Tag Archives: Central Asia

Africa Wins!

Tunisia 2016 TechWomen with Impact Advisors

At yesterday’s TechWomen Community Event, all five Pitch Day seed grant prizes went to teams representing countries in Africa: Cameroon, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, and Kenya! All 19 presentations from Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa were so inspiring, I am sure the judges had a tough time deciding which to honor.  It was a pleasure to spend the evening with my daughter Jessica.

I am so very proud to have been one of the Impact Advisors for Tunisia! Our WAKTECH action plan to improve transportation in Tunis included six from Tunisia and three from the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Melek Jebnoun- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Raoudha Lagha- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Salma Saidi- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Salma Sayah- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Sinda Soussia- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Yosr Tammar- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Fatema Kothari- California Mentor and Impact Advisor
  • Katy Dickinson- California Mentor and Impact Advisor
  • Mercedes Soria- California Mentor and Impact Advisor

Early tomorrow, TechWomen shifts from the San Francisco Bay Area to Washington DC. What a month this has been!

Sierra Leone 2016 TechWomen

Tunisia 2016 TechWomen

TechWomen 2016 Flag Parade

Arezoo Riahi 2016 TechWomen Seed Grants

Cameroon 2016 TechWomen

TechWomen 2016 Seed Grant Award

Gaza Sky Geeks Impact Photo

Tunisia TechWomen 2016 Impact Advisors

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Advising 6 TechWomen from Tunisia

TechWomen 2016 Tunisia Impact Advisory Group at Pitch Day 7 Oct 2016

Since August 2016, I have been honored to be one of three Impact Advisors to the six TechWomen Emerging Leaders from Tunisia. We started meeting while the ELs were still in Tunis and we have continued our discussions at least weekly since. Mercedes Soria (Vice President of Software Engineering, Knightscope), Fatema Kothari (Senior Consultant,
T-Mobile), and I have had a wonderful time working on this.

On 7 October, the ladies presented our plan for WAKTECH at the TechWomen Pitch Day hosted by Oracle here in the Silicon Valley. This is the Executive Summary for WAKTECH, from our Action Plan:

The biggest public transport issue in Tunis is delay. Bus and metro schedules are confusing and unreliable. What makes this issue worse is the lack of total absence of online and offline information about these delays. Users are deprived from real time information about it. WAKTECH will be the first mobile platform to centralize the information about public transportation in Tunisia. It will provide all the needed information about traffic, schedule and transit itinerary. The particularity of this application resides in the community of trusted users who will be its main source of data.

We will be building an application that enables users to share information about public transit like departure and arrival times or possible incidents. Based on that data, the users can access at any moment that information to schedule their trip, be on time, and save money. Using WAKTECH will help create the smart Tunis everyone is dreaming of where technology serves the citizens to manage their time effectively and create a community of responsible users.

Our Tunisia team was one of 19 that presented – one from each of the TechWomen countries. I was so proud of their poised and professional presentation! Tonight at the TechWomen Community Celebration in San Francisco we will hear the results of the pitch judging – only five teams will win one of the cash prizes. There were many superb presentations and inspiring projects proposed for Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Wish us luck!

TechWomen Barbara Williams and Katy Dickinson 7 Oct 2016

TechWomen Stay Fearless - by Fatema Kothari

Tunisia 2016 TechWomen waiting to pitch 7 Oct 2016

Mentoring Standard Conducktors for Tunisia 2016 TechWomen

TechWomen 2016 Tunisia WAKTECH presentation at Pitch Day 7 Oct 2016

Crows at Oracle, Redwood Shores CA

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Mail

Katy Dickinson and Janet Fofang Hopper Conference 2015

The TechWomen mentoring program participants often travel among our 21 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.   On our journeys, mentors and mentees often bring each other things, calling such deliveries “TechWomen Mail”. Sometimes the generous TechWomen carry local treats (like cookies or honey), or souvenirs from their country (like pen holders or coffee mugs).  Earlier this year, a traveling mentor bought a rug in the souq only to find it too big for her luggage.  In the next few months, I am sure that rug will arrive in the Silicon Valley with a visiting TechWoman.

