Guest post by Safaa Boubia, 2018 Emerging Leader of Morocco
Editor’s note: Safaa Boubia’s guest post is part of a new series, Emerging Leader Voices, which invites TechWomen Emerging Leaders to share their voice, perspective and experiences with the TechWomen community.
How it started
Ten years ago, when I was a student working on my master’s degree in international management, I would never have predicted that I would become a part of TechWomen – but here I am! So, was it hard work or circumstances? Or a mix of both? At the end of the day, it led me to where and who I am now: a web strategy consultant and a 2018 Emerging Leader.
My journey into IT started when my geeky, technological-mastermind brother and I co-founded a web agency in 2012. Along the way, I became increasingly passionate about development and learning code (thanks to web tutorials), and soon I found myself drawing customized solutions for web projects as I mixed my web experience with my educational background. I was also seizing every opportunity to network and attend IT-related conferences and meetings, catching the newest innovative ideas along the way. This eventually put a TechWomen fellow in my path who strongly encouraged me to apply to the TechWomen program.
IT & culture
Aside from my web consulting work, I am also a co-founder of Houna, a collaborative platform that seeks to change society through design and culture. Houna encourages free access, supporting everyone to be an actor in cultural, economic and social development. In this social enterprise, I step in to advocate for increased collaboration between technology and social good. I find it a pity that social and cultural workers do not give much consideration to IT solutions; IT can save them money and is a great tool to innovate their work process and better their outcomes.
An example of tech and social/cultural collaboration is the most recent work I conducted with my friends at Houna during the WeAreMuseums forum last May in Marrakech, Morocco. It was an all-day workshop entitled “Tech Loves Culture” that began by showcasing the work of IT startups who offer culturally appropriate solutions that help improve the visitor experience, mediating and interacting with art. Our objective was to involve cultural actors with startups founders to co-create new and innovative models for exhibitions. After six hours of intense design thinking workshops, ideation and creation, cultural actors and tech entrepreneurs created pretty cool ideas that could be developed in the future. For instance, they drew a preliminary map for an augmented reality app for Morocco’s traditional carpet, the Boucharouite, that would work as an interactive learning tool for museums visitors: they could learn about the history behind each carpet, the Berber symbols’ meaning, weaving technique and most of all, have fun!
And here comes Techwomen
The TechWomen experience could not happen in a better moment for my professional career and personal goals. I am eager to design the next app that provides solutions for cultural and social challenges. Being in the place where disruptive technologies are being created, I want to gain deep insight into machine learning and AI technology so I can impact people’s lives and create cultural projects that go beyond physical limitations or borders.
San Francisco, I can’t wait!
Safaa is passionate about innovation, design and the internet. After studying international management at the Toulouse School of Management and working in various job between Toulouse, Brussels and Casablanca, she left the wage-earning world six years ago to manage the e-commerce agency Numeric Way in Casablanca. Currently, Safaa splits her time between her entrepreneurial consultancy work as a web strategist and her work as the head of communication and chief coordinator at Houna, a collaborative platform she co-founded that aims to promote culture, design and the creative economy in Morocco. While in TechWomen, Safaa will be hosted by PayPal.