The TechWomen enjoyed their last day in Washington DC and are now slowly making their way home to either the Silicon Valley area (mentors), or to Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen in the MENA region (mentees). I miss them already!
Wednesday was full of TechWomen-normal activities: networking, exchanging ideas and experiences, and taking pictures. It is usual for me to be given three to six cameras and smart phones and asked to photograph a posed group of lovely intelligent women. The group I am photographing may start small but if the setting is good, it often doubles and triples as other TechWomen join in. Taking TechWomen group pictures is an enjoyable if frenetic experience. My daughter Jessica lives in Washington DC and was invited to two of the TechWomen dinners – which made picture taking even more enjoyable.
We met in the morning in the Loy Henderson conference room at the US State Department for a political discussion, then had a magnificent lunch in the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room. The TechWomen were welcomed and honored by Ann Stock, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, and Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. We regretfully did not get to meet the program sponsor, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ann Stock was patient and a very good sport – she stayed after the lunch to take dozens of pictures with the TechWomen. I love the diplomatic rooms at the US State Department, with cases full of china and silver (some by Paul Revere), and walls covered with portraits of American historical greats. The copy of the Declaration of Independence is my particular favorite.
After lunch, we returned to the Henderson room for Sheila Casey (Deputy Director, Office of Citizen Exchanges at U.S. Department of State) and Heather Ramsey (Director at Institute of International Education) to give the mentees their participation certificates (signed by Secretary Clinton). Our going away party was around the very windy roof pool of the Donovan House hotel (the party eventually moved downstairs since we were all freezing!).