EDequity Global Hosts ‘21 AWS Global Innovation Summit; Graduates Over 45 Participants from Across the Globe
EDequity Global AWS Global Innovation Summit
“In the face of the global COVID crises, how do we put the women and people who have suffered the largest economic effects at the center of recovery efforts and work toward fixing long-standing inequalities, by leveraging technology?” Shauna Ruyle, Founder & Executive Director, EDequity Global
Facing recovery from a global economic crisis, high unemployment, increased poverty, stagnating income growth, lowered GDP, and community college enrollment plummeting (in California, USA), is important to understand the different ways that technology is changing the world of work and how together we can stimulate inclusive economic growth through education. Hence, Edequity Global with the support of 30+ sponsors and partners including AWS, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Google, Netflix, ThingLogix, African Leadership University, California State University Office of the Chancellor, The Basement UCSD, Southwestern College, and more – has taken the bull by the horns to equip women, underserved young graduates and entrepreneurs in communities across the globe with 21st century cloud skills at the ‘21 Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge.
The ‘21 Global Amazon Alexa SkilIs Challenge received over 300 registrants from across the globe with 46 women, marginalized college/university student and entrepreneur graduates coming from 6 countries (over 70% participants from Nigeria, then USA, India, Kenya, Brazil and Mexico). These impressive alumni completed the 5-week AI primer, formed teams and built innovative Alexa Skills to address one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
‘21 Global Innovation Summit
EDequity Global has organized the 2-Day Virtual Global Innovation Summit as an exciting “finale event’ and celebration to showcase graduate technology solutions to global problems, leveraging AWS. Business leaders, educators, nonprofits and civic leaders from the US and across the globe will join three leadership round tables to discuss the most pressing political, economic, environmental and human rights issues facing this generation today.
• 3 trail-blazing keynotes including:
London Bell, 2020 African Descent Fellow, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Founder and President Bell Global Justice Institute
Diya Wynn, AWS Senior Practice Manager for AI/ML Ethics
Marianna Holiday, AWS Educate International, Education to Workforce Solutions
• 17 global leaders
• 3 leadership roundtable discussions
• 8 international team fast-pitch demos
• 6 tech all-star judges
• 20 AWS scholarships awarded
• 350+ attendees
• 30+ partners
AWS Demo Day
April 17, 7-11am US Pacific Time / 3-7pm West Africa Time
Following the 5-week artificial intelligence (AI) primer and project submissions, 8 teams will be invited to deliver their fast-pitch demos on AWS Demo Day, April 17, 2021 at the Global Innovation Summit for a chance to win scholarships toward AWS training & certification! Participants from 6 countries
including (Nigeria, USA, India, Kenya, Brazil and Mexico) will present their Alexa skill solutions to global problems in a fun, interactive livestream format.
Leadership Roundtable Discussions
April 28, 7am-2pm US Pacific Time / 3-10pm West Africa Time
The leadership round table discussions will center around three important themes:
Westbury, New York, April 21, 2021 – We Connect The Dots announced today that the EDequity.Global organization founded and lead by Shauna Ruyle a San Diego, CA based organization is now a brand within the We Connect The Dots, Inc. nonprofit organization. Over the past two years We Connect The Dots has supported Shauna and her mission to impact equity in tech education globally. The two organization leaders saw a clear path where they could leverage strengths and increase their overall impact together. The combined effort allows the organizations to create a greater impact without increasing organizational overhead by reducing redundancies. Shauna Ruyle who has been the visionary and leader for the EDequity.Global brand will begin to play a key role in the We Connect The Dots organization working to expand the EDequity.Global brand and integrate it into the We Connect The Dots social enterprise of brands, Code-A-Thon, CreatingSTEAM, Community Ambassador Program and Unlock The Box brand.
We Connect The Dots, Inc. a Westbury, NY-based non-profit offers underrepresented populations and at-risk youth the opportunity to engage in experiential learning programs for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). The programs are designed to assist young people in preparing for entry into America’s evolving workplace. We Connect The Dots was founded by entrepreneur and Microsoft veteran Laurie Carey to address the digital divide in communities nationally. Currently the organization works with students, in Long Island, the Greater New York Metro area, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington, California, Illinois, Virginia, and Iowa. The not-for-profit’s programs provide underrepresented populations from low-income communities and others with opportunities to access and personally experience working in STEAM focused disciplines. These programs give students the skills they need to enter the workforce or continue their education in STEAM related fields such as engineering, science and computing.
