In early June, Meridian International Center welcomed the “Women in Technology” group to Washington, D.C. The group consisted of 12 women from over 10 countries, including Barbados and Iraq. While staying in the nation’s capital, the women attended meetings on various technology- based topics with discussions on dynamic issues such as entrepreneurship and the role of technology in strengthening women’s economic opportunities. After Washington D.C., some members of the group visited Austin and San Antonio to learn about business incubators, while others spent time in Denver to explore renewable energy options and state-funded technology associations.
For their last stop in the U.S., all of the women converged in San Francisco for two days of programming. In the Bay Area, the group visited the offices of Women 2.0, a media company that offers content, community, and conferences to aspiring and current female innovators in technology. The CEO of Women 2.0, Ms. Shaherose Charania, spoke to the women on female ingenuity, highlighting how Zipcar was originally created by two women in 2000. The company originally started with one car in the Boston area, before expanding into New York City and Washington, D.C. In July 2005, Zipcar received $10 million in funding from Benchmark Capital. In addition to sharing success stories of women innovators, Ms. Charania also offered the group practical tips to start their own companies, such as first establishing a solid customer base and seeking help from the government.
After their Women 2.0 appointment, the group met with Synopsys, which provides products and services that accelerate innovation in the global electronics market. The company is a leader in electronic design automation and semiconductor intellectual property, amd gives its customers a competitive edge in quickly bringing the best products to market while reducing costs and schedule risk. Karen Bartleson, Senior Director of Community Marketing and President of the IEEE Standards Association, addressed the women on promoting female involvement in the high tech industry.
While some technology companies only assist universities by providing software for free or at a reduced cost, Synopsys provides additional suport by training professors and educators, and providing full tech-support through their customer support center. Synopsys also boasts the only Industry/University Education Model. The company travels to engineering colleges, chooses the best students, and invites them to an on-facility university to complete the last two years of their Bachelor, Master, or PhD studies. There, the students focus on a curriculum focused on building tools to later be used by Synopsys customers. In this way, students are allowed to learn and innovate simultaneously.
After three weeks, the participants of the “Women in Technology” group returned home with a deeper appreciation for the important role they play in inspiring other women to enter the field of innovation in business. The Meridian Team hopes that these women will continue the dialogue, and get more young women interested in science and math careers.
“Featured Engineer: Karen Bartleson.” Interview with Karen Bartleson | EEWeb. Electrical Engineering Company, n.d. Web. 25 June 2013.