The Best of: TechWomen 2015

Writing about life experiences is something very interesting. Before anything else, it proves to myself what I’m capable of, this is something brings happiness to my heart and shows self respect. Moreover, as I’m considering now my passion in life “Learning and Giving”, I’m working entirely to bring this into life!

Today I’m writing about “Best talks and sessions I attended during the TechWomen” program in the Bay Area, CA.

TechWomen program is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is an exchange professional mentoring program to help inspire and empower next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia.

I finished TechWomen program early of November 2015, after an amazing 35 days of professional mentoring at Mozilla Company, and attending lots of interesting talks and sessions hosted by Silicon Valley tech companies.

Here, I will mention two main sessions we had a chance to attend, hosted by two special companies. And in the coming blogs, I will write more about other sessions and events.

Program Orientation at Symantec

It was my first time ever visiting Symantec Headquarter in Mountain View, CA, and we met there with two awesome speakers who inspired us all with their wisdom and stories.

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Sheila Jordan, the Senior Vice President and the Chief Information Officer for Symantec. Sheila spoke to us about Personal Branding. Through her professional experience and her life journey, she was an inspiration to all the TechWomen group, giving us tips about how to work on our personal branding, and marketing plan, how to find our skills combination and how to be different and unique.

Rushton Hurley, gave us a special inspiring talk about Education and Educational Technologies. One of the best talks I ever attended. If you are in Education sector and looking forward to learn more about this, check the following website: Next Vista for Learning which provides resources and tools for teachers to look into.

One of the inspiring stories which Rushton mentioned is the Austin’s Butterfly story, which I believe is an important story in the learning process that the teachers should listen to, and then explain it to their students.

The other inspiring story he mentioned is called Heart Houses, and it tells the story of school kids trying to make a difference through their art!

Finally, Sue Austin: Deep sea diving … in a wheelchair.

Action Plan Workshop at Theranos.

We had been very lucky this year in the TechWomen program to be hosted by Theranos, for an action plan workshop.

Theranos, is a health-technology and medical-laboratory-services company based in Palo Alto, California. Founded by Elizabeth Holmes, who¬†is the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, who is working in field of high tech and health. We had a great chance to meet with her, hear from her startup experience, hear more about her passion and what steps took her to make the health information easily accessible for everyone by simple blood test that you can actually take at home with simple blood tests tools. More about Theranos.

The first session was about Brand Marketing and Social Media, given by Patrick O’Neill Chief Creative Officer at Theranos, and Jodi Shelley Director of Consumer Insights and Planning at Theranos. This one was focused on creating brand love, and reaching to customers by creating a caring product, engage with customers and understand their needs. After that, when designing a brand, to understand what is your message and how to communicate it effectively. A powerful brand has purpose, memorability and relevance.

Two famous brands stories had been discussed, Apple brand story and Unilever brand new video which touches the hearts, “Why bring a Child into this World?”.

The next session was about Agile Methodology, given by Cathy Simpson, who is a Scrum Trainer and Coach at Agile Learning Labs.

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Finally we had a chance to had a session about Making an Effective Pitch given by Andrea Barrica, Venture Partner at 500 Startups. In the following, some summarized tips to help making an effective pitch:

  1. Know your goal, know your audience. Hint: prepare more than one pitch.
  2. Tell a strategic story. Takes from 30 – 90 seconds. Taking into consideration this question: how does my story help me achieve my goal?
  3. Less is more! Be selective about details, it is about the other person.
  4. Know your special Sauce ! (Your team, your cause, your technology, etc).
  5. 20:1 rule! Practice 20 minutes loud for each 1 minute you want to present.
  6. You should have an authentic presence, yet quite powerful.