Technovation, a worldwide technological and entrepreneurial competition, allow participants to code a prototypical phone application and practice doing business management in order to solve a controversial and real-world problem. “Girls for a change.” It is a project with the vision to spur social innovation and spread it out among the girls, to raise the awareness of this issue to those that discouraged to do so by society. Since the program is for young and bright female youth, I was not able to attend this fascinating project.
At the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, I and the other students were introduced into a new interesting project called “Technovation Mentoring”. Our academy needs eight volunteers to be a Technovation mentor for the Liger club. Joining this project will mean that I will invest my time and effort in helping my team to achieve their goals and to be apart of the movement and the force to allow more girls in the fields of technology. I realize that all over the world, girls, a noun that means a female child, were restricted to opportunities that were not given to them because of who they are. I see it as a problem. I want to combat it and that gave me the inspiration to be apart of Technovation.
It sounds like a very beneficial and great opportunity for me. But that was just the first interpretation. Here are the details. In order to be certified as a Technovation mentor, we need to take a two full weekend mentor training. When the program start, at least eight hours of our week should be spent on helping and guiding the team, that exclude hours spent on trips and personally hours associate to this project. There will be a lot of weight on my shoulder if I decide to join this project. I want to help and be a part of it, but also I am very busy. I spent a lot of time, thinking about this opportunity. I thought about my other projects and upcoming events. With such a difficult decision, I self-evaluate how passionate I am on different projects. I weigh the impact different projects provided and with a week of deciding, I chose to seize this opportunity.
I am the business mentor for my team of five second-cohort female students. All of them had joined Technovation before, so I expect them to understand the process and work hard; giving me less pressure. However, three of them won first place in the National Pitch the previous year, which give more pressure to our team since we wanted to own that title again. I wanted to strengthen the connection with my team, provide the team with help and guidance and inspire and motivate them in the purpose of modeling the process of learning that will help them as change-agents, in the future.
Working with them would be my honor.
The first week of Technovation started off like usual. But, our first meeting was a little bit awkward and especially when it took four hours. As their mentor, we went over a few points about Technovation with them. We showed them the overall schedule and how we imagine our journey would look like. We have them brainstorm our ideas for the project. By cooperating with them, quality behaviors and bright characteristics started to leak out. They are really smart, collaborative, enthusiastic, and determined. That made me confident that our excursion will be smooth. However, I also noticed that they’re lacking self-awareness and communication. They stumble upon the barrier of recognizing their problems and needs and communicate it out to the team or the mentor.
With the project started at the beginning of the year, we were struggling. We were stuck trying to stay on the right track and be on the same page. We were unorganized. Our progress is slow. Action needs to be taken in order to solve this problem and make our team run better.
As mentors, we had them organize their work. We had them evaluate themselves to find the different problems and tasks they need to solve or complete. They create a detailed to-do list and that had improved the organization within our team. During each meeting, they need to update to us their progress.
Weeks passed by and we are almost at the end of our journey. Now, we all know each other very well: we were like a family. We managed to turn our ship the right way. Even on the school break, when they are supposed to relax and rest, they are still working. Some of them work until 10 or later, to finish up this project qualitatively.
About five seconds before the submission is close, we had our final pitch video, demo-video, drawing and screenshots of prototypes, and the source of code submitted. We had greatly achieved the most difficult stage of our journey. But there are more to come. We need to also pitch our project to professional judges, so we need to get ready for the upcoming event.
We work and we rehearse together. We spent the nights and weekends preparing even though most of our work is completed. We confidently passed through the mini-pitch and was ready to continue to the national pitch.
It’s a long and great journey with them. Throughout the project, I had recognized that I had been a better communicator, risks calculator, and a motivator.
There can be a very great idea but it is meaningless if you don’t communicate it out. I had gain more confidence in approaching people informally and professionally. I had tried to encourage others to try being in their discomfort zone and try to communicate because communication is a path that will link us all together.
I started considering different opportunities as a chance to learn opportunity-cost. There will be a lot of opportunities offering to you but that doesn’t mean that you should take all of them. I learned to carefully make my decision based on my schedule and needs. I learned how to make most of the given chances; to receive the fullest potential of each opportunity.
Lastly, our team made many unforgettable moments. There is an unconditional bond built between us. There were times when we were happy, sad, scared, worried, celebrating, and more. Mentoring my team allow myself to actually learn a lot of different business aspects academically and soft skills internally. I had tried to motivate my team in different ways to energize them. They worked very hard and to be able to pump their rolling wheel, it is a great achievement for me.
Our journey ended at the last stage of the program, the national pitch. We spent a lot of time preparing for this event. Days. Night. Sweats. Tears. They had presented their well-prepared pitch. They had answered the difficult questions. They had stood up in front of hundreds of people. They did it all. Our journey ended with the first place junior division national pitch winner. It is very special to them and most importantly, it is even more remarkable seeing my team exchange their determination with the awards.
I am so proud of them.
Technovation allow me to learn and explore more in different skills. It is a very new experience and I had learned a lot from it. I got to work with young change agents. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I hope that I had made a positive influence on them in different ways. I believe in the action of empowering others through role-modeling. I envision them to change the world using the experiences they learned from this project. Like a formula-1 race, I am the pit stop worker, changing wheels for the racer so that they can finish the race safely and successfully. I establish change through assisting and displaying change-agents characteristic to future change agents. “Girls for a change.”