As part of efforts to encourage younger African females to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies, GE, (NYSE: GE), the world’s premier digital industrial company, has hosted a Women in STEM mentorship roundtable.
Female students from the Institute National Polytechnic Félix Houphouët-Boigny (INPHB) participated in the session held in Abidjan and led by four leaders in energy with exemplary resumes and combined decades of wisdom.
They included Kristin Carvell, Global Communications Leader, GE Gas Power; Kadidjatou Diallo, Managing Director, La Compagnie Ivoirienne de Production d’Electricité (CIPREL), Aphi Amoussou Nanan, Director of Generation, CI ENERGIES; and Bethel Nwaneri, Chief People Officer for GE Gas Power Sub Saharan Africa.
Participants discussed all things STEM, including, why they chose a career in STEM, the value they feel it brings to our communities, and advice they would give to young women seeking to enter the field.
The roundtable also focused on highlighting the need for strategic initiatives to sustain women in STEM related careers; to advocate for more diversity in energy and technology sectors and how this era of accelerated technological progress characterised by new innovations creates a greater sense of urgency for companies to tap into the entire technical talent pool to realise sustainable, competitive advantage.
GE has been a committed partner in diversity, inclusion and skills development in Ivory Coast. In 2018, GE Power partnered with INPHB in Yamoussoukro to train engineering students.
During a six-month period, selected Ivorian students participated in technical and English language proficiency internships at the GE Ghana office giving them exposure and training to ensure they can compete in the rapidly evolving global market. Most recently, GE commissioned an English language technology lab for the institution.
Speaking at the roundtable, Bethel Nwaneri, Chief People Officer for GE Gas Power Sub Saharan Africa said that the initiative was a continuation of the ongoing partnership between GE and Ivory Coast aimed at investing in technical skills and talent particularly for women.
“Companies that seek to change the world, should reflect the world. Beyond skills and talent development, mentorship is also important in increasing the representation of women in engineering, manufacturing, IT and product management roles. This is not just the right thing to do; it’s a necessary strategy to inject urgency into recruiting more women for technical roles. Our goal is to inspire the next generation of leaders and cultivate lasting interest in STEM careers,” she added.