Putting Things into Perspective

Editor’s Note: Lisa is a college graduate from the University of Arizona in the HR Pathways rotation program. her second rotation is in Global Diversity and she has been working on promoting Intel’s dedication to building awareness on the importance of education for women and girls and our involvement with an upcoming documentary, 10×10. Here, she writes about the first on-campus event held at San Jose State University on December 6, 2011. She is currently working to bring this event to a campus near you in 2012!

I can honestly say that I enjoy getting up and going to work every morning. I meet so many new people from various backgrounds, spend my days interacting with some of the most brilliant minds in the world, and generally laugh more than most people might consider normal. As a  College Graduate(CG)  having just six months under my belt with Intel, my rotation with Global Diversity has been an incredible opportunity to learn how the company relates to students, external partners, and the nonprofit organizations that we partner with. At our “Act Now” event at San Jose State University, I think I had my “Aha” moment. Having played a part in planning the panel event and reception, I was humbled and pretty inspired watching the event come to life. As a woman at a respected tech company, I felt  closely connected to the messages we were sharing around the power of educating girls.

The nationwide “Act Now” events sponsored by Intel are unique in a few ways. To begin with, each event starts with a vignette of 10×10 – a documentary about global women’s education initiatives being released next year. It is a short clip, but more powerful and moving than many full length movies that I have seen! I spend so much of my time working on what’s right in front of me( working on events, thinking about next steps) that I don’t take enough time to see the big picture. The snapshot of the documentary shown at Act Now brought me to tears and gave me more perspective in two minutes than I’ve had in years. Images of girls from around the world are shown in their homelands, smiling, working, and learning. Words describing their potential are flashed across the screen and the discrepancy between you sitting in that ballroom at an acclaimed educational institution and these girls working in third world countries hit me pretty strongly. The differences in opportunity are glaring, and the importance of Intel’s “She Will” campaign becomes apparent. These girls deserve the same opportunities that I, as a college educated woman, have- and we have a long way to go to be able to get there.

I sat in the back of the San Jose State ballroom and looked out on our audience- the diversity of the attendees was fascinating, and a key step in the right direction toward uniting strong, amazing female mentors with young, up and coming girls. There were women just beginning their college careers, women from our Computer Clubhouse Network, renowned professors, and CEO’s all engaging in passionate discussions on the same issues and relating to each other as though they were old friends. The connections formed in the two hour event were meaningful- and for me, incredible to watch. This forum brought people from all walks of life together and made the urgency of the issues at hand more apparent to me. I like to think it was a real initial step forward in bridging the gap that I saw in the vignette.

Towards the end of the event one of our panelists, Gabriela , a fellow Intel employee, took the time to chat with me. We shared some laughs, our backgrounds and philosophies. What struck me was her response when I asked her why she got a PhD in social science and her deep interest in the study of women and girls in engineering. She said that as a tech female, she was often asked why there were not more women engineers, and for years she would reply “I don’t know, I don’t understand it either. One day, I got tired of saying I don’t know and I decided to find out.” That curiosity – that commitment to finding an answer – is something that I want to recommit myself to. Challenging the status quo is something I see the company I work for doing day in and day out, and it’s something that I’m proud to be a part of.

There are a ton of great volunteer opportunities for people interested in womens and girls issues.  Interested in hearing more? Follow us on Twitter, @Intel_Diversity, to get the latest updates and find out how you can get involved.

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