San Diego, CA-based EDequity.Global is a global coalition of partners advancing education and economic equity for women and BIPOC youth leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS). Shauna Ruyle an entrepreneur and Microsoft veteran, founded the EDequity.Global brand to address the growing need to support women and people who have suffered economically, to fix long-standing inequalities in education and to build a more diverse workforce in the tech industry. EDequity.Global recently completed the second year of their AmazonAI Challenge with over 300 registrations from across the globe. The program competition consisted of 46 women, marginalized college/university students and entrepreneurs coming from 6 countries (over 70% participants from Nigeria, then USA, India, Kenya, Brazil and Mexico).
Both women credit their background at Microsoft in helping them succeed with such a massive undertaking and aim to empower young women and underrepresented students hoping to make an impact in the world of STEAM.
These two powerhouse women are driven by passion to create change and their entrepreneurial spirit drives innovative programs that span the globe. With an east and west coast presence the organization will continue to expand its impact to support building a more diverse workforce in tech for women and underrepresented populations.
“I am excited about our future together and look forward to seeing how the organization evolves over the coming year. Shauna brings so much to the organization with her marketing and business leadership, an established network in the industry, and a passion for change in education, she will enhance our team greatly.” Laurie Carey Founder of We Connect The Dots.
“I am thrilled to join We Connect The Dots. This collaboration provides the opportunity for networking and mentorship relationships and will help EDequity.Global’s overall mission to advance economic equity and cloud education for women and BIPOC youth, leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS). Together with Laurie and her social enterprise we can move faster on our journeys to help millions of women, girls and underrepresented populations learn in-demand tech skills and secure resilient careers.” Shauna Ruyle Founder and Executive Director, EDequity.Global
About We Connect The Dots and EDequity Global
We Connect the Dots, a non-profit educational organization founded by Laurie Carey in 2013, seeks to use learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities and provide engaging learning experiences. We Connect the Dots exists in-concert with Ms. Carey’s for-profit entity, Nebula Academy (a D.B.A. of Laurie Carey Consulting). Nebula Academy’s mission is to use cognitive learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities, where technology is used as a tool for supporting productive and engaging learning experiences. http://www.we-connect-the-dots.org. EDequity Global, is a brand within the WCTD organization, founded by Shauna Ruyle in 2019, EDequity.Global is a global coalition of partners advancing cloud education and economic equity for women and BIPOC youth leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS). www.edequity.global.
My name is Ikenna Enyidede, a Nigerian and a freelance Product Designer.
Joining the Global Alexa Skills Challenge was borne out of my love for learning and trying out new things, in this case, learning a new skill in an enabling environment. I was hoping to broaden my knowledge base with one of the fast-growing skills in the tech space as well as collaborate with like-minded individuals.
With the recurring negative changes in climate conditions all over the world, my team and I addressed the Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) hoping to offer a possible solution in tackling this problem. The corresponding Alexa skill built was targeted at providing education and information on climate related activities to individuals between the age of 16 and 40 through quizzes, random facts and weather information of cities around the world.
Recommending the Alexa Skills Challenge to future participants would be an easy thing to do as the value I have acquired from fellow participants, mentors and instructors have been extremely valuable. I would also recommend this to all and sundry because, as with things you consider valuable, you share with those around you.
Working with individuals in different parts of the world was as challenging as it was exciting. From figuring how to collaborate in real time, to figuring out the balance between time zones for voice and video calls. From managing individuals with different skillset, to ensuring that tasks are completed in good time. It was a rollercoaster ride which opened up avenues to learn and grow. I got to understand different modes at which different individuals try to accomplish tasks and also learnt not to be overbearing as we all work with different strides. People management was a skill honed during the course of liaising with team members, which I still plan on building upon.
The learning experience was a unique one for me, everything was virtual, from the onboarding, through the office hours with our trainers and sessions with mentors (I learnt a great deal from my mentor who basically gave me a crash course on how to approach problems). Seeing beautiful new faces. Surrounded with people with the same goals, moving through the same learning path and also insightful sessions from guest speakers. The experience taught me patience and also persistence amongst a list of other soft skills and I hope to showcase all that was learnt in all interactions and engagements I have moving forward.
My team was very supportive even in their busy schedule as without them the project would have never been completed. Staying up late to meet, going out of their way to complete tasks and meet deadlines and exercising a truckload of patience when processes were not going as planned. The real Rockstar team and I am very proud.
