IIE Welcomes 2018 TechWomen Emerging Leaders to San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, September 17, 2018— As more women break barriers in STEM fields across the globe, leadership and development programs can provide them with the opportunity to reach their full potential and inspire others to follow their example. TechWomen brings emerging female leaders in science and technology to the United States for a five-week program of peer-to-peer networking and mentorship at San Francisco Bay Area tech companies, supporting them as they progress to the next stage of their careers.

Launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), TechWomen is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Through the program, TechWomen Emerging Leaders are able to immerse themselves in the innovative work of Bay Area tech companies, engage with an accomplished network of professionals, and subsequently advance new innovations in their home countries.

The current cohort of 100 women from Africa, Central and South Asia and the Middle East was drawn from a highly selective pool of more than 3,000 applicants. Twitter, Salesforce and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub are among the 32 leading tech companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley that will host these emerging women leaders in the STEM fields for an intensive program of mentoring and professional exchange this month.

More than half of this year’s 100 TechWomen Emerging Leaders have an advanced degree, and nearly 70 percent work in Information Technology or Green Technology fields. They are leaders in STEM fields, hailing from Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. Profiles of all 100 TechWomen Emerging Leaders are available at techwomen.org.

These inspiring women include:

  • Hanan Jafar, assistant director at University of Jordan’s Cell Therapy Center who has a Ph.D. in cell biology. Hanan oversees the planning, development and management of the center. Hanan will be hosted at IONpath.
  • Natalya Tyundina of Tajikistan, a lead software developer skilled in design system architecture and database development, and trained in programming languages such as Java, SQL and Pascal. Natalya will be hosted at Twitter.
  • Helen Mburu, a trained solar photovoltaic technician and certified biogas mason in Kenya, who founded My Energy Solutions, a company that designs, implements and monitors biogas and solar projects. Helen will be hosted at SunPower.
  • Wiebke Toussaint of South Africa, a data scientist and former CEO of Engineers Without Borders. Wiebke is trained in computer science, engineering and data mining and analytics and is currently pursuing a career in artificial intelligence research. She will be hosted at Singularity University.

Emerging Leaders are selected to participate in TechWomen based on educational and professional accomplishments, as well as potential and commitment to inspire and support women and girls in STEM. IIE matched each Emerging Leader with mentors from San Francisco Bay Area companies based on their background, strengths and goals. At their host companies, Emerging Leaders will work on projects to enhance their professional and personal learning. Additionally, they will develop projects that address socioeconomic issues in their home countries.

The 2018 companies include: Adobe, Autodesk, Big Commerce, Cahill Contractors Inc., Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, Druva, GoDaddy, IONpath, Juniper Networks, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, LinkedIn, Lyft, Mozilla, Northgate Environmental Management, PayPal, Pacific Gas & Electric, PlanGrid, Qualcomm, Salesforce.com, San Francisco Department of the Environment, Singularity University, SS&C Advent, SunPower, Symantec, Synopsys, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Twitch, Twitter, Unity Technologies, Veritas and Zenefits.

“The TechWomen mentorship will have a tremendous impact on my career and professional path. [It] will give me the opportunity to interact with experienced women with different backgrounds and cultures. As an Emerging Leader, I will become a change agent by sharing my knowledge and experience with other women.”- Amani Mansouri of Tunisia, CEO and expert in IT systems, data analytics and digital media

Note to Editors: Media are invited to attend TechWomen events by advance RSVP. Contact Molly Fiffer for details on time and location, and to schedule interviews with program participants. These include:
Cultural Kickoff | Tuesday, Sept. 25, 5:30 pm at Juniper Networks in Sunnyvale
Participants will showcase the culture of their home countries to TechWomen mentors and partners. This event is a robust reflection of the program’s diversity.
Pitch Event | Friday, Oct. 19, 2:30 pm at Google in Sunnyvale
Groups will pitch action plans to address a socioeconomic challenge in their home country. A panel, comprised of executives from TechWomen partner organizations and venture capitalists, will evaluate pitches and determine the top action plans to be awarded seed grants.
Community Celebration | Monday, Oct. 22, 6:00 pm at Twitter in San Francisco
The celebration will showcase the top action plans, and seed grant recipients will be announced. The event will highlight ways to get involved and showcase the global impact of TechWomen. 

For more information, contact:

Molly Fiffer, mfiffer@iie.org, +1.415.593.5886

U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), eca-press@state.gov, +1.202.632.6452


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