30 tips for getting the most out of a TechWomen experience

100 women leaders from the 20 participating countries. I honored to be part of Palestine Team that been awarded to attend the TechWomen 2018 program.

The 2018 TechWomen is completed in San Francisco & Mountain View. through 5 weeks of planned activities and events where we got lots of opportunities to both share and learn. After all, I realize that the whole point of TechWomen for us is becoming true pioneers in the STEM fields and become role models for girls back in our home country. The program is an initiative of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and since its launch in 2011, it has been an incredible success, having brought hundreds of women to Silicon Valley as a part of the program.

During the 5-week mentorship program, we the Emerging leaders (ELs) meet up with technical professionals in Silicon Valley and work in teams to craft and pitch new business ideas as well as initiatives that can have lasting and positive social impacts. The eligibility requirements for application and then further narrowing down from applicants is performed with the aim of selecting the best in emerging women leaders that the participating countries have to offer. The idea is that these 100 women will take the skills and exposure gained during the program back to their countries to create and generate positive local influences and benefits.

So, what is the need for something like TechWomen to exist?

The facts are that the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have traditionally always attracted more male than female scholars, be it at any academic level. We can see this huge difference of interests between the two genders as early as a secondary school. We see this difference of interests greatly magnified when we look at university applications where we see STEM disciplines dominated by male applicants.

TechWomen is More Than Just a 5 Week mentorship program!

Although 5 weeks is the duration of the visit for each of us (100 Els) that arrive from their home countries, the TechWomen initiative extends far beyond that. The links and networks that these women form during this time play an influential role in encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers. After the program, mentors and emerging leaders often have the chance to reconnect during delegation trips to the developing countries. The partnerships formed are strengthened over time and with the help of the former participant’s women and girls around the world are enabled and encouraged to reach their full potential in the tech industry.

The innovative approach it adopts to empower us (female leaders)to creates unique partnerships between the state, private sector, and local communities. The program also engages corporate partners and in-country communities to form partnerships that serve their lasting purpose to advance women in tech globally.

How It Is Done?

For a first, the program provides us with access to networks, resources, and knowledge that empowers to reach our full potential. we engage in project-based mentorships at the big names of the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay Area. This year’s list of the 34 host companies includes names like Twitter, Salesforce, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, Twitch, and my hosted company Synopsys ( my new Family ) and many more. At these companies, we engage take part in professional development workshops and networking events. Later on, towards the end of the program, we also travel to Washington DC where targeted meetings take place and special events finally conclude the program.

When the program finally comes to an end after five weeks the emerging leaders will now have fully experienced the unique and innovative work of the host tech companies. Moreover, during this time we will also have engaged with a network of professionals and designed the framework for change in our home countries. TechWomen does a great job of providing each of us (ELs) with the access and opportunities needed to advance our careers, pursue our dreams, and become role models for women and girls in our local communities back home.

From 2018 Emerging Leader — TechWomen Fellow. Here are 30 tips based on my own experience:

  1. Before the program, Attend English courses & listen to online silicon valley bay area tech podcasts or watch Silicon Valley Series online.
  2. Discover unique Events/opportunities/meetings you would like to manage/attend at the same time you will be in the area belong to your goals. you could achieve anything. be well prepared and market yourself in a smart way.
  3. It's not about attending all the events, it's about choosing the best that fit your own goals.
  4. Do you have a Startup? Great!, you could market your Idea and have anything you want if you meet the right people.
  5. Do you have a Business Card? Great!, you could give it to people who you will exchange experience/opportunities with them.
  6. Make new friends, TechWomen is a great opportunity to have unique friends from all around worlds.
  7. Accept cultural differences we are ( 100 ELs ) with 20 different culture to attend the US silicon valley culture. at the end of the program, you will gain new Cultural Enrichment experiences.
  8. The mentorship: the first key part of the program. you have to know what is the “mentorship” mean and set your mentorship goals before the starting of the program.
  9. Networking: the second key part of the program. you have to Learn How to make “professional networking” during the program.
  10. Ask good questions: The third key part of the program. you have to prepare and google the speakers Bios before attending the events to ask good questions that you need to learn from them.
  11. Sleep. it's not about being active all the time. sleep as early as possible.
  12. Drink a lot of water, you need more energy!
  13. Remember! The most important part of the program is your mission after the program. You’ll want to maintain focus on creating impact once you return by giving back to your community. If you understand this mission before/during/after the program, life will be easier for you when you get back home.
  14. Be organized, Organize all your staffs and schedule very well in order not to lose anything important for you!
  15. There is time to Have Fun, it's a unique opportunity for outdoor fun activities, Go! Live new adventures.
  16. Do you like shopping? Great, Go! use yelp app for searching.
  17. Do you like to explore new foods? Great, Go! use yelp app for searching.
  18. Don’t worry about feeling homesick California welcomes diversity and already have a lot of people with different countries and cultures from all around the world. Personally, I did not feel homesick but it depends on your own personality.
  19. To go anywhere. you have to use MAPS. try to know how to use maps in your mobile before coming. that's will save your time and make your life easier during the program.
  20. Check your email daily, you will never know when more opportunities knock.
  21. Observe/watch carefully. The future of technology will open your mind with new opportunities/ideas to implement when back home.
  22. Observe/watch carefully. The future of new opening careers that’s will change your mind how to view any new opportunities/ideas to talk/implement in future when back home.
  23. This program helps you to improve your soft and technical skills. Write notes for everything during the workshops.
  24. You won’t become an expert within 5 weeks but you will know the roadmap, resources, connections, and everything you need to achieve your goal.
  25. Be Resourceful. exchange resources you know with others (ELs).
  26. Show your ability to learn anything during your mentorship.
  27. It’s not about winning a grant, it’s about implementing real impact when you back home in your home community.
  28. Share your home country culture and traditions with TechWomen community and others (ELs).
  29. TechWomen is an opportunity to expand your professional network on LinkedIn. Keep connecting with people you meet every day.
  30. Stay CONNECTED with your FAMILY back home. according to the time difference. schedule the best time every day to talk and share your photos/videos with them. your family PROUD of you and you will be happy when you feel FAMILY SUPPORT.

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Celebrate your Achievement!

For the next cohort TechWomen 2019. The application is about to OPEN

Apply when you are READY to boost your skills and willing to back with POWER & RESOURCES to make a change in your HOME country.

TechWomen 2019

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