Bay Area Companies Mentor Emerging Women Tech Leaders

SAN FRANCISCO, October 14, 2015—This month, leading science and tech companies in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley are hosting nearly 100 inspiring women who are emerging tech leaders from 19 countries in Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East for an intensive program of project-based mentoring and professional networking. These extraordinary women have come to the United States to take part in TechWomen – a program that empowers women for leadership in their fields and their societies. TechWomen, launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of State, is implemented by the Institute of International Education’s San Francisco-based Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives.

In addition to working one-on-one on professional projects with their mentors, the TechWomen will take part in networking events and workshops hosted by program partners Mozilla, LinkedIn, Theranos, Instagram and Google. The women will develop “impact projects” to address social and environmental issues that they will carry out when they return home.

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Evan Ryan, speaking at a welcome reception hosted by Autodesk on Oct. 2, said, “The State Department is dedicated to its investment in women across the globe through programs like TechWomen because we know that no country can get ahead if it leaves half of its people behind.” The program supports the United States’ global commitment to advance the rights and participation of women and girls around the world.

TechWomen participants are leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), hailing from Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe.

Mentors from 47 science and technology companies in the Silicon Valley and Greater San Francisco Bay Area are hosting the women. The companies include: 500 Startups, 6SensorLabs, Adobe, Advent Software, Autodesk, , Cahill Contractors Inc., Calix, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Eventbrite, Flipboard, Google, GoPro, Illumina, Juniper Networks, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, LinkedIn, Lyft, Madison Reed, MobileIron, Mozilla, Northgate Environmental Management, One Medical Group, Optimizely, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Palo Alto Networks, Polycom, Proteus Digital Health, Prysm,, San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco Public Utility Commission, Santa Clara Valley Water District, SolarCity, SunEdison, SunPower, Sunrun, Symantec, Tesla, Tumblr, Twitter, University of California – San Francisco, VMware, Worldreader, Yahoo! and Zenefits.

“In addition to bringing women to the United States to learn tech and science skills – which is something ECA already does through other exchanges – TechWomen was created in order to reach out to women who already knew a great deal about science and tech, but who needed the support and encouragement of like-minded women to have the greatest chance for success, and to allow others to benefit from their expertise,” Ms. Ryan said.

Follow TechWomen on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For more information on the TechWomen exchange program, please contact

Note to editors: Media are invited to attend an event showcasing TechWomen’s impact projects at Google on October 22 and a community event on October 27 by advance RSVP only. Please contact Arezoo Riahi for details on time and location, and to request interviews with TechWomen and their mentors.

Contact: Arezoo Riahi,
Phone: (415) 362-6520 ext. 257 or Mobile (415) 533-2415.

About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.


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