Editor’s note: After a social media pause, TechWomen is sharing weekly highlights from the Spring 2022 TechWomen program that began on February 23 and concluded on March 31, 2022.
IIE welcomed 108 Emerging Leaders as they arrived in the U.S. for TechWomen 2022, ready to embark on five weeks of professional development, mentorship and exchange.
In the spring 2022 hybrid program, Emerging Leaders from 20 countries will be guided and supported by nearly 300 Professional Mentors, Cultural Mentors and Impact Coaches. Through Professional Interest Groups and interactive virtual professional development workshops, Emerging Leaders will expand their networks, fulfill their learning objectives and create action plans that solve issues in their communities. After a virtual TechWomen 2020-2021, 2022’s Arrival Day was full of energy and excitement as Emerging Leaders made their journey to the U.S.
Cultural Kickoff and World Cafe
After Arrival Day, Emerging Leaders gathered online as a cohort for the first time at the Welcome Orientation, where they learned about essential program information, additional details on their mentorship and other important logistics about the spring program. At Friday’s Cultural Kickoff, Emerging Leaders had the opportunity to share their country’s cultures, engaging in cross-cultural dialogue and exchange with their fellow Emerging Leaders and the TechWomen mentor community. The event was presented in an online world café format, where each country group shared about their country and cultures in interactive, creative ways during four breakout room sessions. IIE’s Kelty Davis opened the session, speaking about the challenges that many faced during the pandemic: “
In the first breakout room sessions, Emerging Leaders from Uzbekistan gave attendees a tour of their country, traveling from Bukhara to Khiva and sharing about their history, architecture and people. Emerging Leaders from the Palestinian Territories brought attendees through a day in their lives, describing their work and family duties as well as showcasing traditions of special occasions, like the Dabke, a traditional wedding dance.
After the first breakout room sessions, the group came together for five presentations: a language lesson from Cameroon, a traditional dance lesson from Kyrgyzstan, a cooking lesson from Lebanon, a sing-along from Morocco and a lesson in tribe totems from Zimbabwe. After sharing that Cameroon is home to over 250 languages, the Emerging Leaders gave brief language lessons for their respective dialects, prompting the group to unmute themselves and practice together.
Team Lebanon gave a live cooking demo, sharing step-by-step how to make hummus and tabbouleh, two popular dishes in their country.
In the breakout rooms that followed, attendees learned about the history and culture of Libya and what regions have influenced their culture, including Italy, Niger, Chad and Sudan. Team Zimbabwe shared that their country boasts the highest adult literacy rate in Africa, and shared about their two major tribes, the Ndebele and the Shona. Tunisia spoke about their geographic diversity, sharing photos of the Sahara, their coastal cities and their mountainous regions. Rwanda spoke to their fellow Emerging Leaders and mentors about the country’s eco-friendly mission, explaining how they are leading the change by banning plastic bags. “We hope that each of you walk away knowing more about each other’s lives, each other’s backgrounds, each others values and each other’s traditions,” said Kelty. “We hope that you find commonalities that we share, and celebrate our differences.”
Impact Design Workshop
Week one concluded with the Leadership Workshop, bringing Emerging Leaders together for two sessions that focused on advancing as women leaders and better understanding individual and team strengths. Shannon Bayer of leadership development firm Linkage led the morning session, presenting on Advancing Women in Leadership.