Last night I attended a wonderful event supporting the Technovation Challenge, an inspiring program started by a friend of mine, Anu Tewary, to encourage high school girls to pursue STEM-related careers. This video captures the essence of the program and illustrates how participants learn about product development, design-thinking and programming through building Android Apps, such as World MPowered. The event, hosted at Andreessen Horowitz, centered around a panel of several high profile women in technology including Marissa Mayer, Padmasree Warrior, Freada Kapor Klein and Angela Benton. While the speakers were notable, what was even more impressive were the people in the standing-room-only crowd which included bright female entrepreneurs, like Leah Busque from Task Rabbit and Alexis Ringwald.
The main goal of the evening was to share inspiring stories of women in technology and to encourage the attendees to pay-it-forward by mentoring girls through the Technovation Challenge. Anyone can get involved by helping spread the word or signing up to be a mentor. The success of programs such as this, and others offered through Iridescent, is vital to building a diverse pipeline of women entrepreneurs and developers, and showing girls that it’s actually cool to be a geek.