When You Empower a Girl, You Empower a Community
Cisco’s global initiative, Girls Power Tech (GPT), is a special learning opportunity for girls and young women to connect with Cisco mentors at offices around the world. GPT aims to inspire them to consider educational and career paths in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Coordinating GPT is one of the best parts of my job. It brings me pride and joy to provide resources for our employee volunteers to run their local activities, especially knowing the activities can introduce these students to new opportunities. I believe in the saying ‘when you empower a girl, you empower a community.’
Girls learn snap circuitry at Girls Power Tech 2019
This year, more than 110 Cisco sites in countries around the globe hosted GPT activities. Close to 6,000 students participated alongside 1,500 Cisco employees to ignite interest in tech education and careers. Check out this video to learn about the program and to get a glimpse of its impact.
Our global GPT site leads are really the heart and soul of the GPT program. It’s an impressive undertaking requiring hours of planning, and without the dedication of our site leads and volunteers, it wouldn’t be possible.
Keep reading to be inspired by some of the site leaders and their events that happened around the world.
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Gina Andersen and her 10-person planning committee hosted 55 students from five different school systems in the Triangle area, including students from both rural and urban backgrounds. In addition to an executive leadership panel, they also had 35 employees participate in speed mentoring and Snap Circuits (a line of electronic kits designed to introduce elementary engineering concepts), sharing thoughts about their education, career, and experience at Cisco. While the students were engaged in their hands-on sessions, the team provided a break-out session for the teachers to discuss the Networking Academy, Cisco’s IT skills and career building program. Everyone involved was also fortunate to hear from Alphonsine Anderson, the global GPT Keynote and a Cisco Community Hero winner.
Girls learn about the importance of team building and mentoring
“Volunteers were integral to our day. They brought their own passions, expertise, and creativity to make this an especially memorable day for the girls,” shared Gina. “One of my favorites parts of the day was hearing that the girls were texting to tell their friends that they should’ve come, too!”
North Sydney, Australia
Maryam Naseri, Segment Operations Manager, helped organize GPT activities for 25 young women (age 13- 15) from two schools in North Sydney. The day started with senior women leaders sharing their personal and professional journeys. Then students took part in a career mentoring session where they met with a range of Cisco employees from technical and non-technical roles from across the business. To spark interest and explore the world of technology, the students then participated in workshops which included Coding 101, collaboration games on the WebEx Board, and the Internet of Things. The workshops encouraged the students to use collaboration and problem-solving skills to solve several real-world, relevant problems. The day ended with a tour of the lab where students saw and experienced the “cloud” for the Internet.
“I believe it’s a great opportunity for female students to learn about career paths should they want to choose the IT industry,” said Maryam. “I first volunteered two years ago and was hooked after reading the students’ feedback. It made me realize the true impact of the program.”
Site lead XuanYu Shi shared the video below highlighting the GPT event in Shanghai. The team hosted a half-day event with three main activities. The first activity was a sharing session where both Cisco employees and students participated. Much of the session focused on career paths in technology. Next was a Raspberry Pi workshop that introduced the students to programming by using a small, affordable computer. The day concluded with a speed mentoring session. The students were excited to interview Cisco employees who are advocates for women in technology. Throughout the day, the students showed enthusiasm and curiosity. They also shared words of appreciation and were eager to know the timing of the next event.
XuanYu said: “Communicating with young people is full of fun and joy. It was great to experience GPT, and I learned it takes courage to challenge yourself.”
Support the Next Generation of Tech Talent
How are you supporting and mentoring the next generation of girls and young women? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. We invite you to get involved and learn more about Girls Power Tech and our support of International Girls in ICT Day.