Laura Owen
Polycom Employee

We live in the most interconnected time in human history, which is why Polycom has embarked on an innovative partnership with TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. TechWomen empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East. To do so, TechWomen works with corporate partners in Silicon Valley and around the world to expand the global pipeline of women in STEM.


At Polycom our vision is to unleash the power of human collaboration. This vision is at the core of everything we do. As we celebrate one of the largest product launches in our company’s history and our 25th anniversary, we’re excited about the road ahead. Our solutions will change the world and so will our people.


As a TechWomen corporate partner, Polycom is hosting three TechWomen mentees in our corporate offices. The mentees arrived on Oct. 5 and are working with a team of Polycom experts and mentors. These emerging leaders hail from Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone and Tunisia.


Given Polycom’s history and leadership position in the marketplace, the mentees have opted to incorporate collaboration technology into a formal business plan based around an application that could result in substantive improvements in their home countries.


Meet Polycom’s TechWomen Mentees:


Dhia Belhajali, whose home is Tunisia, says “After participating in the TechWomen program, I will share the knowledge and skills obtained from the program with my colleagues, friends and other women working in STEM fields. I also want to become a mentor for women and girls in my country to create awareness about the importance of women's roles in the technological development of their country. I will encourage women to participate in the implementation and conception of new and innovative technologies. My goal is also to increase women’s confidence, improve their capacity to be leaders, and encourage them to be active locally, nationally, and internationally.”


Gulshan Agivetova joins us from Kyrgyzstan, “I strongly believe that this mentorship program will have a huge impact on my professional life. First of all, it will charge me with new and vigorous enthusiasm and energy to excel in my career. Next, it will enhance my professional and managerial skills from the example of women leaders I meet. And finally, it will open up new horizons and will help me to outline my final goal of starting my own business. After the TechWomen program, I plan to organize an awareness campaign among girls in high schools to encourage them to choose technical fields. I will talk about great opportunities in this field, share the knowledge and information gained from this program, and insights from the role models I meet in Silicon Valley. I will also share how it is possible to succeed in a career in tech and as a good mother and wife at home.”


From Sierra Leone, Magdalene Remilekun Peters shares, “This mentorship will have an impact on my career and professional path because it will provide maximum exposure to new trends in technology and also help me connect positively to next-generation science and technological facts and concepts. I trust that this mentorship will put me in a better position to become a role model that will impact the lives of young girls and women back in my home country. I will join forces with TechWomen leaders operating in my home country to contribute to the cause of bringing positive awareness about the endless opportunities available to women of all ages in STEM fields. I will endeavor to use my acquired skills to personally mentor young girls towards choosing careers within STEM disciplines. I will also implement practical ways to influence families, schools, and communities to create an environment of encouragement that can disrupt negative stereotypes about women's capacity in these demanding fields. This will support girls' confidence in their ability to learn math and science.”


We face a global crisis when it comes to the shortage of women in STEM fields. As Polycom celebrates its 25th anniversary of doing big things in innovative ways, so too are we working to change the face of leadership in STEM. 


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Image Reference: Bonnie Marcus, “Mentors Help Create A Sustainable Pipeline for Women in STEM” Forbes. 28 March 2014.

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