There is never a quiet day at Nokia’s Government Relations Americas office. On Monday, you are working with the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Technology to ensure passage of key innovation legislation. On Tuesday, you are preparing briefings for a meeting between the CMO and Ministers of Finance from over 80 countries. On Wednesday, you prepare a call with the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, to promote Nokia’s Smart Cities solutions. On Thursday, you discuss tax policy and technology investment enablers in Latin America, and on Friday, you get a post on your inbox that stops your heart: “Invitation: “TechGirls: Women's Roundtable Panel Discussion.”” This is how I had the privilege to experience one of the most enriching and humbling experiences in my career.
Last week, I represented Nokia as one of the only private sector voices during the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) TechGirlslong-day Shadow Day. The day consisted of a women’s roundtable panel discussion along with four senior level female leaders from the FCC to advise, prepare, and mentor two 15-year-old TechGirls from the Palestinian Territories embarking in technology careers.
What did we, the panelists, learn from the TechGirls?
First, we learned that mentorship is a two-way-street. Haya and Youma were incredibly poised and articulate and they taught us that the barriers that young women face as early as their high school years are similar to the barriers that professional women face at all stages of their careers. For example, we discussed the impact of cultural factors such as the role of women in society, role models, confidence, competition, organization skills, and STEM career development.
We also learned that the pipeline shortage of talent in technology is a global. In technology firms, women make up 36.8% of entry-level workers in tech, while in other industries, they account for nearly 50%. Haya and Youma had a similar experience at their schools, they were the exception rather than the rule for girls involved in STEM.
Haya and Youma are working on the next big application to find solutions to the gender equality question. Through their TechGirls camp, they designed a prototype for a “Superheroes” app to teach young girls about the powers of a mentorship, to beat unconscious bias, and increase girls in STEM.
There is nothing more rewarding than to work for a company that shares your vision while it offers career opportunities that feed your passions.
I’ve worked tirelessly to engage, enable, and empower women in technology, whether that means being an engineer, a businesswoman, or a government official. This passion perfectly meets my day-to-day profession of promoting Nokia’s vision to make technology human.
This is the magic of working for Nokia, when your personal values are aligned to the business case of the company, you are proud of the work you deliver. At the end of the day, you are creating positive change in society and in the future of humanity.