On September 25th, the new Twitter headquarters was vibrant with the voices of the TechWomen community. A special event, held in collaboration with Twitter, welcomed the TechWomen Emerging Leaders, 2011 and 2012 mentors, and other program supporters for an evening of discussion and networking.
Upon arrival, guests were met with a Twitter-fall that projected their live conversations on the screen overhead. Using the hash-tag #twtwitter, the participants documented their visit at the company. “Just love tweeting: tweeting from twitter… This is just crazy!!!,” tweeted an Emerging Leader. “So excited to be at the Twitter HQ for the Techwomen Community Event, Woo hoo!!!,” tweeted a mentor.
The evening commenced with remarks from Heather Ramsey (@hramseyiiesf), Director of Strategic Partnerships at Institute of International Education. “ It’s these person-to-person connections that make a huge difference towards ensuring a peaceful and just world for ours and future generations,” said Heather when she spoke of the importance of the mentor – emerging leader relationships.
The welcome was followed by a keynote discussion with Jana Messerschmidt (@janamal), Vice President of Business Development at Twitter. Jana recalled a moment during her academic career when an individual questioned her aspirations and said, “Aren’t you getting your M.R.S. Degree?” She quickly came to realize that it was a remark against her gender. As lonely as it felt to be a woman engineer, Jana continued to pursue her career ambitions.
After Jana’s inspiring address, several TechWomen Emerging Leaders and their mentors were featured in an engaging and informative panel discussion. The panel opened with the emerging leaders expressing why they applied for the TechWomen program, “I applied for TechWomen because I knew it would strengthen my technical abilities and it would help me build bridges between different countries,” stated an emerging leader from Algeria. The panelists continued by talking about how their preconceived ideas changed as a result of this experience, “What surprised me was how friendly the men and women are in the U.S., that was beyond my expectations,” said an emerging leader. Another emerging leader was surprised at how much input employees have regarding new products at companies. She expressed how surprised she was to walk in on a product introduction storyboarding session at her host company, “Showing the product to the CEO is not in my culture. In my culture, the CEO shows me the product.”
The mentors have experienced just as many surprises as the emerging leaders. Through TechWomen, they are building friendships that open channels of dialogue not only around the San Francisco Bay Area, but around the world.
To learn more about the TechWomen Twitter event, follow the conversation at #twtwitter.