By Uyen Le Kry & Megan Dean Farah
On October 13, 2013, we teamed up with TechWomen to host a Potluck & Podcasting Picnic for local mothers and daughters to meet and interview an incredible group of Middle Eastern and African women leaders visiting the Bay Area. The women leaders were part of the U.S. State Department-funded TechWomen program that Hillary Clinton launched in 2010 to expand global women’s leadership networks.
By the end of the afternoon, Girls Innovate! and TechWomen participants had recorded numerous interviews with one another, shared countless stories about their pasts and dreams for the future, and enjoyed potluck dishes ranging from Mexican to Malaysian to Sierra Leone to Somali home cooking. Many of the youngest girls also made identity dolls with Julie Yoo , a profesional photographer who also documented the event here: http://blog.julieyoophotography.com/2013/10/17/a-picnic-with-techwomen/
The opportunity arose as during the month of October TechWomen brought 78 women from 16 Middle Eastern and African countries to conduct internships and attend leadership workshops in Silicon Valley. Megan initiated the idea to meet with TechWomen during our Design a Podcast Project brainstorming session on September 29, 2013. As a cultural mentor for TechWomen delegate Josette Tejan-Cole from Sierra Leone, and someone who is passionate about enabling intercultural connections, Megan immediately sensed the opportunity to collaborate with Girls Innovate! to create windows into the thoughts and experiences of women (and girls) from vastly different backgrounds, and find a way to unite us around shared goals and identities (as women, mothers, professionals, change agents).
TechWomen participants had lots of great ideas for continued collaboration. For example,TechWomen emerging leader Janet Bih Fofang, an electrical engineer and founder of a private independent school with about 450 students in Yaounde (Cameroon), was so inspired she wants to start a Girls Innovate! chapter in her school!
We are grateful for Megan’s unyielding help and TechWomen’s gracious participation! Interviews are in the process of being edited and uploaded.
Thanks to Julie Yoo of Julie Yoo Photography for these wonderful photos!