Two young women from Kochi are flying to two international cities to take part in high-profile summits. Team Fayz tracks down their journey.

PEHIA is flying high. Enfa Rose George and Sreepriya Radhakrishnan, the two founders of the non-profit organisation working towards the cause of spreading technical awareness among gender minorties, are heading abroad for two separate high-profile events.

Enfa Rose George is already in Australia to attend the prestigious Google WTM Scholarship while Sreepriya Radhakrishnan will head for San Francisco in the United States to take part at the CMX Summit.


An excited Sreepriya speaks to Team Fayz:

Can you tell us a bit about the CMX summit?

CMX Summit is one of the biggest community managers’ conferences in the world. I have always been amazed by the stories in CMX podcasts and YouTube videos. As a beginner, this is one of the best opportunities I can get to learn from excellent community architects from all over the world.

When did you decide about crowd-funding and how was the response?

I didn't suddenly jump into the idea of crowd-funding. It was a thoughtful decision. I've considered all the other options I had. Asking my family was never an option since I come from a middle-class family. I discussed this with my friends and collectively we decided to go for crowd-funding. I am grateful to my friends Shibin and Vinayan for being with me in every decision I made. It took me two weeks to properly plan my campaign and the first push I got was immense. The comments and wishes I got from all over the world surprised me. It was overwhelming. I don't know how to thank the CMX family, especially Erica, who was my point of contact at CMX and the one who gave life to my campaign. She was always there to cheer me up. The support from CMX team was huge. When contributors reply to my emails wishing me all the best and telling me how proud they feel about me, that feeling matters a lot. The campaign was for 21 days, but I was lucky to reach my target in 16 days with support from 65 contributors, and a lot of people who circulated my campaign page in their circles. The happiest moments were when people whom you don’t know contribute to your campaign and when they started sharing e-books and resource materials related to community building with me. The response was incredible. Before this campaign I thought I was alone in this endeavour, but now I feel as if I am taking 65 other people along with me to the CMX Summit, and trust me that feeling is awesome. I feel more responsible now and more focused.

Over to Enfa about her Google WTM Scholarship experience

Can you brief us all about the scholarship? Also a bit about the selection process?

Google WTM Scholarship, previously known as Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship, is a Google Initiative as a part of their diversity and inclusion programme. The benefits of this programme include a fully funded retreat at a Google APAC office (the 2019 retreat is happening at Google's Sydney office. Last year, it was in Singapore), a wonderful network of like-minded women in tech (which includes previous scholars, Google engineers etc) and a scholarship amount of $1000.

What’s the process for making the cut for the scholarship?

First, applicants need to submit their responses to a general interview form that captures the details of what the applicants have done technically, what have they done for the community, etc. Candidates shortlisted go through a short interview, from which the 75 for each region are identified (there are 3 regions, and I was selected for the APAC region). 23 of the 75 scholars attending this year's retreat in Sydney are from India.

How advantageous is the scholarship for you and the foundation?

The retreat, a three-and-a-half-day event, empowers you to be a better programmer, future tech and community leader, and most importantly, a better person. Every Google scholar who attends the retreat is prepped with quite a lot of valuable information and tools, and ideas on how best they can take all this back for the better of a wider audience. The retreat helps one understand how one sees oneself, how one talks about one's work, how to be a good programmer, how to get into Google, how to bust biases, etc. So having a diversity and inclusion community of my own, I look forward to implementing these tools and ideas in my foundation (PEHIA).

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