In the month since I was in Gaza City, I have been thinking through that journey. Living in East Palo Alto for 20 years and teaching in a prison are two experiences that have given me some perspective on Gaza. I lived in EPA when it was named the murder capital of America. (EPA was where I could afford a house as a single mother working in the Silicon Valley – lower house prices being one of its virtues.) I recently started mentoring an EfM seminar at Elmwood Jail in Milpitas. Both EPA and jail can be dangerous and depressing places, but they can also be home and a ground for community support, growth, laughter, and love. When we visited Gaza, I saw devastation, poverty, and political anger but I was warmly welcomed by hundreds of locals who are building their lives and working to raise their community from the ruins. Five of us went to Gaza together: Erin Keeley, Eileen Brewer, Aliya Janjua, my daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman, and me. It was the first visit by a group of executive technical women ever hosted by MercyCorps and Gaza Sky Geeks. Ours was also the first group visit by TechWomen mentors to our Palestinian mentees.
When I got back from three weeks in the Middle East and Africa, I briefly described Jordan, Israel – Palestine, and Zimbabwe to the men in my class at Elmwood. Trying to explain Gaza, I compared its twenty-year siege to lockdown, when inmates are immediately locked in their cells and all jail visitors must quickly leave because of an emergency situation. While we were with the TechWomen Delegation in Jordan and during the two days we toured Israel before going to Gaza, we often heard deep surprise that we would be allowed in at all. While we were in Gaza City, people on the street were very surprised to see us shopping and eating out. We were told that many outsiders who visit Gaza drive through quickly, surrounded by guards. We did follow MercyCorps’ rules to only go out during the day and early evening and always to be accompanied by a MercyCorps staff member but we were treated with hospitality and respect whereever we went. Of course, I mostly was with my 2014 mentee Mai Temraz and her charming family!
Although Gaza is primarily Islamic, we visited the 50-bed Ahli Arab Hospital (supported by the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem) and the Church of Saint Porphyrius (Greek Orthodox) between giving presentations on mentoring, venture capital, design thinking, crowd funding and other professional topics. One effect of the long siege of Gaza is that the small Ahli Arab Hospital treats tens of thousands of patients per year with a mortality rate for diseases such a breast cancer at about triple – partly because of a lack of local medical facilities and the difficulty in getting patients out of Gaza promptly for treatment elsewhere.
One of the most difficult conversations I had several times with professional women in Gaza was whether they should stay or go. Gaza is blessed with many talented and educated people whom it needs to rebuild after each conflict ends. However, those are the people who can most easily qualify for graduate school, jobs, and programs elsewhere – which may be the best choice for them and their immediate families. My prayers are with the people of Gaza every day.
Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson
Last week, Dr. Telle Whitney (CEO and President, Anita Borg Institute), Dr. Susan Rodger (Professor of the Practice in the Computer Science Department at Duke University) and I gave talks on the “History of Women in Computing and Women Leaders in Computing” – as part of the Microsoft Research Gender Diversity Lecture Series, in Redmond, Washington. We were joined at the event by Jody Mahoney (of ABI, who lives in San Francisco) and my daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman, (who lives in Seattle). We were invited to speak by Dr. Rane Johnson-Stempson and Dr. Jaime Teevan took good care of us while we were at MSR.
Susan, Jessica, and I have been working together since last summer on the Notable Technical Women project but (even though we created a successful Hopper Conference October 2014 Poster and Kickstarter together) we three had never met in-person before. We had great fun talking and walking around Seattle together after the Seminar. We are looking forward to getting a link to the video of our talks.
19 June 2015: Microsoft Research posted the video with Dr. Telle Whitney, Dr. Susan Rodger, and me speaking: “Microsoft Research Gender Diversity Lecture Series 5: History of Women in Computing and Women Leaders in Computing”
Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson and Jessica Dickinson Goodman
At least 12 TechWomen mentors -Hoda Eldardiry (Xerox PARC), Meredith McKenzie (Juniper Networks), Shalaka Prabhune (Symantec), Shawne Van Deusen-Jeffries (Juniper Networks), Rekha Pai (Juniper Networks), Claudia Galvan (Anita Borg Institute), Myra Nawabi (Lockheed Martin), Ruth Davis (Santa Clara University), Lisa Ramirez (Juniper Networks), Erica Lockheimer (LinkedIn), Audrey Van Belleghem (Anita Borg Institute) and I – were in the audience for tonight’s inspiring Women of Vision annual awards gala by the Anita Borg Institute, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center in the Silicon Valley. 5/15/2015 Thanks to Jeannice, here are more names of TechWomen mentors who attended: Jeannice Fairrer Samani (AACSB University), Felicia Mayo (Juniper Networks). Please send more names if I have missed anyone!
