Soroptimist International Esperance of Trinidad and Tobago partnered recently with Microsoft TT to host DigiGirlzTT 2020.

This event, the first Virtual DigiGirlz in the Americas, brought together 40 participants from three different countries and time zones. In spite of school closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Soroptimist International Esperance connected with secondary schools in the southern community and arranged for girls to participate.

Presenters logged on from Puerto Rico, Trinidad and the United Kingdom. The keynote speaker was Carla López Narváez, director of education of Microsoft Caribbean. She shared her career journey to Microsoft and advised the girls on the importance of developing career plans and setting goals.

Richard Potter, chief technology officer, Microsoft UK, reminded the audience of the pervasiveness of artificial intelligence. He gave multiple examples of AI in our everyday lives—movie recommendations, online shopping, GPS, chatbots and virtual assistants (Alexa). He listed 7½ things worth knowing about artificial intelligence (AI), one of which was that as powerful and clever as AI was, it works best with human input.

Rosemarie Buahin, Xbox Games Category lead of Microsoft UK and Ireland, presented on gaming. She revealed that gaming generated US$90 billion in revenue annually, more than the combined revenues of the music and movie industries. The audience was surprised to learn that the average age of a gamer was 36 years and that worldwide there were more women gamers than men.

She advised of the skills needed to pursue a career in gaming, the varying sectors within the gaming industry and where you can be employed. She encouraged the girls to go for it if they were gamers.

Local presenters were Pauline Joseph, founder of AC Marketing, whose presentation was titled “Résumé to LinkedIn”. She emphasised the need to “be intentional” when posting to social media and advised on creating a personal brand identity.

Sherezz Grant, Web developer and co-founder of Women in Tech Caribbean, shared her career journey into Web development and gave a short tutorial on developing a Web page.

The diversity of presentations showed the depth and width of career choices in the technology sector. All presentations were engaging and were well-received by the pupils and principals/teachers in attendance.

Links were provided to online resources.

Comments on the webinar

“Each presentation is better than the last...just adding layers. Enjoying it to the max!”

“I thought it quite an instructive and invaluable workshop.”

“I loved it, Miss. It was very educational and opened my mind up to different things”

“Thank you so much for having us Miss!!! We had lots of fun learning and listening. I now know that the IT field especially web development is something I can see myself pursuing in the future”

“It’s an eye-opening experience in different ways that I can do stuff that I like to do and also make money off of it”

DigiGirlz Day is a worldwide initiative organised by Microsoft Education to give high school girls opportunities to learn about careers in technology, connect with Microsoft employees, and participate in hands-on computer and technology workshops. Since its inception in 2000, it has provided technology education and interactive experiences to over 62,500 girls worldwide. SI Esperance hopes to maintain this partnership to continue to expose girls from schools in this catchment area to the world of opportunities available to them in the technology sector.

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