Passion! We all have it. Our passion is the stepping stone of our future, the crippling factor to our fears or the data to our Machine Learning (ML) model. Maybe even that GPU that improves cloud computing greatly. Our passions lead us to various paths and down several learning curves, but as a woman passionate about technology and about solving problems of the society, I was led down the path of applying for the first ever Women in Machine Learning conference.
Applying was one thing, clouded with doubts of being good enough on viewing the website of the facilitators- Yielding Accomplished African Women (YAA. W). Thankfully, I climbed that hurdle and went ahead with my application. Receiving the email of my acceptance left me completely exhilarated, presenting me with an opportunity to make HERSTORY. After completing the pre-conference training, I was convinced I was ready to face the ML world; this is where the best part begun.
Two and a half days! There were two sides to the coin. Side one had unfamiliar people, faces and places. Side two however came with the chance to have a sisterhood with ladies burning with a passion I can relate to, an opportunity to be under the tutelage of industry experts- women who are killing it in their chosen tech paths, with a topping of building a cross-country, cross-industry network.
Well, team side two carried the day! My experiences were vast, my education expanded, my exposure refined and my expertise sharpened! The sessions of the two and a half day journey did this. My understanding of ML models was expanded especially in understanding and building data pipelines for models and understanding of ML worthy situations. I had the experience of a lifetime. Meeting ladies from different countries exposed me to different languages and cultures in the African continent. I learnt how to say thank you in Yoruba and Swahili! The lab sessions provided me the tools to practice building ML models using APIs and AutoML from Google. Guess who knows her way around Google Cloud Platform now?
After all was said and done, some things stuck with me, the closing words from Miss Diana Wilson, CEO of Yielding Accomplished African Women. “Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are right”- Henry Ford. So the next time you stop to think you’re female and so you can’t make it? Or you cannot match up to the next person? Or this is out of your league? Or you’re the best there ever was? Or you can do this and totally excel at it? Or you are above standard? Remember, you’re right! You are what you tell yourself repeatedly. Let go of the nays and hold onto the yes and your life will turn around for good. Reach out to a sister, spread the gospel that “Women can do tech too”. Tell her #yaashecan and #yaashewill, because we really can and we really will make an impact.
I’m extremely grateful to Google, MTN and Yielding Accomplished African Women for this opportunity given me. Because of your good work, a young girl in Ghana can turn her dream into reality, and she is spreading the word to all!