African Women in Technology is an event series that was born out of the desire to connect, educate and empower women who are determined to advance their tech careers through the provision of opportunities and safe space for women to grow and lead in tech space.
This years event themed “Be Bold” took place between 19th and 21st July at the Nairobi garage attracted women from all over Kenya those at the university level and the professionals in the tech industry; techprenuers, social entrepreneurs, leaders at different levels and mentors.
Dr Chao of KamiLimu led the discussion on mentorship together with the different speakers who believe that mentorship whether structured or non-structured contributes immensely to the holistic growth of an individual besides the classroom work. The attendees for this event had an advantage as they got a chance to find their mentors through a mentorship “speed-dating” session focused on those looking to find mentors and experienced women in tech who are looking to help young ladies mentees. The communications and marketing coordinator at Andela Kenya summarized by giving the four key elements of mentor-mentee relationship which are: Initiative, specificity, commitment and openness.
Emma Okere a data scientist by profession clearly gave insights to demystify the myths and misconception of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, and how their algorithms could be applied in data science to replace traditional tools which cannot handle big data generated everyday due to highly evolving technology.
She was seconded by one of the panelists from Jobonics HR, a startup that uses AI to change the human resources sector. “Always be ready to learn and change in accordance with time. At work, learn to conform to change. This will make you indispensable,” said Stella Ngugi CEO & Founder Jobonics HR.
Forums such as these are held in different continents all over the world, to assist women share resources and their experience in their career spaces, with one objective of continuously filling in the gaps readily available for women in the vast areas. One crucial requirement is being bold enough, and that means aiming at oneself with enough information and being visible enough to grab opportunities as they present themselves.
As clearly demonstrated by Rebecca Powers, Global operations manager at I-Dev international during her presentation, setting goals the SMART way. “Knowledge is not power, knowledge is the potential power that allows you to leverage it to move you to the next level. There’s a difference between redundant experience and multidimensional experience. That’s what you need to look at,” she advised. While at this, diversification is paramount while at the job market search stages, success comes in different ways at different times in different forms, so that when plan A fails we can we can always consider plan B without changing our own career Objectives.
In support of the women with vision to be leaders and demystify the prejudice and stereotypes surrounding women and leadership, it was clear that their is need to have women leaders at the top levels of leadership to enable them to be part of the policy making processes. This will not only address moral and social issues but also play a critical role in addressing the economic challenges. However this is something that could be worked on tirelessly with no fear but consistency. “Stop having tiara syndrome, nothing comes easy, work through others, stop competing with teammates, time application should be used to develop others,” noted Sarah Richson CEO, Richemele International.
The #AWIT conference which takes place annually, is one of its kind where women come together to share their experiences, resources and opportunities. “I would encourage more women to attend such forums to build their networks and see that everything they dream of is possible. The women who have gone before have paved the way and shown that it can be done,” said Gladys Maina, Lead Consultant Panda consulting.