Souvenirs from Egypt and Lebanon, coffee and pen cups

Since I would be seeing the Cameroon “Angels Tech of Africa” Technovation team in San Francisco, Janet Fofang (TechWomen 2013 Fellow) asked me to send her some electronics to use when teaching her Tassah Academy or WeTech girls in Yaounde, Cameroon. My husband, John Plocher, put together a box of interesting electronic boards and chips for exploration. Dorothée Danedjo Fouba  (TechWomen 2014 Fellow) kindly agreed to carry the box to Janet. I left the box loosely packed and openable so that Dorothée and customs inspectors could see what it contained – I am sure it looked odd on airport scanners.

This week, Janet wrote me that the box had arrived safely. (Thanks to Dorothée!) Janet and John are now in email discussions about what was in the box, and about software and hardware open source projects he has published on our family website, spcoast.com. We may have more TechWomen Mail headed to Cameroon soon!

Teaching Materials - Electronic Parts July 2016

Cameroon Technovation Team with Katy Dickinson and Tara Chklovski 2016

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Images Copyright 2015-2016 by Katy Dickinson

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Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

TechWomen at Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Last week, I enjoyed attending the Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016 hosted by the University of San Francisco. Technovation was the single most popular formal mentoring program mentioned by the Mentoring Standard Certified Mentors (see the “First Mentors – What We Learned” report), so I have heard about its excellence from many sources.  Technovation was founded in 2009 to offer girls the opportunity to learn how to start a company and become high-tech entrepreneurs.  It is now a global competition reaching thousands of girls.  This year’s winners were:

  • First Place, High School: Team A, “OOL” from Mexico
  • First Place, Middle School: California Coders, “Loc8Don8” from the United States

The pitch videos from all of the finalists are well worth watching.  In addition to the awards given to the girls’ teams, TechWomen‘s own Dr. Amel Gouila (Bioinformatician at the Institut Pasteur de Tunis) from Tunisia was honored as The Technovation Regional Ambassador of the year.  In advance of the awards, there were inspiring speeches by:

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Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

USF, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Thoko Miya, South African Master Educator, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Ask Ada, USA Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Angels Tech of Africa, Cameroon Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

HAI Moldova Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

IDF, InDaFridge, Canada Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

TransUG Uganda Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Amel Gouila and the Born to Tech Tunisia Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Ismail Aziza of Palestine and Thoko Miya of South Africa, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Ismail Aziza and Katy Dickinson, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Guido van Rossum and Katy Dickinson, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Marie Claire Murekatete with Rwanda flag, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Dr. Amel Gouila, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Tara Chklovski, Katy Dickinson, Dorothée Danedjo and Cameroon Team, Technovation World Pitch Summit 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen Alumnae Resources

Mai Temraz Gaza February 2016

The TechWomen Alumnae Resources web page is now available, presenting recommendations and references to materials helpful to technical women stuck in place because of politics or personal circumstances. So far, TechWomen Alumnae Resources topics include:

More topics are being developed.  This resource was created as a result of discussions on 12 February 2016 during the TechWomen Jordan Delegation’s Unconference at the Dead Sea.  The session I lead was called “Supporting TechWomen Fellows in Conflict Zones”. A group of nine TechWomen Fellows, Mentors, and supporters from the Middle East and USA started by discussing how to support TechWomen Fellows in conflict zones – especially Gaza, Yemen, and Libya – but we soon expanded our scope to consider those stuck at home because of severe family illness or other care taking responsibilities.  That is, these are ideas / resources / programs to benefit TechWomen Mentors and Fellows who are stuck in place.  This was not about getting them out but rather helping them remain professionally active where they are.  The five categories in which we felt that support could be offered / maintained and would be most helpful are:

  1. Entrepreneurship – training, startup feedback, recommendations to funding sources.
  2. Outsourcing – recommendations on finding / developing professional work that could be done where they are.
  3. Starting and managing local mentoring programs.
  4. Professional visibility and volunteerism:
  5. Recommendations and introductions:

The top photo shows my 2014 TechWomen mentee, Mai Temraz, with her Grace Hopper Conference bag and gifts in Gaza City, in February 2016.  We carried these gifts to her because she could attend the October 2015 GHC15 conference in-person to accept her award as 2015 Change Agent ABIE.  Being stuck in place is part of life in Gaza City.  Remarkable technical leaders like Mai are the inspiration for the TechWomen Alumnae Resources web page.