The best way I knew how to support my team was to show up. Show up when things needed to be done, show up to organize tasks and deliverables, show up when others were indisposed. I believe that is the first step to getting things done.
So I plan to keep showing up and getting things done.
EDequity.Global wants to give a HUGE THANK YOU to 9 selfless, all-star tech professionals who are mentoring/coaching international teams of women, BIPOC college/university students and entrepreneurs to imagine the future with voice at the Global Amazon #AlexaSkillsChallenge!
Franky Fuentes, Ph.D.
Mentors are coaching 9 international student teams to build #Alexa Skills that address these United Nations #SustainableDevelopmentGoals: 🌍
Stay tuned for #AWS Demo Day!
EDequity Global and AAUW San Diego Partner to Unlock Gender and Economic Equity with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AAUW will support EDequity Global’s skills initiative for women and underserved students
December 31, 2020, San Diego, California — EDequity Global recently received a $10,000 award from American Association of University Women (AAUW) San Diego to support the upcoming 2021 Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge Initiative. The award will be used to offer women, underserved college/university students and entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn in-demand cloud skills for free, to kickstart their AI journey and the chance to win a scholarship towards Amazon Web Services (AWS) training and certification. The goal of the global initiative is to build human capital, skills and the know-how needed for the jobs of the future. Participants will work in teams to solve a global issue aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, teaching the importance of social responsibility.
AAUW San Diego is also supporting through this award the We Connect The Dots annual Code-a-Thon, a program designed to support young people ages 13-18 in learning to code. Their sponsorship extends into EDequity Global’s Smartphone No-Code Alexa Skills Summer 2021 Workshop.
The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating inequality – revealing gender, racial and economic inequalities (related to resilient employment, economic security, access to education, leadership representation, power and influence in business and government) that have been ignored for too long.
Inequality for women is one of the world’s biggest injustices. It must change.
- 75% of parliamentarians are men
- 73% of managerial decision-makers are men
- 67% of climate negotiators are men
- 87% people at the peace table are men
- The global gender pay gap is stuck at 16%
The COVID-19 crisis has greatly intensified these challenges. Specifically, employment has collapsed, threatening a major humanitarian crisis in many economies. Millions of young people are out of school or work. According to the World Economic Forum, at the peak of the pandemic, 1.6 billion students were out of school and 11 million girls may not return to school after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, more than ever, in the COVID-economy is the time to provide in-demand cloud computing skills, training and a connection to jobs that pay a living wage. Emerging technology is significantly transforming the way we work and live. We believe that marginalized communities should not be excluded from the opportunities that these changes create. This bold partnership with AAUW San Diego allows us to continue making economic and social impact, achieving gender equity, racial equity and building the next generation of inclusive leadership, economic security and jobs.
“If we are going to help build the next generation of technologists we need to be committed to work in the public interest by providing scholarships, skills training, opportunity for entrepreneurialism, innovation, roadmaps and role models to women and underrepresented students that introduce them to what this work entails and what success looks like in the career field. The Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge is an important first step.” – Jane Niemeier, President AAUW San Diego
AAUW, is a non-profit, non partisan organization that is tenacious and trailblazing, advocating for women and girls since 1881 and into the future! Leading the fight for fair pay and economic opportunity for women, AAUW’s mission is gender equity & economic security. https://sandiego-ca.aauw.net/
“With crisis comes the opportunity for innovation. The Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge 2021 initiative, is positioned to help realize how the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis brings opportunity for innovation – something our youth are best equipped for.” – Shauna Oenning Ruyle, Founder & Executive Director, EDequity Global
About We Connect The Dots and EDequity Global
We Connect the Dots, a non-profit educational organization founded by Laurie Carey in 2013, seeks to use learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities and provide engaging learning experiences. We Connect the Dots exists in-concert with Ms. Carey’s for-profit entity, Nebula Academy (a D.B.A. of Laurie Carey Consulting). Nebula Academy’s mission is to use cognitive learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities, where technology is used as a tool for supporting productive and engaging learning experiences. http://www.wctd.org.
EDequity Global, is a brand within the WCTD organization, founded by Shauna Oenning Ruyle in 2019, EDequity.Global is a global coalition of partners advancing cloud education and economic equity for women and underrepresented youth leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS). www.edequity.global.
Susan Akinuli, Program Manager
Phone: (631) 468-7475