WomenTech Global Conference Voices 2021: Speaker Nicaise Ishimwe

Nicaise Ishimwe is a team-oriented, and self-motivated Tech Professional, bringing over 8 years of experience in enhancing business software products development and validation in the fields of AI, telecommunications as well as web/mobile applications.

Having up-skilled recently in business management and administration and currently up-skilling in AI Product management & Machine learning, her aim is to be a key player in communities contributing to solving problems and needs of our society, using the blend of my technical and business managerial skills. Nicaise is a Co-Founder of SheUps and Software QA Engineer - Alexa International at Amazon.

Especially for the WomenTech Network, Nicaise agreed to give an interview and share her story.

Are you excited to be among the speakers at the WomenTech Global Conference 2021 and what motivated you to join our community of 100 000 women in tech, minorities, and allies?

I believe that for women in tech to thrive in our different areas of interest, expertise or intended growth in technology; it is crucial to strategically surround ourselves with a community of like-minded people looking for opportunities to empower each other. We often face similar experiences and challenges in this male-dominated tech industry, so I really value platforms that allow us to share those experiences, to exchange about our diverse perspectives and expertise, but also to tackle together opportunities to thrive in the sector while attracting more and more women to be leaders in this industry. 

That was the key motivator for me to be part of women in tech communities and in particular of  WomenTech Global community of 100 000 women in tech, minorities, and allies. I came across the organisation 2 years ago, and since have had the priviledge to attend some of the events such as the 2020 Global awards and the 2020 WomenTech Global Conference. Through all of those, I have been not only inspired by the diverse women leaders who contributed as speakers, but also gained  and learned a lot through the insightful perspectives shared in the different topics discussed.  

I am excited and looking forward to contributing to the upcoming 2021 Global conference, where I will be talking about Increasing Diversity in Tech entrepreneurship and specifically, how to enable Women Tech entrepreneurs to thrive in their enterprises or businesses. As someone who has been one, gone through the journey, and experienced failures but as well different type of support that allowed me to draw some key lessons, I welcome this opportunity to contribute to the conference to share and discuss with a wider community the key actionable measures we can take to help women in tech turn their tech knowledge and expertise into impactful tech businesses or solutions.

Share with us about your background, your journey in tech, and what inspired you to develop your career in this direction?

18 years ago when I was in primary education, I would never have thought today I will be working in big tech on technology solutions. I had no idea what technology was. Not because I was young, but because there was not much of it around me. I grew up in a beautiful green country in the heart of Africa, the country of a thousand hills, Rwanda. At the time, the country was just coming from a devastating genocide against the Tutsi that not not only wiped away many lives, but also destroyed the country at many economic levels. There was almost no infrastructure left and all sectors including the education one were poor. I would say the first time I got to really get exposed to technology was in my last year of high school at 16 years old, getting to see the first mobile phones being available to the public and accessing internet for the first time in cybercafé. Amazed by the opportunities such solutions could have solving social-needs in my home country, Rwanda, by enabling faster communications and services delivery, I was determined to learn how they work and potentially develop associated solutions. Empowered by my love and passion for science, and the drive to learn about telecommunications, I got a scholarship from my country to go study Sciences and Technologies abroad in Algeria. I later graduated in Telecommunications engineering in France Lyon,  with a double degree research master degree in electrical engineering. And that’s how I landed in Technology.

Since, I have had the chance to work in areas of my passion and interest, first as a Mobile applications developer for Streamdata, transitioning to Smart-mobility solutions validation with Alstom and Emovis Technologies, and current on Voice-Technology AI solutions with Amazon. 
One thing I noted however since my very first day of work was the gender diversity gaps in Tech organisations, gaps at different levels including workforce diversity, pay and recognition as well as growth and leadership positions. That ignited in me a drive to work on challenging the status-quo and advocating for change. Through different organisations such as Women In Tech Africa and SheUps Global Women tech entrepreneurs, I am working with colleagues and stakeholders to exploring different ways we can all work towards closing those gaps, by tackling the issue at 3 main levels: 

-    Attracting more, and especially the younger ones, into technology areas.
-    Developing more platforms to empower those already in sector to be leaders in their areas
-    Enabling Those in the area to turn their expertise into thriving tech or tech-powered ventures

Who would you advise to attend the Global Conference and why?

I would invite to this conference, anyone, regardless of their gender and regardless of their area of work, who

-    believes that our society can’t advance leaving out or behind women, who represent 50% of our population; 
-    believes that technology has the potential to bring solutions to many challenges and needs we have in our society
-    and believes that women in technology can play a significant and crucial role and have different expertise, insights and experiences to share to help build technology solutions. 

Women’s insights and perspectives are more than needed to be shared and understood by technology leaders, stakeholders, and consumers at large. 
We will advance further if we work together, and when every voice is given an opportunity to be heard. And that’s such platforms like the Global WomenTech conference is here. So please join and connect, share and learn, empower and get inspired.

Reserve your spot at WomenTech Global Conference in June 2021 to enjoy Nicaise's talk "How can we enable Women Tech Founders to thrive?", and learn from other inspiring speakers.

Thursday, May 27, 2021 By WomenTech Editor