We partnered with TEDxAccra Women to offer a fast-tracked pre-screening process for TEDx women attendees who are considering or have ever considered building a career or chasing an opportunity in the tech industry. There was a big turn out at the TEDx Women event held at the British High Commissioner’s Residence on Friday, 28 October, and having some of our success stories – The Tress App founders, Esther, Cassandra and Priscilla – as 3 of the 12 speakers for the night was a truly proud moment and a testimony of what we do here, at MEST.
At the end of the evening, Kelechi – MEST Communications manager took to the stage to share a bit about MEST and how we recruit. She talked about the increase in female participation at MEST from 3% in 2008 to over 30% in 2016, and how much effort MEST is putting into partnerships and community support to encourage more women to consider careers in tech and STEM related fields.
The event opened with a political talk from some young change-makers in Ghana – Elizabeth Bidzakin, Eric Vondee, Winifred Frimpomaa and Winifred Selby, who spoke on the indices used by first-time voters to inform their decision to vote, and encouraged all Ghanaians to exercise their civic rights and vote at this year’s elections in some weeks.
The welcome address was delivered by the British High Commissioner to Ghana, H.E Jon Benjamin, who was also our venue host for the evening. He spoke on the need to include women and girls in all spheres of decision making, as their contributions are critical to development.
Next the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Dziffa Abla Gomashie, appreciated the role her mother and other women played in her life and journey to becoming a leader. She performed a beautiful poem she wrote for her mum, and urged women to support other women.
Heather Beem, Founder of Practical education network, delivered a practical session on the cons of the current education system in Ghana where she advised students who “Chew and Pour”, “Pass and Forget” to try something different – learn to remember. She shared her life goal which is to teach students in a way that they can care about what they learn. She encouraged schools to make science more practical when teaching – use experiments with physical things the students can relate to.
Dahlia Akl, head of Sales and Marketing at Coollink Ghana, took the stage to speak on the art of storytelling which helps to communicate ideas. According to Dahlia, story telling can come in pictures, in words, in dances, literally any form but it is important to keep it short as the average human attention span is getting shorter. In storytelling, the story is framed according to the audience to help them relate and stories should be impactful and easy to remember.
Afua Osei – Co-founder, SheLeadsAfrica spoke of how men should support feminism in their daily activities. She told the story of a man who left his job to work for his wife to that she succeed at her business. She encouraged everyone to become gender-blind – include both male and female in their circles and treat everyone with respect.
Ethel Cofie – CEO Edel Technology Consulting took the stage to advice on maintaining an internal validation system that keeps you motivated especially when the people you look up to let you down. Her message was clear and focused on feeding your passion and shutting down the voices of naysayers.
Christabel Dadzie – Founder of Ahaspora spurred bright sparks when she told a compelling story of how she left all she knew in America to move back to Ghana without knowing what Ghana held for her. She advised the audience to ‘just do it’ when they get the feeling to do so.
Priscilla Hazel, Esther Olatunde and Cassandra Sarfo – the Tress Ladies – took the stage to inspire the audience to make better decisions. They each told stories of the various decisions they took which brought them together at MEST, where they developed the Tress app. They spoke about how humans are the result of every decision they make in life. They encouraged everyone to persevere through the struggles and detours and stay prepared for opportunity.
Yvette Adounvo Atekpe, MD, Internet Solutions stepped up to speak to the women on carving their own paths. She spoke on the need to know where we are going, the need to prepare and have a plan. She encouraged women who are climbing the ladder and making differences. On the other hand, however, she advised all women to learn to carve their own paths and not to expect quotas as we are the key to our future. Even though, research shows that companies that had higher participation of women in decision making had higher margins and profit as women are very analytical in thinking, we have to work hard to earn our place at the table.
The event ended to loud applause and appreciation of all contributors, speakers, partners and sponsors. Thank you so much for a wonderful time, TEDx! And thank you, MEST for contributing to women empowerment in your own way!
–– Nancy Ewurum, MEST Class of 2017
PS: Wondering if you’ll be a perfect fit to join the MEST Africa community next year? Want to start a company of your own but have no money, supportive community or adequate know-how? Fascinated with the MEST brand and want to apply to be an entrepreneur in training (EIT) in 2017? Take this test to know if you’re ready for MEST. We’ll be contacting people we think fit us right!