IIE Welcomes 2019 TechWomen Emerging Leaders to San Francisco

TechWomen Cultural

SAN FRANCISCO, September 23, 2019 TechWomen, a program that empowers emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to create positive impact in their fields and their communities, welcomes 108 emerging women leaders from 21 countries. 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. 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 108 women from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East was drawn from a highly selective pool of more than 3,000 applicants. Microsoft, SunPower and Airbnb are among the 39 leading tech companies in San Francisco and Silicon Valley that will host these emerging women leaders in STEM fields for an intensive program of mentoring and professional exchange this month.

More than half of this year’s 108 TechWomen Emerging Leaders have an advanced degree, and nearly half have launched an initiative or founded a business. They are leaders in STEM fields, hailing from Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe. Libya last participated as a program country from 2013-2014, and IIE is looking forward to welcoming three Libyan women for TechWomen 2019. Profiles of all 108 TechWomen Emerging Leaders are available at: https://www.techwomen.org/participants/2019-emerging-leader-profiles.

These inspiring women include:

  • Chepkemoi Magdaline of Kenya, the founder of Eldohub, a technology, innovation and entrepreneurship hub that brings STEM education to youth and women. Chepkemoi will be hosted at UC Berkeley CITRIS Foundry.
  • Alaa Khoja of Libya, software engineer and community development officer fluent in six programming languages. Alaa will be hosted at LinkedIn.
  • Lutfiya Aynalishoeva of Tajikistan, a green technology professional with a degree in hydroengineering who hopes to increase her knowledge in renewable energies at her TechWomen mentorship. Lutfiya will be hosted at SunPower.
  • Esra’a Alsanie of Jordan, the founder of EnvaTechs, a company that uses virtual reality as an immersive learning tool for educational and engineering solutions. Esra’a will be hosted at Unity Technologies.

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 action plan projects that address socioeconomic issues in their home countries.

The 2019 companies include:  23andMe, AdobeAutodesk, Big Commerce, Cahill Contractors Inc., Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, City of San Jose, Druva, Glassdoor, GoDaddy, Juniper Networks, Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryLinkedIn, Lyft, Microsoft, Mozilla, Northgate Environmental Management,Okta, One Medical, Pacific Gas & ElectricQualcommSalesforce.com, San Francisco Department of the Environment, Splunk, SS&C Advent, SunPower, SurveyMonkeySymantecSynopsysTwitch, Twitter, UC Berkeley CITRUS FoundryUnity Technologies, University of California, San Francisco, Veritas, VMware, Wells Fargo, Zenefits and Zume.

“I will benefit immensely from the mentorship program, as it will allow me to work with and learn from women who have managed to break barriers and hold successful careers in male-dominated fields, helping me to gain confidence in my chosen field. I hope the experience will sharpen my leadership skills, trigger my innovative mind and propel me to greater things as a leader and an entrepreneur.”– Carol Magunje of Zimbabwe, a learning technologist at Bindura University of Science Education

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 | Monday, September 30, 5:30 pm at Airbnb in San Francisco.
  • 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 Day| Friday, October 25, 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, October 28, 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.


IIE:  Molly Fiffer, (415) 593-5886

ECA:  eca-press@state.gov, (202) 632-6452


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