Amanda Olivier Calitz was selected to be part of the 2020/21 cohort of the Techwomen Programme, as well as one of the South African Top 50 inspiring women in 2020.
TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. TechWomen empowers, connects and supports women leaders in STEM through project-based mentorships, professional development workshops, and networking events at leading companies in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a 2020-2021 Techwomen emerging leader Amanda was mentored by Dr Jeannice Farrier-Samani.
Amanda and Dr Farrier-Samani kept in touch after the programme ended and have worked on a number of projects together including a Hackathon in 2021. Amanda is an advisory member of the Fifth Wave STEAM education initiative of which Dr Farrier-Samani is the CEO. The mission of Fifth Wave is to provide access and stimulate curiosity through a holistic learning environment that galvanises interest in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).
Techwomen is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and Dr Farrier-Samani was invited to be part of a panel discussion. Dr Farrier-Samani chose to honour Amanda by sharing her experience of having Amanda as a mentee.
InspiringFifty is a non-profit that aims to increase diversity in tech by making female role models in tech more visible.
The Inspiring Fifty initiative was established by Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters to spotlight the incredible women excelling in tech careers, first in the Netherlands and increasingly around the world, and prove this is an industry in which women can and do thrive against unfavourable odds. Some you will know, others you might not- but all should be on your radar as women, who are the key driving forces behind top businesses, women that will help shape the future and realise groundbreaking innovation.
These trailblazers, innovators and boss women play a major role in challenging the industry’s norms of what makes a leader. The Inspiring Fifty are important role models for encouraging more girls and women in technology, as well as inspiring future leaders and entrepreneurs to follow in their footsteps.
Inspiring Fifty had a drinks reception on 8 November 2022 at the Africa Tech Festival held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Amanda could invite a young up-and-coming woman in technology to accompany her. She invited Amber Clarke, a colleague at TOGI, and the BEdIP Coding and Robotics lecturer for 2023.
TOGI encourages women to take technology subjects and get involved in STEM, and as we can see there are lectures at TOGI that are leading the way!