by Stephanie Cleijpool, IBM
Happy International Womenâ€™s Day! This week we are at the Arab Women in Computing Conference. The goal of this Conference is to inspire, support and celebrate women in computing in the Arab world. More than five hundred international and regional women and men from all technology sectors are participate making this the largest conference on women in tech in the Arab World.
Leverage your mentors
One of the important topics of this conference is about how to pursue your dreams and how to grow professionally. Mentors can help to define your career goals and guide you in taking the next steps. Mentoring first came up in the panel of Eileen Scully (Founder Rising Tides)*, a discussion on leadership and careers in industry. Her panel explained how mentors helped them in their own careers, motivating them to always stay open to new opportunities. Eileen closed the discussion with her analogy about lobsters:
Get out of your comfort zone as itâ€™s the only way to grow, thatâ€™s how lobsters grow too
The best way to learn about mentoring is to put it into practice. So we did! During lunch we organized round tables with all experienced and inspiring women. Participants could ask feedback on the projects they work on, ask any question they had. They all enjoyed this mentoring experience and it helped them to continue networking at the conference.
In the afternoon I gave a talk about how to take ownership of your own career. I explained the importance of having a manager, mentor, coach and sponsor. I shared tips and gave my advice on how to find a mentor and how to developer further. I had a crowd that was curious ready for their next steps. And they put my advise directly into practice: never be afraid to ask questions!
Itâ€™s important that all women have the opportunity to take ownership of their own career, not being stopped by any gender inequality. Thatâ€™s what International Womenâ€™s Day is all about!
The Full Panel
Panel Chair : Eileen Scully (The Rising Tides)
- Dr. Amany AlShawi, Chair, KACST Womenâ€™s Program, KSA, Saudi Arabia
- Ms. Mariama Boumanjal, Solutions Consultant, Google, UK
- Ms. Sabine Holl, IBM Director Cloud Technical Sales and Solutioning MEA, UAE
- Ms. Rajaa Khouimi, Bank Al Yousr, Morocco
- Ms. Sarah Hanna, Engineer at Facebook, USA
- Dr. Bouchra Bouqata, Senior Machine Learning & AI Program Manager, Amazon Robotics Research, USA