24Notion partners up with U.S. Department of State in empowering girls through technology

In the last months, we have been hard at work to create a synergy through our Corporate Social Reponsibilities and our new effort at 24Notion and Girls In Tech. This summer we are partnering up with the U.S. Department of State in one of the amazing new initiative.  News Release is here

“U.S. Department of State Empowering Girls in the Middle East and North Africa Through Technology”.

Come see our leader, Ivo lukas, Founder/CEO of 24Notion & Chief Innovation officer/Global Mentorship programs of Girls in Tech will be speaking on July 16th in Washington DC at the Microsoft HQ with other top women leaders in the technology/entrepreneurship arena about the value of Mentorship and how you could become the next generation leader(s). This event is a VIP/private exclusive event only.

If media/journalist/bloggers are interested in being invited, please email pr@24notion.tv or ivo@24notion.tv

follow @techgirls @24Notion @girlsintech

More info below-

From June 25 – July 18, these tech-savvy teenagers from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen will engage with their American counterparts in the classroom and the community, working on their technical development and leadership skills. They will participate in an iD TechCamp, an interactive technology and computer camp, at Towson University; meet with leading U.S. technology companies in Washington, DC, and New York, NY; and take part in community service activities. The TechGirls will be also be mentored by representatives from top technology companies, making important personal contacts and expanding their networks to compete equally in an often male-dominated field. The TechGirls Program is administered by Legacy International.

TechGirls was first announced in 2011, on the heels of the successful first year of TechWomen, a mentoring program that pairs emerging female leaders with top American women in the technology sector.

Working to ensure a diverse experience, the Department has teamed up with several private sector partners, including: 24Notion, ALIVE!, Inc., AT&T, Bully Pulpit Interactive, Code4Charity, the DC Digital Divas Dinner, DoSomething.org, Facebook, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Girls in Tech, Girls Who Code, Google, OhMyGov Inc., Precision Network, Relief International, TechChange, Women Innovate Mobile, Yahoo!, and Verizon Communications. The State Department is also pleased to collaborate with the White House, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), and the Federal Communications Commission for the TechGirls program.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that 27 TechGirlsfrom eight Middle Eastern countries and the Palestinian Territories will arrive in Washington DC on June 25 for a three-week exchange. TechGirls provides girls from the Middle East and North Africa with the knowledge and resources to pursue higher education and careers in technology. This program builds on the U.S. global commitment to advance the rights of women and girls around the world.

 

Women Entrepreneurs: Pitch Your Idea

Tell your story and be bold is my motto.

As entrepreneurs, innovators, and simply ideators, you must keep pushing the envelope. Perseverance and creativity are the name of the game. A recent Wall Street Journal study and article, “Women Executives Make Venture-backed Companies More Successful,” finds that “Venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies where only males are in charge.”

Whether you are bootstrapping or pitching to get VC/angel investors, you must keep in mind two things about your business pitch: keep your story simple and sweet. I’ve been asked lately about what the top “must haves” for women are when pitching their businesses and/or ideas. There have to be some formulas for success, right? As women in a male-dominated industry, we should be sharing these trade secrets with each other!

Do women pitch differently than men? What makes our style different from men? The answer would be there are no gender differences in pitching your idea to an investor. Bottom line: whether you are men or women, you must do your due diligence in understanding your product and services. Only then can you know how your VCs/audience will see or react to your pitch, and you can effectively make persuasive arguments to cater to them.

One thing to understand is that you will undoubtedly get the door shut in your face. In fact, I’ve chatted with one entrepreneur who said, “I’ve pitched to over 25 VCs and they all said no.” I would say to do your homework! Learn about who the VCs you’re pitching to are. One size doesn’t fit all! You must know who they are and if they’ll even give your business model a glance so that you can strategize. Lastly, never give up!

With that in mind, here are my top 5 must-haves.

How to Pitch Your Ideas

WHAT/WHY/WHO/HOW/WHEN

1. What is your idea? Explain and elaborate about your concept
2. Why will this idea work? Explain your inspiration and the data to back it up
3. Who are your competitors? Or is there a similar concept?
4. How would this idea make your consumer’s life easier over your competitors? The next question would be how you get your Return of Investment(ROI)–you have to explain the benefits!
5. When will this launch? Explain your launch milestones and strategy behind them

I would love to hear your stories of your successful pitches! Tell me about your top advice to all of the entrepreneurs out there who are ready to tell their story in the comment section.

