On day three of the delegation trip, the group visited the GrEEK Campus, the first technology and innovation park in the heart of Cairo that houses both local startups and international companies such as Microsoft, Uber and PwC. Formerly home to the American University of Cairo, the GrEEK Campus is now a center for technology entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and creative people to meet, showcase their ideas and work together to create homegrown technology businesses.
Delegation activities taking place at the GrEEK Campus were hosted in collaboration with Microsoft.
Resilient Women: Workshops with Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship
Following the welcome, mentors Wendy Holforty, Lizz Noonan and Teresa Zhang delivered lightning talks (three to four minute presentations) on topics concerning women in STEM. Wendy’s talk focused on finding your “why,” meaning the purpose or cause that inspires you into action. Lizz’s talk tackled the topic of imposter syndrome, the fear that your success was undeserved and that you will eventually be found out as a fraud, which can hold people back from asking for promotions, seeking stretch assignments or pursuing new opportunities. Teresa spoke about resilience in entrepreneurship, stressing the importance of lifelong learning and fighting against the fear of failure.
The morning concluded with four concurrent workshops, each led by a different mentor, and the audience divided into four groups to attend the session of their choosing. The workshops were:
- Feminine Leadership: Leading as a strong woman with Cathy Simpson, Agile Learning Labs
- Claiming Your Worth: Powerful negotiations with Julia Lovin, Prysm
- Creating Your Personal Brand with Lisa Ramirez, technology marketing executive
- Addressing the Gender Gap: A recruiter’s perspective with Rima Akras, LinkedIn
Pitch Practice and Speed Geek Sessions
After a networking lunch, the group was joined by young entrepreneurs and young professionals to learn about pitching their startup ideas. The guests were welcomed by Reham Nasser, 2011 fellow of Egypt, who provided them with an overview of the TechWomen program from it’s inaugural year to the present.
Following the introduction, mentor Rekha Pai-Kamath delivered a keynote presentation about how to give an effective investment pitch. She highlighted the importance of telling the story behind the idea, emphasizing that being passionate is what makes you memorable, being specific is what makes you credible and being relevant is what makes you investable. She also advised the audience to be authentic in their delivery. Four local women entrepreneurs were then invited forward to practice their pitches in front of the audience.
The afternoon program concluded with speed mentoring sessions where audience members sat with TechWomen mentors and fellows in ten minute rotations to get advice on their startup ideas and their careers. After several speed mentoring rounds, mentor Rebecca Biswas delivered the closing remarks.
Girls in STEM Career Fair
For their final activity of the day, the group departed from the GrEEK campus and traveled to Mentor Graphics, the workplace of Ghada Bahig, 2011 fellow of Egypt, for a Girls in STEM career fair. Ghada welcomed the audience of about 45 middle school girls who were interested in a broad range of STEM fields, from chemistry and engineering to marine biology and robotics. Nancy Talbot, TechWomen Program Officer at the U.S. Department of State, then provided an introduction to the TechWomen program and the concept of “people to people diplomacy.”
The program then kicked off with four more lightning talks, this time focused on individual paths to technology careers. Teresa Williams spoke about her unique path from dancer to chemist, crediting a female science teacher with inspiring her to pursue a career in science. Wendy Holforty delivered her second lightning talk of the day, telling the girls about how she became “quite literally a rocket scientist” and stressing that only their attitude can determine their altitude. Teresa Zhang also delivered her second lightning talk of the day, this time about the variety and diversity of career options for people in engineering. Erin Keeley closed out the lightning talks with a discussion about the importance of education, saying that “education is something no one can take away from you. No matter what, you will always have it.”
Sabine El Kahi, 2014 fellow of Lebanon, then introduced three hands-on activities for the girls to increase their knowledge of and engagement with technology. The activities were developed by Kids Genius, an organization founded by Sabine to introduce the young generation to new technologies and inspire their creativity.
Mentors and fellows spread out across the three stations to help the girls with the activities, which included an electrochemical station, an activity about motors and generating electricity and an activity about transforming potential to kinetic energy.
Continue following the delegation trip activities at #TWegypt!