Technovation Girls is a global community of changemakers who all want the same thing—to empower and support girls to become leaders and innovators. The Technovation community is thousands-strong—here is just one story showing how powerful that community is, and how incredible volunteer mentors are.
Technovation Girls Mentor Spotlight: Grisel Padin
Grisel Padin joined Technovation Girls as a mentor this past season, lending her expertise to a group of four girls in Veracruz Mexico as their mentor. It was her first year mentoring a team, but Grisel was well-equipped to support the team—as a CMS Country Manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprises, she brought years of project management experience to her team and helped them stay organized and track so they could successfully submit their app to the program.
Grisel’s team was Cybernetic Froggies, who developed an app to provide accurate and accessible sex-education to girls in their community. The girls decided to focus on sex-education to help address high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, which they settled on during a brainstorming session. “By raising some common problems in our community we realized that adolescents are currently very uninformed about the topic of sexuality and we, being part of the adolescent group, are also not fully informed, which is why we decided to create a solution and contribute our grain of sand to solve this social problem.”
The girls conducted research in their communities and among their peers to determine the issues most of interest to their target audience, and developed 3 mobile games and an information library that all live within the Sex Education app. Team Cybernetic Froggies are courageously creating their own path—the topics of sex education and healthy sexuality are not widely discussed. “We identified very little competition because there aren’t many applications that talk about the subject; since it is still a taboo. That’s something that we want to eliminate so that adolescents can express themselves freely about their sexuality without the fear of being judged or rejected.”
Guiding the team to success
All throughout the process of developing their app, the team was supported by Grisel and a co-mentor Pablo. Technovation Girls is a challenging, exciting program, but team Cybernetic Froggies faced the additional challenge of not knowing each other before the competition and not having met in person! The entire team was located in different places, and had to collaborate remotely. But with the guidance of their mentors, and tapping into their own courage and curiosity they learned to work together and trust each other.
Their hard work, innovative solution, and commitment paid off—team Cybernetic Froggies made it to the semifinals! When the results were announced, Grisel shared her excitement: “I am so happy and pleased!!! Technovation Girls announced the semifinals and the team I mentored was selected. Also they won second place at regional level in their country. It was my first time participating as a volunteer with Technovation and it was a rewarding experience. I expect to repeat it next year representing HPE! #hpegives”
When we learned more about Cybernetic Froggies, we knew we wanted to speak to Grisel about her experience this year, and she graciously agreed to an interview with us!
Meet Grisel, Technovation Girls Mentor
How did you hear about Technovation? What made you decide to volunteer as a mentor?
I heard about Technovation through my employer Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) where Technovation had a presentation looking for volunteers and registered after the call.
Tell us about your team! What was it like to work with them? How did you get to know them?
They’re the best team—Cybernetic Froggies, from Mexico! I was amazed and excited to see the talent and enthusiasm that these girls have to share their ideas and make them happen.
What was the biggest challenge your team faced?
Since we were all dispersed in different locations, being remote without the opportunity to meet face to face for improved communication, made it harder.
What was the hardest part of being a mentor for you?What was your favorite part of being a mentor?
The hardest part for me was organizing and balancing my time so I could be available for the girls when they require my support. But my favorite part was being able to guide the team to identify their unique talents, strengths, and how to work as a team by achieving synergy. And I developed skills too—mentoring is a great experience for the mentee and mentor as well, we level up together.
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of mentoring for Technovation Girls next year?
That their time mentoring will be the best investment to give back all blessings received.
Finally, why is it important to you to support girls in STEM and community leadership?
As a woman, I am proud to place all my effort and pass along my knowledge and experience to girls that want to pursue their dreams in STEM and thrive in community leadership.
An enormous thank you—and congratulations!—to Grisel and team Cybernetic Froggies. If Grisel’s story made you want to support girls to tap into their talent and ingenuity, become a mentor yourself! Registration for Technovation Girls is now open for students and mentors, so join us and change a girl’s life…and yours.