Guest post by Sara Issam Abou Hassan, 2020-2021 fellow of Lebanon
My father used to tell me a story in my childhood about an eagle — that its surroundings were trying to make it believe that it was nothing but a pigeon. They cut its wings so it would not recognize its strength. But an eagle is strong by nature regardless of any restrictions or limitations. Women in our society have the same situation as that eagle, but also just like the strong eagle — which at any time can spread its wings and fly so high, and no one can prevent it — women can fight and achieve all their ambitions.
From a small village in mount Lebanon to Silicon Valley
I remember when I chose computer science as my major to study at the university, as I was fascinated about how fast the internet was able to change people’s lives. Recalling that time, I didn’t have my own computer and I had to spend much time in the university lab to finish my studies. Now when I think of all that I have already accomplished, I feel so proud and grateful for every person who gave me a hand and assisted me in my life even with a simple motivation to take another step forward. My experience with TechWomen was not only a single step forward, it was a career leap.
I believe in the truth of the quote: “Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back,” and this tribe of amazing women gave all their support to make our dreams come true, help us connect and grow our careers.
Short period with a lot to learn
The best part of the program was the mentorship experience when I was matched with my mentor Dimah Zaidalkilani, who is a product manager at Github. To have a mentor from a leading and well-established technology company like Github was a dream come true for me as a person with a technical background who has been in the technology sector for many years.
The challenge started when, within a short period of time, I had to learn how to focus on Lebanon’s action plan project, Fadfedi, and make sure that I was following the best practices to run it. Simultaneously, as much as I could, I was joining meetings and shadowing my mentor. My mentor, who is an extraordinarily nice woman, was very touched with the mission behind Fadfedi.
She wanted to give as much help as she could. She connected me with many of Github product managers and technical leads, and walked me through the steps to become a successful product manager. Moreover, we had set a list of goals that I needed to achieve. The Github team was amazing and very helpful to me. With their ideas and support, I was able to gain very valuable knowledge even in a short period of time.
Sara Issam Abou Hassan was born and raised in a small village called Baadaran El Chuf during the Lebanese civil war. In high school, she was passionate about technology, so she selected computer science as a major. She worked for several years as a quality assurance engineer, and co-founded The Quality Assurance Community of Lebanon that aims to educate fresh graduates, young professionals and startups on quality assurance best practices.