Last Friday, we had the pleasure of hosting 43 TechWomen mentees at LinkedIn as part of our Connect You sessions. Connect You focuses on educating our members about how to best utilize LinkedIn for their professional needs. Previous Connect You sessions focused on job seekers and nonprofits so we were excited to extend it to the amazing women who make up TechWomen.

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs which empowers women and girls through technology. Our very first TechWomen mentors at LinkedIn are Prachi Gupta and Erica Lockheimer. These mentors were selected for their contributions to software engineering, their commitment to advancing women in technology, and as future role models for women everywhere. TechWomen recently partnered with the Institute of International Education (IIE) to bring 43 women from 18 Middle Eastern countries to intern for three weeks at technology companies throughout Silicon Valley. Prachi and Erica were chosen to mentor Nour Alkhail from Jordan for her three week stay in the U.S. Nour is already an important part of our team, and we are excited to nurture  this relationship for many years to come.

The mentees and IIE staff arrived at LinkedIn’s Mountain View headquarters for an informational session and networking mixer. The women spent the first part of the afternoon setting up their LinkedIn profiles and learning best practices from LinkedIn employee volunteers. The energy in the room was infectious. The women were eager to learn and were interested in learning about Profile, Groups, and Search features. TechWomen currently uses their own LinkedIn group to facilitate conversation between the mentors, and we are proud to say that even avid LinkedIn members learned a couple of new tricks. Later in the day, we were joined by mentors from all around the Bay Area, from Intel, Facebook, Google, and others for networking and delicious food.

What stands out the most from these events is the power of relationships. We are all made from the same cloth — love the same way, laugh the same way, and in the same way want to build lasting relationships with those around us. TechWomen is allowing us to reach out to a different part of the world and LinkedIn is enabling new friendships with friends from far away places.

We can’t wait to do this again!