In 1976, in an obscure scholarly article, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich wrote, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” 43 years later, his words still live.
The second Hernovation forum co-hosted with East Africa CIO100 Symposium and Awards, at the Lake Naivasha Resort, had women agree to having been socialized from young ages into believe that they can not challenge the society’s set code of conduct for women, that inhibits them from airing their opinions.
In the IT domain and maybe generally, as noted Tonia Kariuki, the Managing Partner at Tellistic, women cannot afford to conform to this societal standard anymore.
“Well behaved women do not leave history,” avered Tonia who guided women on how to go through a rigorous mentoring relationship and how to choose a mentor. She asked women to always define their value propositions and to own the responsibility to always mentor a woman below them.
Laura Chite, the CEO CIO East Africa who gladly opened the second version of the annual Hernovation forum thanked attendees for coming, listing its progress hitherto.
“In 2019, the room is full with new partners, sponsors and delegates unlike when we started in 2018,” said Ms Chite, adding; “We wish to even better the experience going forward.”
Laura added that the biggest challenge women face and that hinders their growth is the lack of a proper framework around mentorship.
Hernovation was born of the act to conceptualize a platform that promotes and enhances inclusion and involvement of more women into active participation in the tech space and senior managerial positions.
Also at the forum was Everline Kamau, the Channel Lead East Africa at VMware, who noted that women need to be authentic about themselves as to present their true personalities to their employers and spouses in order to avoid ‘suffering in silence’ especially when people cannot leverage on their strengths and weaknesses for having not been black and white about it.
She said, “Own the power of authenticity and self awareness, asserting your influence by consistently leveraging on your circles (network).”
Other speakers included Catherine Kinyanjui, the Employee Experience Lead at the East Africa Breweries Limited who, while speaking about the importance of public speaking said that fear limits career growth.
“Success is not final and failure is not fatal,” avered Kinyanjui. Adding; “women are their own limit.”
At a panel discussing personal and corporate branding, moderated by Robert Bobby Yawe, the CEO Synaptech Technologies, delegates were advised to use digital platforms in the most objective way as a branding tool since anything that happens in the internet ‘lives’ forever thereafter.
Overally, it was agreed that women have proved better positioned to rise to leadership roles in this fast evolving technology space owing to support structures in some organizations, however their distinct minority in the tech-workforce and leadership positions calls for deliberate accelerated efforts to empower them through such development programs.
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