After unfortunately missing the launch of the Mentorship Program, I was very much eager to attend the first event. I was greeted by the entry question which asked, “if you could create any program what program would it be?”. After much deliberation, I concluded that I would love to create an app to help the eco-tourism industry as well an app to increase the access to local and international opportunities for youth.
We then dived into the first order of activities (after the standard procurement of WiFi passwords) which was completing the Digital Literacy Assessment. I found this to be slightly intriguing as the questions seemed somewhat rudimentary which made me stop to acknowledge how grateful I am to be blessed for exposure to IT.
The opening agenda was to become acquainted with one another and as such we took turns introducing ourselves. I heard some interesting fun facts ranging from “I love food” to unexpected ones like “I am a triplet”. As usual, I introduced myself as as a future ‘Ravers’, which is a dance group in Jamaica [Ding Dong where you at 🙂 ]. It was during these series of introductions that I recognized that diversity ran deep within this group. The girls came from various parishes in Jamaica and represented a vast combination of schools. Imagine adding the varied backgrounds of the mentors to this! It all seemed to be fertile grounds for networking and learning more about yourself through the experiences of others. Interestingly enough this did become the main focus as participants shared their experiences and views surrounding the tech space as it currently is as well as if one would change it. This type of conversation was expected however the questions then took an interesting spin when Lianne asked if we think our opinions mattered or that we’re too young to make a difference. It was subsequent to sharing answers on these questions that Lianne then stated a quote that I believe will stay with me for some years to come:
“To see more girls in STEM we must boost their confidence, not interest.” – Anne Sheehan, Enterprise Director, Vodafone UK
I plan to be involved in much empowerment of the youth and minority groups and as such thought this quote to be very significant. I recognized the truth in it and the potential for it to be applied across various disciplines.
We then delved into topics surrounding who we are, what our story is and who we hope to be. I was surprised to hear so many of us digging deep into the fabric of our beings and openly expressing our past, present and were we hope to be in the future. It was if we already trusted each other despite just meeting but somewhere in the back of my mind I believe it was a by-product of bringing powerful young women together in one space. That type of conversation and analysis of self and the role one wishes to play in the world is powerful for people at this age. I also found it intriguing that so many of us shared the goal of becoming an inspiration to others and helping others find their footing in the world, maybe we can help each other do that.
After all this introspection, it was time to put our thoughts into action by developing a blog with content geared towards a personal goal. We were introduced to the WordPress platform and asked to design the target areas of our website. I usually jump right in to creating projects so it was refreshing to go through the structured conceptualization process. Developing the website was actual beyond exciting! I spent a few nights up until the wee hours of morning ensuring that my website was pleasing.
I wonder what else I will discover about myself and the people around me at the next meet-up which should be centered around strength assessment.