On the #HernovationPersonOfTheWeek series, today we celebrate Sylvia Mukasa, a 2014 TechWomen Fellow and the Founder and CEO of GlobalX Investments Ltd.
Mukasa founded GlobalX, an ICT & Telecoms Consulting firm out of the passion for using technology to provide solutions for businesses and for social impact. She was named a 2014 TechWomen Fellow, an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs launched by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2011.
From 2015-2017, Sylvia served as a Next Einstein Forum Ambassador representing Kenya. Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. She is an Operations Board Member for Women in Tech Africa and also serves as the Kenya Chapter Lead.
We talked to Mukasa on her STEM journey and the general experience having climbed the ladder into global limelight as a woman in tech, and some of the advice she would give to the younger generation.
Why did you get into STEM?
I easily get bored and like to try new things and discover. I also like to make a difference in people’s lives by providing or being part of solutions provided. STEM fields are the only ones that allow one to do all these. I have a mixed educational background but I was always attracted to the technology and application aspects.
“When I was studying ACCA, I did not enjoy the manual calculations and topics like Business Law (which I was good at) but I enjoyed setting up functional accounting systems like SAGE Pastel for businesses to simplify stuff.”
When I joined Business School, most of my colleagues enrolled for an MBA but I settled for an MSc E-Business to get the drift of tech.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
Being mentioned in the closing speech of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Nairobi on 26th July 2015 by Maria Contreras-Sweet, the then member of former President Obama’s cabinet and the US Government’s lead minister on entrepreneurship as a courageous female contributor to Kenya’s entrepreneurial technology space.
That was quite an honour! I have been involved in organizing many events to provide a platform for women entrepreneurs and professionals in STEM to learn from each other; providing mentorship/ opportunities for young Girls to get into STEM and showcasing female-role models to them so that they never feel they cannot make it in STEM. Knowing that I have taken a deliberate effort to be part of the change-makers to change statistics that negatively impact women is a great achievement for me too.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Unconscious bias is one challenge I have faced. “Some people will never accept that gender does not define what we are capable of, I decided to never let them get to my nerves, so I do not wait for their validation, I validate myself and so their opinion does not matter.” Self-belief carries the day.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
Believe in yourselves, be dynamic and keep re-inventing yourselves. Technology is fast changing and you cannot afford to be static to remain relevant.
TechWomen has endeavored to “empower, connect and support the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)”.
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