Check out the full study here by Dow Jones VentureSource

 Published on HuffPost

Defining Your Own Success: Your Life, Your Way

Published on HuffPost

Over the last couple months, we’ve heard a lot of buzz around and amplified discussions about women on top. Here, I’m talking about women leaders in the tech sector. There are a lot of questions coming out of these discussions, with people asking things like: “Why aren’t there more women on top?” “Why isn’t there more gender equality in today’s workforce?” “What’s the biggest hurdle that women face?” And “How do we women overcome those challenges?” Well, I’ve addressed some of these issues before, and there has been plenty of dialogue on these topics already. There is still more to uncover, though, which is why I would like to explore something new.

My question: In today’s era of “women on top,” is it considered unsuccessful for women to be stay-at-home moms? My answer: most definitely NOT.

Stay with me here — I know what you’re thinking. You probably think that women homemakers are being subjected to some type of backwards role of domesticity, that by being stay-at-home moms women are somehow stopping their progress. But, think about this. The tech business landscape is changing and making room for women, but this has also never really happened before. The shift to “women on top” businesses means that lifestyles of top leaders may also need to shift. My take? Define your own success. Whether you are working and moving up the ladder or raising your child at home — both are equally successful.

Recent articles and posts about this outlook have been swarming around the internet, as well as panel discussions across the country. This was an especially hot topic when Marissa Mayer was recruited as President and CEO of Yahoo. Mayer faced a large challenge in her new position: dealing with the public and employees about her ban on remote work settings. Then, an article popped up about Mayer’s private life, painting her own office-work balance negatively. I was taken aback that banning remote work would have anything to do with Mayer’s private family life, but this has risen as a hotly debated issue. It’s true that the ban may be a large burden on some employees, but this may have happened because of the burden Mayer carries as a woman on top. I think we must be supportive in her decision. Yahoo was on top at some point before it diminished over the years. Now, as Mayer rolls up her sleeves to prove herself in this important role, the world is watching (and watching closely). Do I believe that she is banning all remote settings work? No, I don’t think so. I think she is trying to bring Yahoo back up to the way it used to be, a leading company. For Mayer, success is optimizing the performance of her team in a collaborative way. This is great for Yahoo — but still isn’t the only definition of success women can have.

One of my friends recently decided that she’ll raise her little girl at home. She is a PhD at heart and is very noble in society. After her first child, though, she couldn’t stand the fact that she’d be away from her daughter. Both my friend and her husband made a very tough decision. She decided she would raise her daughter rather than pursue more opportunities in her field. Was it worth it? She is climbing up the ladder of her own family’s success…and she loves every minute of it. To me, that’s a success!

The interesting part about this discussion, whether positive or negative is that we have the tendency to judge and create our own conclusions of what success looks like for others. Why are we so shortsighted about the idea of choice and the freedom to choose our own paths? We don’t necessarily need to get caught up in the rat race. Yes, it’s very noble when a woman decides to stay at home and raise her children. And yes, it is very noble if she decides to reenter the workforce later on. At the end of the day, define your own success and be proud of your own accomplishments for you and your family.

I attended a function where the panel had a specific discussion on whether women are less ambitious than men. Is it true that we are not as aggressive as men? I think there are a lot of factors in all of this. It’s based on each individual personality. Sure, we might be faced with gender inequality at some point, but we shouldn’t be judging ourselves and others by criteria based on gender biases. Too often we get caught up in the idea of men vs. women, but this is too surface level; we must get to the roots of it. After all, success isn’t defined by who is more or less aggressive.

I recently ran into this article. I think the phrase “you are your own worst enemy” really is true because we criticize and judge others without the full story. Here’s an interesting fact about my career: I’ve had around a dozen bosses — half men and women — and some of the women bosses I’ve had have been horrible. Of course, I’ve been blessed to have some great bosses and mentors as well. All of the male bosses that I’ve had were supportive and wanted to see me succeed, yet some of my female bosses were demeaning and unappreciative. Do I dwell upon it? No! I’ve just realized that those bosses were of some personalities and characteristics that I don’t work well with. All of this taught me how to encourage other women aspiring to be leaders. As a result, I’m extremely passionate about building relationships and mentoring others, especially with fellow women. This is my definition of success!

Whether you’re a woman who wants to stay at home or go to work, define your own success so that you can achieve it. It all comes down to choice! You get to choose the path you want to take. Life should, indeed, be greater than just the sum of your choices — it’s the value you get from being successful in your own way.

Father’s day gift guide: June 16, 2013

Post published on Huffington Post

You’ve done the spring cleaning, completed a successful Mother’s Day and will have the kids on summer break soon. With your busy schedule, you may have forgotten that Father’s Day is right around the corner…but that doesn’t mean you can’t get Dad a great gift that screams “Happy Father’s Day.”

Check out my top 6 “must haves” to shower your dad/husband/grandpa with love this Father’s Day. Looking for gift ideas for everything from a sporty to the tech-savvy dad? Want a list from luxury to affordable? I’ve got it covered for you!

