By Fred Parvaneh
Persian Women in Tech – a California-based organization representing more than 2,000 women employed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) – is holding its first London gathering on October 26.
Billed as the “London Launch” of PWIT’s monthly meet-ups, panelists on Thursday will discuss the successes and challenges of the technology industry. The inaugural London event will be hosted by Airbnb and organized by PWIT’s London team lead by Leila Mansouri.
What prompted you to start Persian Women in Tech, and what do you hope to achieve?
PWIT is a Media Company with non-profit 501c (3) status. Our main office is in San Francisco, California with additional local chapters in San Jose and Los Angeles.
I decided to start PWIT after a conversation with an Iranian friend who was looking for an Iranian woman engineer but was not able to locate one. I saw [that there was an absence of] community for Iranian women in technology and decided to create this platform.
I hope that through PWIT’s platform, we are able to create a new movement of Iranian women in tech who support each other by creating opportunities – i.e. friendships, experiences, networks and professional relationships that may impact them not just today but in the future! The mission is to showcase role models and [provide] insight into the impact these women have on companies, communities and the economy.
What was your own background and professional career prior to creating PWIT?
I’m an entrepreneur with 16 years experience in the tech industry, a former vice president at Women 2.0, and an advocate for women, diversity and inclusion. I started my career as co-founder and managing editor of a digital and print Los Angeles-based magazine, and later joined a number of successful startups in Silicon Valley.
Currently, I advise a handful of early stage startups, am an avid technology enthusiast, and globally mentor many female entrepreneurs and founders in technology. I have spoken at numerous tech conferences about entrepreneurship involving women in tech, including Google I/O, Twitter, Microsoft 360, SXSW, Tech Inclusion and many more.
How do you decide on PWIT speakers and how are your organization and events funded?
The technology industry has many impressive Iranians, and I’m honored to have met most of the panelists we select through my career journey. They all have different career backgrounds and experiences. We want to highlight the different opportunities present in the tech/STEM area, but also point out the challenges as well as the career successes.
We are currently self-funded, and events are organized through sponsorship plus ticket sales. We will begin raising funds this year through foundations and individuals. If anyone is interested they can contact me.
How often do you have events and do you have others planned after London?
We try to schedule at least one event per month. We had successful launches in Los Angeles and Boston earlier this year. and after London we have planned events in Washington, D.C. New York City, Stockholm and Vancouver. Our goal is to raise the profile of Iranian women in tech, and judging by the turnout of our past events, I’m confident we will be able to showcase the contribution of Iranian women in their local communities, as well as the impact they are having on global economies.
Tickets to the “London Launch” at 40 Compton Street EC1V 0BD Thursday, October 26, 2017 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (BST)