about diving into mentorship, as the participants engaged with their dedicated Professional Mentors (PMs), Cultural Mentors (CMs), and Impact Coaches (ICs).
They began with an Impact Coach Speed Mentoring session hosted at Robust Intelligence in San Francisco and Workbox in Chicago. During the first Speed Mentoring session, Emerging Leaders collaborated within their country teams to narrow the focus of the socioeconomic challenges that they aimed to address through their impact project designs, which would eventually be presented at the annual TechWomen Pitch Day.
“When you speak about your idea, you get to excited over and over again,” explained Daiana Alymbaeva of Kyrgyzstan. “For us, it was super impactful because we did four rounds and we have four different things to think about now. It was something new.”
“I think one of the main challenges is that it’s such a small time frame to tackle a big, important issue,” illuminated Impact Coach Cindy Cooley during the event. “I think breaking down the steps within the impact project is one of the most important things. Secondly,” she continued, “is leveraging each individual’s strengths to bring together a holistic team.”
Under the virtual guidance of Eileen Brewer, the Emerging Leaders next undertook the Pitch Workshop, where they learned the art of designing and delivering a compelling pitch. They also worked on refining their impact projects and outlined the framework for their upcoming pitches.
Soon after, the Emerging Leaders had the opportunity to participate in an optional workshop titled ‘Three Secrets to Successful Presentation,’ a workshop was led by a communications skills coach Mayla Clark, who shared insights from her over 25 years of experience in the corporate, university and non-profit sectors.
Throughout the week, as Emerging Leaders delved into project planning, they also nurtured their relationships with professional and cultural mentors. Mentors led field visits, lab walk-throughs, and office visits, offering valuable opportunities for participants to network and gain practical insights.
“I have been fortunate enough to be placed at Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the primary utility company for the state of California,” shared Sally Musonye of Kenya. “There I have three passionate professional mentors who are guiding me in the business of what they do, and are able to relate it to what I am doing back home.”
To wrap up the week, the Emerging Leaders engaged in their second and final Impact Coach Speed Mentoring workshop with their Impact Coaches and the IIE team, where they once again practiced their refined pitches for rotating audiences. This was their last official impact coaching event before a weekend of much practice and preparation. They would all have their moments on the Pitch Day stages in Chicago and San Francisco the following Monday, October 16, where they finally presented the fruits of their labor and compete for five $3,000 USD seed grant awards to help launch their projects.