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1. Sony’s SS-AR series: the Loud and proud
Sony SS-AR1 and AR2 Loudspeakers are uniquely crafted for music & movie fans. These speakers are for the die-hard music fans who pay attention to the small details of their music. The high quality craftsmanship is due to the combination of unique woods used to produce clear, exceptional sound. These woods are the tight-grained and rigid maple wood from Hokkaido, Japan harvested only in November when the grain is at its tightest and Finnish birch, used to balance out the sound and used in the side and rear panels. The Loudspeakers sport a sleek look with precision performance. These speakers range from 10K-27K, but if your dad’s a music enthusiast with an ear for detail, the astonishing clarity and natural balance of Sony’s top-notch SS-AR Series speakers will blow him away.
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2. Trade In’s for the Newest Smartphones? Smart! 
AT&T has a promotion that can help you snag a great new phone for Dad. The Trade In and Trade Up program allows you to get 50% off the newest smartphones–LG Optimus G Pro, HTC One, and Samsung Galaxy S4–when you trade in your current smartphone. This is a sweet deal for any dad, especially the tech-savvy one who needs high speed and innovation! The LG Optimus G Pro is equipped with countless features, including an app that turns the phone into a universal remote and an advanced 13MP camera with Dual Recording front and rear cameras. The HTC One is packed with features like sound with built-in Beats by Dr. Dre Audio, the HTC Zoe mode that lets you grab an entire picture and bring it to life in three-second snippets, and comes loaded with AT&T’s DriveMode app that helps curb texting and driving. Last but not least, the anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 features no-touch air control for scrolling through pages without using your fingers, a 13MP camera that takes great shots in low-light, and video recording in full HD at 30 frames per second. If your dad sports a good power color, AT&T is taking pre-orders now for the red Galaxy S4 hitting shelves June 14th.
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3. 3D Blu-ray Home Theater System brings the full experience home 
Sony’s Premium Home Theater System (BDV-N8100W) is an entertainment fan’s dream come true. This complete set includes a full HD 1080p Blu-ray Disc player, vibrant 5.1 channel HD surround sound, a 7″ sub-woofer, and 1000 watts of power. This home theater system has OneTouch capability with NFC devices, Bluetooth, and built in Wi-Fi for great streaming options–smartphones, tablets, Pandora, YouTube…you name it! Stream entertainment with the system’s flawless sound quality thanks to magnetic fluid technology in the system’s five speakers–you’ll never miss a line in a movie again. If your dad is an entertainment enthusiast, he’ll also enjoy the 3D capabilities of this system, in which you can convert 2D Blu-ray and DVD’s into 3D movies.
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4. Sperry Top-Sider Shoes: Authentic Originals from the sea 
If Dad enjoys fashion that’s about luxury, craftsmanship, and authentic originals, look no further than Sperry Top-Sider. Since 1935, Sperry has brought men who have a passion for the sea high quality shoes and fashion. The company crafted the world’s first boat shoe that has become extremely popular today. After over 75 years of business, Sperry continues to the Authentic Original and the lifestyle that it represents. Your dad doesn’t have to lead a nautical lifestyle to enjoy these fashionable “gold standard” shoes, though. The summer air and some relaxation is all anyone needs to get in the mood for some original boat shoes, sandals, or oxfords.
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5. Digital Life: the new face of safety
Dads may like to live on the edge, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate safety, especially when it comes to family. Home safety isn’t always easy, though–or is it? Protecting your home, unlocking a door or changing the thermostat setting from wherever you are can be as easy as if you were at home with the new Digital Life security system. Digital Life is an all-digital, IP-based home security monitoring service with home automation via an app for your smartphone, tablet or PC. Digital Life is a brand new venture for AT&T that’s being driven with dedicated monitoring centers. If you live an area where AT&T has launched its Digital Life market*, you can set up the system for your home–and make sure Dad doesn’t have too much fun playing with these features!

*AT&T has just launched in Baltimore, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, and Washington, D.C. The original launches were in Atlanta, Austin, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Riverside, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis and select areas of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan area. Right now, there’s a promotion to get up to $100 off a Smartphone or Tablet when you purchase AT&T Digital Life.
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6. Sony Shelf Audio System: A Boombox with Style
The Shelf Audio System is part of a line of products that music lovers have been waiting for; this is the ultimate music listening experience. This is a full boombox that connects to devices with OneTouch technology, where users simply touch their near-field communications (NFC) enabled devices like smartphones and tablets to the system to start streaming music. The kicker? Built in LED strobe lights that can turn your living room into a dance club. Even if your dad doesn’t like to dance, he can appreciate the amazing sound quality and innovation of this audio system.

 photo credits: Sony, Sperry, AT&T