Silicon Valley Women Tech Leaders in Nigeria for Mentorship Programme


Bennett Oghifo
A 16-member delegation of senior women technology executives and professionals from Silicon Valley, California, United States are currently in Nigeria from March 18 to 23 as part of the TechWomen programme.

A statement by the Public Affairs Section (PAS), US Consulate General in Lagos said the women tech leaders “represent organisations as diverse as Twitter, LinkedIn, Netflix, Mozilla, Autodesk, WomenCollegeTech, Stanford Graduate School of Business, Juniper Networks, as well as Fairrer Samani Group, Northgate Environmental Management, Jessica Dickinson Goodman Consulting, and the Institute of International Education.”

The statement said members of the delegation include Ms. Larissa Shapiro, Head of Mozilla’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Division, and Twitter’s Senior Software Engineer, Ms.  Elizabeth Deng. Ms. Deng, a computer science graduate of the University of Southern California co-organized “Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program” for the micro-blogging website in 2017.

Dr. Leedjia Svec, Director WomenCollegeTech and former Director of Programmes at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, alongside Ms. Maile Smith, Principal Geologist/ Chief Operating Officer at Northgate Environmental Management, are part of the travelling delegation.
The statement said the delegation is working with Nigerian Fellows of the TechWomen program to carry out mentoring sessions in Lagos and Abuja for young women working in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

During the week-long programme, the delegation would visit non-governmental organizations, private and public enterprises, universities, schools, tech incubators and innovation hubs to expand networks of women in STEM teaching and learning in Nigeria.

Launched in 2011, TechWomen is an initiative of the Department of State, which supports the US government’s global commitment to advance the participation of women and girls around the world in the business and technology sectors.
In addition to sending delegations of American women technology mentors abroad, the TechWomen exchange programme brings young women leaders from the Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria to the US for a professional mentorship at leading technology companies.