Image Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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Videos from Jordan, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan TechWomen Delegations

Cathy Simpson Evelyn Zoubi TechWomen Delegation mansaf April 2016

The TechWomen Alumnae Council held a reunion for the Jordan, Zimbabwe, and Kazakhstan Delegations on 26 April 2016, hosted by AOL in San Mateo, California (in the Silicon Valley).  TechWomen Director Arezoo Riahi  reported that the three Delegations (of 37 Mentors from the US and almost 50 Fellow from 13 countries) together reached 1,925 girls and women.

John Plocher taped the inspiring personal and professional reports by IIE staff and Delegation members: the set of 11 videos is now available.  You can also watch the individual videos:

  1. Arezoo Riahi – opening, Delegations report, update on 2015 and 2016 TechWomen cohorts
  2. Audrey Simpson, Cindy Cooley, Cathy Simpson, Evelyn Zoubi – update on TechWomen Alumnae Council, and how to make Jordanian mansaf
  3. Katy Dickinson – Jordan, Palestine, Zimbabwe, and update on TechWomen Alumnae Resources
  4. Rekha Pai – Kazakhstan
  5. Rebecca Biswas – Kazakhstan
  6. Teresa Zhang – Kazakhstan
  7. Molly Pyle – Zimbabwe
  8. Sarasija Parthasarthy – Kazakhstan
  9. Shawne Van Deusen-Jeffries – Zimbabwe
  10. Zhilan Zweiger – Zimbabwe, Kenya
  11. Mary Karam McKey – “All Protocols Observed”

TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

Rebecca Biswas TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

TechWomen Delegation event April 2016

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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“First Mentors – What We Learned” report now available

Mentoring Standard 72 Mentor Collage 8 May 2016

Mentoring Standard‘s 16 page report on the first 72 Certified Mentors is now published: “First Mentors – What We Learned” (by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher).

Executive Summary
This is a baseline report on mentors certified by Mentoring Standard during its first year in business. Subsequent reports will expand on this material. This report presents demographic, geographic, and professional information about the first cohort of 72 Certified Mentors, plus information on mentoring as a practice that has demonstrated consistent and remarkable benefits. Nine conclusions are made but understanding of other patterns will need to wait for a larger group to analyze. Detailed comparisons are made with one of the few large sets of data published on professional mentoring – that of Sun Microsystems Engineering.

The information in this report is drawn from an interconnected worldwide community of dedicated mentors – not a general population. In this first cohort, there are far more women, highly educated and technical professionals represented among the Certified Mentors than are in the general public.

The top three conclusions in this report are:

    1. Mentors report great satisfaction from working with mentees. Most reported being mentors for years and seem to want to continue mentoring and improving as mentors for the foreseeable future. Mentors write about formal and informal mentoring being a regular part of their personal and professional lives.
    2. Participants report that mentor certification gives immediate benefit in increased confidence and recognition of their own accomplishments, and may also yield professional visibility and better advancement as well.
    3. Mentoring works well for a wide diversity of nationalities and ethnicities. It seems to be an accepted practice in all 17 of the countries where Certified Mentors live.

The intended audience for this report is current and potential Certified Mentors, customers of Mentoring Standard, academics and professionals interested in how mentoring actually works. I look forward to your comments and questions!

Mentoring Standard Formal Programs bar chart 8 May 2016

Images Copyright 2016 Mentoring Standard

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