Lily Edinam Botsyoe, IT Community Engagement Lead, shares what she learnt from the Commonwealth100 programme – including the importance of collaboration when making change happen.
As a woman in tech aspiring to become a tech policy analyst, I am constantly exploring new opportunities to sharpen my leadership skills. I believe leadership is an essential skill for a young person to be equipped for success in the future of work, and that responsible and accountable leadership is a catalyst for change.
Building responsible leaders and providing young people with the skills that enable us to pivot for the future allays the fear associated with the future of work and empowers us to address issues that affect young people the most.
As a woman, I have gathered that there are few women-in-tech in leadership positions and only a crippling number of women are being retained in companies or given promotions. This is what drives me to be a role model to younger girls by putting my competencies to work and leading when possible. This enhances representation and helps change the narrative while creating diverse leadership fronts.
Using Open Source Leadership skills to navigate the pandemic
Being a part of the Commowealth100 (CW100) programme gave me the added advantage of learning 21st century leadership skills by highlighting the need to be a leader who is: awake, interconnected, trustworthy, accessible, and quick. These skills, together with the knowledge derived from my discussions with youth from around the world during the programme, have helped me to navigate the challenging times we are currently faced with due to the global pandemic.
In such times where systems are changing, we are presented with the rare opportunity to collaborate and work online – staying connected with friends, family and work colleagues. The CW100 modules on AI and the future of work have come in handy as they provided valuable lessons on digital work and the essence of pivoting and adapting.
I have used my Open Source Leadership skills to lead four webinar sessions for the West African Youth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) discussing with topic experts on cybersecurity, human rights, access, digital inclusion and misinformation, fake news and democracy. These webinars also gave young people the opportunity to draft youth messages on the topics which will be shared with the larger IGF body in the sub-region.
Looking forward and encouraging collaboration
Looking to the future and taking what I have learnt from the CW100 programme with me, I am working on a new series of live interviews on LinkedIn dubbed the '2Gen Leadership Series' where I speak to a young person in a particular field and an older person in the same field to encourage sharing on what was, what is now and the projection for future leadership in the industry. This will allow for collaboration between young and senior leaders. For example, 2Gen of Leaders in Policy, 2Gen of Leaders in Medicine, 2Gen of Leaders in Arts, 2Gen of Leaders in Fashion and so on.
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As a woman in tech, I look forward to creating change and supporting the next generation of accountable and responsible leaders in everything I do.