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TechWomen 2018

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Lonadek’s Cedar STEM & Entrepreneurship Hub in Collaboration with the US Consulate Nigeria Hosts TechWomen Mentoring Program

A 16-member delegation of senior women technology executives and professionals from Silicon Valley, California, who promote STEM, mentored young Nigeria women working in the area of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) across the country in collaboration with the Nigerian Fellows of the TechWomen Program.

The TechWomen program was introduced by the U.S. government in 2011, to empower the next generation of women leaders in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM). This exchange program brings together women in Northern California with their counterparts in the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria for a professional mentorship at leading technology companies in the U.S. The TechWomen Program promotes its global commitment to advancing the participation of women and girls in the business and technology sectors. The aim of this mentorship tour is to expand networks of women in STEM teaching and learning in Nigeria

The delegates represented organizations as diverse as Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix, Mozilla, Autodesk, WomenCollegeTech, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Juniper Networks, as well as Fairrer Samani Group, Northgate Environmental Management, Jessica Dickinson Goodman Consulting, and the Institute of International Education.

Some members of the delegation include Ms. Larissa Shapiro, Head of Mozilla’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Division, and Twitter’s Senior Software Engineer, Ms. Elizabeth Deng, a computer science graduate of the University of Southern California. Dr. Leedjia Svec, Director WomenCollegeTech and former Director of Programs at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, alongside Ms. Maile Smith, Principal Geologist/ Chief Operating Officer at Northgate Environmental Management.

The event which held on Tuesday, March 21, 2018 at the Cedar STEM & Entrepreneurship Hub, Lonadek Nigeria Limited, Yaba, Lagos, was part of the TechWomen program which ran through Sunday, March 18 to Friday, March 23, 2018 in Lagos and Abuja, supported by United States Consulate General, Lagos. The event started with an opening address by Ms. Mide Ayeni, 2017 fellow of Nigeria, and Ms. Ogo Maduewesi, 2015 fellow of Nigeria, gave an introduction to the TechWomen program.

The US Consular General; Mr. F. John Bray who was present at the event, welcomed the 16-member delegation from Silicon Valley and also appreciated Lonadek for hosting these women. He welcomed everyone present at the event and highlighted that the American consulate is pleased to sponsor this series of seminars and trainings by leading women technology leaders from Nigeria and the United States who are actively advocating for women in STEM.

In his speech, he pointed out that STEM education is the key foundation for any country’s economic success. Sadly, many young women who pursue studies in STEM at tertiary institutions share stories of being grossly outnumbered by men. In workplaces, women in STEM fields face discriminatory practices and behaviors from colleagues and supervisors including compensation at lower levels than male counterparts for their labor. They also generally lack opportunities for coaching, mentoring, and growth compared to their male colleagues.

He mentioned that at home or abroad, promoting women in STEM fields is a top priority of the U.S. government as they are convinced that when barriers to women’s full participation in STEM fields are removed, women do better, families do better, countries do better, and the world does better. The goal of encouraging the role of girls and women in STEM fields has been the cornerstone of the technology-learning programs funded by the U.S. Mission in Nigeria.

He charged everyone to take what they have learned and spread knowledge beyond the event and pledge a strong commitment to inspiring the next generation of girls and young women in STEM fields.

The event had several rounds of speed networking sessions where the attendees were given the opportunity to chat with any of the mentors. A mentor, Ms. Pamela O’Leary gave a short talk on “Purpose-Driven Relationships: The Importance of Networking”. She spoke about how to make networking fun instead of scary and encouraged everyone not to look at other women as competition but to pull each other up as we climb up higher on the ladder.

After the speed networking sessions, Ms. Larissa Shapiro moderated a fireside chat with Ms. Maile Smith and Ms. Jessica Dickinson Goodman on the topic of using tech for social good. These three mentors spoke about what the responsibility is for science and tech to work for the social good and what models they have seen used to power social change and impact.

Julian Ifeanyi Etuokwu Oludumila, one of the participants, said the program opened her eyes to see beyond volunteering and how networking can impact her teachings on technology.

“Leveraging on technology will give me over 100 percent increase to my customers and give them the visibility they also want,” Oludumila, a small business marketing coach said.

Dr. Ibilola Amao, the Principal Consultant, Lonadek Inc., said women in tech are an integral and important aspect of women’s lives. She encouraged women to be deliberate, supportive and see each other as collaborators and not competitors in STEM-oriented approach.

Six Nigerian fellows (past beneficiaries of the TechWomen Exchange program); Ms. Mide Ayeni, Ms. Ogo Maduewesi, Ms. Desiree Craig (2015), Ms. Busayo Durojaiye (2014), Ms. Christie Etukudor (2016) and Ms. Remi Hamid (2016), introduced themselves, their projects and answered questions from the audience about TechWomen.

The prospects and opportunities this event presents for Lonadek are endless because Lonadek as a women-owned business has a passion for supporting the empowerment of Women in STEM as is the vision of our Principal Consultant, Dr. Ibilola Amao. With more mentoring events like this, more women become inspired to pursue endeavors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and embark on projects that ensure economic and global advancement. Lonadek looks to be the foremost option for collaborations in women mentoring, empowerment and impacting for innovation forward projects across the globe.

This event has created a life-long partnership and fostered a combined passion for women empowerment between the United States Consulate General and Lonadek Incorporated and the Cedar STEM Hub as an incubation hub for brilliant and innovative ideas from men and more especially, women.

The event ended with Ms. Queen Denchukwu of Autodesk delivering the closing remarks. She encouraged the many female entrepreneurs in attendance to continue pursuing their dreams in STEM. She thanked Lonadek for hosting the event at the Cedar STEM & Entrepreneurship Hub and presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the Principal Consultant of Lonadek Inc., Dr. Ibilola Amao. At the end of the event, participants were given more time to network with members of the delegation group and with TechWomen fellows.

Lonadek Inc. and the Cedar STEM and Entrepreneurship Hub welcome interested individuals, teams, group and companies to contact us for partnership, collaboration and empowerment initiatives.

For further information email: info@thecedarcentre.org or call +2348139112519