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Recently a young female high school student told me she thinks “chubby guys with glasses” work in the technology industry. It is this misperception that I wanted to change by bringing youth to Cisco Canada for Take Our Kids to Work Day (Wednesday, November 3rd) through Project Inspire.
Project Inspire is a pilot program launched by a multi-sectoral team of 2010 DiverseCity Fellows . The goal of the project is to expose youth across the Greater Toronto Area to career options they may not have known or may have considered unattainable. To accomplish this goal, we have been holding a series of workshops hosted by private, public, and non-profit institutions.
The session at Cisco introduced youth to “cool” technologies that can enable social change and the different job opportunities in the technology industry. At the end of the day’s session when the youth were asked about one thing they learned about Cisco, one of the replies was: “It’s not about nerdy people.” Another young girl said that she now wants to be an electronics engineer, a career option she hadn’t considered in the past. Comments like these tell me that Project Inspire is enabling youth to think differently.
Hena Prasanna works in the technology industry and has worked in USA, UK, India and Canada. She is currently a Program Manager at Cisco Canada. She is a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Steering Committee at Cisco Canada. Hena is active in the community and has served as Board of Director of non-profit organizations. Hena is one of the six 2010 DiverseCity Fellows behind Project Inspire.