When I walked into Twitter for the TechWomen Emerging Leaders + Mentors Event, I had no idea what I was in for. If I’m being completely honest, my mind was more focused on what wonders lie beyond Twitter’s exterior. We’re talking about one of the top Social Media Websites in the world, and I was lucky enough to go inside. I didn’t think it could get much cooler than that.
But it did. In fact it got way cooler. And it had nothing to do with the post modern furniture, the endless hashtagged signs, or the rooftop garden.
While those things were all pretty awesome, learning about the incredible work TechWomen does was by far the most memorable experience I had that day.
If you’re not already familiar with their mission, TechWomen strives to connect “emerging women leaders in technology sectors from the Middle East and North Africa together with their American counterparts for a professional mentorship and exchange program at leading companies in the United States.”
An initiative of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), TechWomen is harnessing this generation’s technological advancements to use diplomacy that creates better understanding. In addition to mentorship, TechWomen also provides professional and cultural enrichment to the Forty-one women involved in this program.
These women hail from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia and Yemen and are paired with female tech leaders in the Silicon Valley area for 5 weeks.
At the event, I got to listen to a panel of mentors and mentees about their experiences in this vital program. It was amazing to hear from such a diverse group of women about how TechWomen had impacted their lives. It’s interactions like these that are so important for our global community.
Heather Ramsey, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Institute of International Education noted “It’s these person-to-person connections that make a huge difference towards ensuring a peaceful and just world for ours and future generations,”
As Millennials come of age, we’re beginning to discover how powerful of a tool technology is. Social Media has the power to share global news with millions in a matter of seconds. The more that can access these types of tools, the stronger our international community will be.
This fact isn’t lost on Secretary Clinton, who argues that “Innovation thrives on good ideas, and women have a lot of good ideas. And we don’t want those ideas to just die.
We want them to be shared and to help others and to create businesses and jobs and improve lives. And it has a greater impact when technology has access for everyone.”
And that’s just what TechWomen is accomplishing. Women involved in these programs are initiating conversations that are absolutely vital for our future. They’re sharing their expertise in hopes of making the world a better place.
For one mentee, this program is helping her do just that.
“It was a new concept for me. But after spending time with my mentor, it was like magic. I felt I was changing from inside. I started to feel I have a loan from the community that I need to pay back.”
For the mentees, the experience was just as life changing.
“Although my workdays are packed with multiple projects and responsibilities, when I see the enthusiasm from these young women from the Middle East and North Africa, I am inspired..These emerging leaders are so energized about technology and believe in the power of innovative technologies to transform our world”
Millennial Generation take note, these are the type of programs that we should be working towards. We’re incredibly lucky to be growing up in an age where we can connect with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Let’s take advantage of these advancements and use them to create the kind of positive change that we’re looking for. We now have the tools that allow us to think big, so let’s act accordingly. Megan Emme is the New Media Coordinator at Mobilize.org and runs their blogging program, The Millennial Report. Megan is a Junior at San Francisco State University and also works as the SF Regional Coordinator for the Revolution Hunger Campaign. She hopes to pursue a career empowering young people to advocate for themselves as well as make a difference in their communities.
Megan Emme is the New Media Coordinator at Mobilize.org and runs their blogging program, The Millennial Report. Megan is a Junior at San Francisco State University and also works as the SF Regional Coordinator for the Revolution Hunger Campaign. She hopes to pursue a career empowering young people to advocate for themselves as well as make a difference in their communities.