By, Cecile Thirion, marketing director, Transportation Central and Local Government,  Xerox Services

Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t been born in a developed country. Where would I be today? I asked myself this question at the beginning of the year when I decided to volunteer as a professional mentor for the TechWomen initiative.

The TechWomen mentorship program is an initiative of the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs led by Secretary Hillary Clinton.  This fall for the second time in two years, the program matched 42 emerging women leaders in technology from the Middle East and North Africa with leading tech women in Silicon Valley.

TechWomen empowers women and girls through technology. It connects and supports the next generation of women in technology sectors by providing the access and opportunity needed to pursue careers in technology.

Xerox supports Science and Technology Education Programs. I am thrilled and honored to have been selected as a TechWomen professional mentor and to have been involved in this program for several weeks. With a 50-year heritage of developing and nurturing a diverse work environment, Xerox values unique and different views and ideas that come from diversity.

Investing in the leaders of tomorrow is a passionate and enriching journey. Through our community relations programs, our people and the Xerox Foundation, we’re helping to develop the next generation of scientists, engineers, inventors and leaders.

Although my workdays are packed with multiple projects and responsibilities, when I see the enthusiasm from these young women from the Middle East and North Africa, I am inspired to have contributed and given my time in September.  These emerging leaders are so energized about technology and  believe in the power of innovative technologies to transform our world.

Embrace emerging leaders in technology from unexpected places and get out of the office (excellent Harvard Business Review blog post on mentoring), you won’t regret it!


Cecile has lived in several continents and enjoys multicultural environments, she has been tweeting on theTechWomen mentorship program @CecileSF #TechWomen #tw2012.