SgGeoFest 2021: GeoWomen Panel
Geospatial is everywhere, says Dr Nadine Alameh, CEO of the Open Geospatial Consortium. “Everywhere you turn, you end up in geospatial and that's why I'm here.” Dr Alameh was speaking at the Singapore Geospatial Festival #SgGeoFest in September.
She was part of a panel of women leaders from various disciplines in geospatial who shared insights on career opportunities in the geospatial sector, how they had entered the field and discussed ways to overcome imposter syndrome. Other panellists were Jennifer Choi (Head of Product Partnerships, GEO, Grab), Aditi Kohli (Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Foursquare), Dr Laxmi N. Goparaju (Regional Ambassador - Asia, Women in Geospatial+) and Shiori Kimura (Customer Solutions Engineer, Synspective). The session was moderated by Vanessa Ching from GeoWorks.
“With respect to my journey, I think it's a combination of go with the flow and jump at the opportunity,” said Dr Alameh who got into GIS after she was selected for a scholarship at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She added that she did not know what GIS was at that time but it had opened the world to her which had led her to her current leadership role at OGC, inspiring many women professionals in geospatial.
As a customer solutions engineer, Shiri Kumura from Synspective, said that she utilises earth observation satellite data to understand ground surface and propose specific solutions. “I was interested in environmental problems and sustainable development at university and remote sensing is one of the ways to get involved in the issues. And i thought it's useful to assess the situation objectively with the data for decision making and learn about separate solutions. That was the beginning of my career in geospatial,” she explained.
Dr Laxmi N. Goparaju gave a presentation on the Women In Geospatial+ programme. “Our mission in Women In Geospatial+ is to build an inclusive global community uniting, inspiring and empowering all women in geospatial sector to become stakeholders and change makers. So, we offer advocacy, community building, events, mentoring and speaker database,” she said.
Jennifer Choi from Grab talked about imposter syndrome and said that she found that that even one of her professors at the Harvard Business School had experienced imposter syndrome. She believes that having a coach and using resources such as mentorship can be helpful in dealing with the issue. She shared some questions for girls and women to consider and these were:
- Why am I the best person for this job in this moment?
- How does this experience serve me for the better?
- Why am I grateful for it?
- What do I have to let go of?
- What do I have to focus on right now?
“So, you write the answers to all these five questions and the more you do it, the faster you'll get at priming yourself with confidence to overcome imposter syndrome.”
Aditi Kohli from Foursquare added that women should continue to learn, enjoy learning and stay a few steps ahead.
“I think if we are able to achieve some of these things from a personal as well as a
professional front I think there would be a lot of needles we would be able to move to transform ourselves into not a gender biased but an equal level of men and women being in stem or for being women in tech.”
View recording here.