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Is leadership in the tech industry reserved only for men? Cara Wilson, who tirelessly works to empower females through her For The Women (FTW) foundation, says no

Facebook, the world’s biggest social media platform was conceived by a man, so was Google, one of the most popular search engines online; we can say the same about micro-blogging site Twitter and the now-trending app TikTok. The list of men-led tech giants can go on forever leading to the question: Are the top positions in the world of tech reserved only for males? Cara Wilson, the co-founder and executive director of For The Women (FTW) foundation, begs to differ.

The Filipino non-profit founded in October 2018 was an idea by Wilson, Derya Tanghe, Paco Caparas and Michelle Alarcon, brought about their collective observation that job disruptions in the Philippines were coming due to an increase in digital transformations. “We knew that targeted up-skilling in the future-resilient tech roles was the best answer for the jobs of the future. Since women were underrepresented in tech, and there are so many smart, talented Filipinas, we saw this as a great opportunity for an organisation such as FTW,” Wilson shares in a dialogue with Tatler.

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Providing an avenue for women who want to excel in a male-dominated industry such as tech, FTS also offers its Data Science scholarship programme, where students meet esteemed personalities and instructors in the local tech industry and learn from them. “Our Data Science scholarship programme is completely free to deserving women who are chosen from a meticulous application process. It lasts 14 Saturdays and takes you through intensive hard-skills training, including a real-world capstone project sponsored by our industry partners,” describes Wilson. To apply for the scholarship, check out the foundation’s official website at ftwfoundation.org.

“We also spend a lot of time concentrating on important 21st century skills like making a presentation and job readiness, both as important to being a good data translator. The reality is that the business world is made up of tech and non-tech decision makers and it is important to be able to speak and translate data across all sectors to create actionable business insights,” she further explains.

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Wilson, whose life-long legacy revolves around uplifting women, believes that it is very important for Filipinas to take part in important fields such as tech. “The jobs of tomorrow [digital, tech] will benefit highly-skilled workers more than those who are less-skilled. There is no denying the career opportunities for many of these jobs are growing and women are more than capable of excelling in them. It would be a huge waste of potential not to offer this chance to many of the talented Filipinas out there who just may not have the resources to take this kind of world-class training.”

Instructors from the FTW include Myk Ogbinar who has more than 13 years of experience in end-to-end service and project delivery in various roles and technologies in the fields of IT, retail, energy, telco and banking; Carmi Escalanda, a development specialist serving the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) for more than five years; Yves Kangleon who started with database work-mainframe immediately after graduation and is now the director for customer analytics and loyalty in Cebu Pacific; and Angie Tobias-Lozano, the senior operations research analyst of Navitaire technology.

It would be a huge waste of potential not to offer this chance to many of the talented Filipinas out there who just may not have the resources to take this kind of world-class training
Cara Wilson, co-founder and executive director of For The Women (FTW) foundation

Because of Wilson and her pool of creative professionals at the FTW, the world of tech can assure one promising leap: a digital sphere where women’s ideas are valued as much as men’s. “In my experience, when you start building and participating in a community that empowers women, the ripple effect of good things that come from this just flows. Our scholar graduates come back to mentor the next batch of scholars. They are visible examples of women who got out of their comfort zones and were bold enough to jump into a new career for other women. This example manifests the possibility that they can succeed, too.”


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