Greetings from Cusco, Peru!
I am honored to be working with Wake International on their Tech2Empower Program in Cusco, Peru. The program hosts a delegation of women who work in the tech industry to share their knowledge and skills with women-focused nonprofits, startups and girls empowerment programs in developing countries and in the US.
Our group of advisors includes 20 impressive women from 8 technology companies who are sharing their skills and expertise with local women entrepreneurs help them to scale their businesses. From organic energy bars to artisan jewelers and even a Llama trekking company, five small businesses in Cusco will benefit from the collective knowledge and work of these twenty women. They will also spend time with and encourage girls from local schools to explore tech careers.
The first day day kicks with an orientation. The rest of the day is spent learning about the local culture, including a walking tour of the city, visiting an historic site, and ending with a local cuisine cooking lesson. It is great to have a day of fun before starting an intense week working on service projects.
The orientation included having one of the advisors, Kanika Raney from Google lead us in an icebreaker based on a workshop called #IamRemarkable, a Google initiative empowering women and underrepresented groups to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond.
The workshop was developed by several women who work at Google. The program teaches women how to build confidence with self-promotion. The idea is that by learning how to speak openly about your accomplishments, it helps others understand your strengths and skills. The goal is change cultural norms that tell women to be humble and not to speak out – and it ultimately holds them back.
Here’s how Kanika facilitated the exercise.
- She started with a brief overview about why it is important for women to speak out and bust the myth that women should be humble.
- She handed out cards that said I am Remarkable and asked us to write about something unique, either personal or professional, that illustrates why we are remarkable. She cautioned it shouldn’t be something in our daily routine or general.
- The next step was for everyone to read out loud what they wrote or share with the room. She modeled reading hers.
- Next, she asked for a volunteer to come to the front of the room and read their card. And then a second volunteer, until organically everyone in the room had shared their #IamRemarkable.
- She closed by summarizing the common accomplishments and urging us to remember that as women in the workplace, we should share our accomplishments, that it is not self-promotion.
This was a very empowering icebreaker – and a great way to get to know a little bit more about the people I will spending the next week with on a service project here in Cusco, Peru. She will be doing this exercise with young girls at the high school we are visiting later this week.