2015 WOV Awards honorees were:
- Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Founder and CEO, Drawbridge – for Technology Entrepreneurship
- Julie Larson-Green, Chief Experience Officer, Applications and Services Group, Microsoft – for Leadership
- Camila Fernandez Achutti, University of São Paulo, Brazil – Student of Vision Award
Student of Vision Award Finalist Julia Edwards (of Smith College) was also acknowledged. It was a pleasure to see so many of my remarkable and accomplished sister mentors present to honor our technical community leaders.
Photos Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson
As of 11 March 2015, the recording and slides are available for viewing on Mentors & Role Models – Voices 2015.
Please Register to join Voices 2015!
I am honored to be celebrating the week of International Women’s Day 2015 as one of the Global Tech Women Voices virtual conference speakers. My topic will be “Mentors and Role Models – Best Practices in Many Cultures”. My talk will start at 8:30 am on Wednesday, 11 March 2015. I will present many illustrations from the Notable Women in Tech project!
The week of International Women’s Day, March 8th 2015 technical women from around the globe will convene virtually and in-person, following the sun, across every continent. Representatives present individually and collectively to discuss, collaborate and celebrate the contributions of technical women.
Last year over 26,000 people visited the Conference or the conference recordings.
Benefits of attending:
- Participate in technical discussions
- Network with technical women on a regional, national and international platform
- Be inspired by women like you, who are changing the world.
Thanks to my friend and role model Deanna Kosaraju (Global Tech Women – Founder and CEO) for her inspiring work – and for including my voice in this exciting conference!
Last night was the potluck holiday party for TechWomen, the professional mentoring program for women in Africa and the Middle East, an initiative of the US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. TechWomen is run by the San Francisco office of the Institute of International Education. Dozens of mentors from Silicon Valley companies arrived (despite dire storm warnings) to enjoy each other’s company, celebrate the promotion of Arezoo Miot to Director of TechWomen, admire the newly-remodeled IIE offices, and to start discussions for next month’s Delegation to South Africa.
We also celebrated our new alumnae: Heather Ramsey and Trish Tierney (former executives for IIE) who have a new non-profit startup called WAKE International (Women’s Alliance for Knowledge Exchange).
I am looking forward to planning my first trip to South Africa!
Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson
There are only ten hours left to support Notable Women in Computing playing cards! We have already raised $14,621 to print the second edition (487% of our initial goal). There have been nominations for dozens of schools, teachers, and programs to receive the donated decks and posters. If you want to buy more cards or posters (for yourself, your institution, or to donate), please go to the website soon:
While you are on the Kickstarter site, also check out the 12 updates and new videos we have posted – including some new funding categories:
After the Kickstarter ends, we will enter the production phase – to get cards and posters to those people and institutions who have so generously supported us. As a follow up to this project, I encourage you to write Wikipedia articles on Notable Women in Computing. Instructions and guidance are on Duke University’s webpage: CRA-W and Anita Borg Institute Wikipedia Project – Writing Wikipedia Pages for Notable Women in Computing.
Thanks to Jessica for the image above, in her Final Inspirational Hand of the Week blog post.
Update: About four hours ago, our Kickstarter closed after raising $15,010 in crowd funding. That is, we made 500% of goal. Thanks to our great team: my daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman, and Dr. Susan Rodger (Duke University). It is a pleasure to work with you!
Yesterday was the TechWomen 2014 opening event for participants from 16 countries in Africa and the Middle East (plus the USA!) – generously hosted by Juniper Networks again in Sunnyvale, California. During the next five weeks, I will be the Professional Mentor for Seham Jaafreh from Jordan – working together at Everwise In San Francisco. Lucy Keoni will also be working with Seham as her Cultural Mentor.
Assistant US Secretary of State Evan Ryan made the welcome announcement that the countries included in TechWomen 2015 will be extended to South Central Asia!
Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson