U.S. Embassy Briefing
The second day of the TechWomen delegation trip kicked off with a morning briefing by the U.S. Embassy in Egypt, where the group heard from representatives of the Public Affairs and Cultural Section, the Press Section, the Political Section and the Economic Section. As one of the largest U.S. embassies in the world, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo maintains an active social media presence, reaching more than one million followers on Facebook, with most of those followers being under the age of 35. During the briefing, the group learned about the embassy’s initiatives to support the Egyptian public, including through English language programs, cultural programming, technical training programs and grant opportunities to support Egyptian arts and cultural heritage preservation.
The Power of Mentorship
The afternoon continued at the embassy with programming focused on the power of mentorship. TechWomen mentor Katy Dickinson opened the afternoon with a TED-style talk called “Why Mentorship Matters” where she spoke about how important mentorship can be for both the mentors and the mentees. According to Katy, “mentorship is a gift of the heart” that “gives [mentors] the opportunity to give back, to pay it forward.”
Following the talk, Katy invited fellow mentors Julia Lovin and Teresa Williams and 2017 fellow of Lebanon Lara Chikhani to come forward for a panel discussion about the power of mentorship. When asked what makes a successful mentor/mentee relationship, Julia responded that “a mentor isn’t always going to agree with everything you say, but they’re going to have your best interests at heart.”
In addition to TechWomen mentors and fellows, the audience for Katy’s TED-style talk and the following panel discussion included Egyptian students and young professionals pursuing STEM careers. Following the discussion, the students and young professionals were invited to stay for speed mentoring sessions with members of the delegation group.
Facebook Live Panel Discussion
At the end of the day, most members of the delegation group met with U.S. embassy staff for an informal networking session, while four mentors and one fellow joined the embassy’s social media team for a video interview about women in STEM in Silicon Valley. The panelists included:
- Rima Akras, LinkedIn
- Wendy Holforty, NASA
- Diana Macias, Twitter
- Lizz Noonan, Mozilla
- Moderator: Nermin Salah, 2013 fellow of Egypt
The embassy broadcast the interview on Facebook Live, drawing in more than 2,000 viewers as it aired, and as of the date of this blog post, the video has been watched nearly 7,000 times. The women shared about their experiences as STEM professionals and their personal career trajectories, as well as advice for Egyptian women entering the STEM fields. When asked what advice they would give to young women pursuing careers in STEM, Rima encouraged them to “embrace change,” while Diana advised them to challenge themselves, reminding them that “it’s OK to be uncomfortable.”
Continue following the delegation trip activities at #TWegypt!