On July 26, 2019 the San Antonio Council for International Visitors welcomed eight visitors from Japan to discuss women’s leadership in STEM fields. During their day trip to San Antonio they met with Ms. Barbra Hewitt from San Antonio Women in Technology, Ms. Ann Stevens from BioMed San Antonio and Ms. Teresa Evans from Trauma Insight San Antonio, and lastly they visited the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Cybersecurity Industry Council.
First on their tour of San Antonio, meet with Barbra Hewitt from San Antonio Women in Technology. They were able to speak with her about her experience in STEM fields and what it was like for her to take that path. She also discussed some reasons why there haven’t been as many females in STEM fields and what things others can do to encourage more female participation. The visitors were very inquisitive during the discussion and it gave some insight on how not only Japan could encourage more participation to girls to get more involved in STEM but how we in San Antonio can encourage more STEM involvement from girls.
Next the visitors met with Ann Stevens from BioMed San Antonio and Teresa Evens from Trauma Insight San Antonio. During this meeting, the visitors first heard from Ms. Stevens about her experience in the health science field. She talked about her founding of BioMed SA alongside Former Mayor Henry Cisneros. She also discussed the importance of working together in the field of Healthcare and BioScience. Then the visitors heard from Teresa Evens of Trauma Insight. Ms. Events discussed her background and her experience as a woman working to succeed in the BioScience field. She also gave insight on why many women opt out of STEM fields but also offered a solution to the problem of the lack of female presence in the STEM workforce which is advocating. Ms. Evens said that advocating is key to getting more participation from girls to join more STEM focused fields. She also discussed the hard work that goes into wearing the many hats that she does. This sparked the visitors interest as they were able learn about how they could show everyday women in Japan that they too can have a happy life and work in STEM.
After lunch, the visitors visited the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s Cybersecurity Industry Council. There, they met with Amanda Keammerer, Lisa Marie Gomez, Laurie Stinson, and Amy Contreras. The ladies first discussed San Antonio’s cyber background. During this meeting it was a free flow discussion with women giving advice and talking about their experience getting to where they are today. They gave some insight on not only what men should do to encourage more female participation in the field but what women can do. They said that men need to make women feel more welcome when they enter the field and that women need to help each other. They discussed the importance of women helping women and not putting each other down. This also sparked a discussion on how encouragement is key, teaching women that it’s okay to put themselves out in the world and to ask for what they want. This was a new perspective that the visitors hadn’t examined so it really helped to give them another solution to the problem of the lack of female STEM workers.
The San Antonio Council for International Visitors was honored to host the visitors from Japan. The visitors learned more about the lack of women leadership here and what San Antonio is doing to combat the issue. This experience shed new light on the issue which helped form new solutions and insight. This was truly a rich learning experience for not only the visitors but for everyone involved and SACIV was not only honored, but privileged to host these visitors. Hopefully this experience will help the growth of women leaders not only in Japan, but also here at home.