Andra Levite Riga TechGirls
Andra Levite

Good evening, dear Anna Andersone, dear keen mentors and mentees, dear most honourable Ms Maxine Fassberg,

Once again, it is a true joy and honour for me to welcome you all on your initiative ‘IT ambassadors’ first anniversary.

A year ago, you started the program ‘Get to know technology’ and more than 4600 women of all ages in Latvia, living in cities and in the countryside, responded to your invitation.

For the second time, 160 mentors offered their knowledge in the IT sector and more than 260 mentees were eager to learn.

400 women have already gained the ‘She goes Tech’ scholarship for IT programming, and an additional 240 women will join them later this summer.

At the second women’s hackathon, more than 200 participants, with the help of more than 40 mentors, created ideas for more than 20 ‘start-ups’.

Based on our daily experience, we all know that the first step to a different, better life is the hardest.

But your first step – your first year – has been really impressive.

Remember the metaphor about the chessboard and the grain of rice. In the beginning, on the first square there was just one grain of rice, but on the 64th square, the last one on the chessboard, there were more grains of rice than existed on Earth.

If you know your future plans – say them loud, and in private and in public. Don’t be shy.

In Christianity there are seven cardinal sins, one of which is avarice. In a time when people are self-involved and self-centred, you, dear mentors, show generosity – the opposite of avarice. You are generous with your time, with your knowledge, and with your empathy. You all deserve our gratitude.

Today’s keynote speaker will be Ms Maxine Fassberg from Israel, a country similar to Latvia in many ways – small in territory, poor with natural resources, but with people who have a vision for the future without narrow-minded borders.

I wish you all – exchange your acquired experiences, find new colleagues and friends, living and working near or far, and enjoy the evening.

Thank you!