When I was younger, I thought I was going to grow up to be a doctor. But, when I got into high school, I realized I was no longer sure of my path since I enjoyed a variety of subjects. Blending my natural talents and interests led to a career in education, addressing inequities and increasing opportunities. My calling is to empower people to learn how to access and activate knowledge, identify opportunities, and develop skills and connections to pursue those opportunities. This is why I started SPEAK Mentorship. I'm thankful that what I do everyday makes me proud of who I am everyday.
Like many high school graduates, I enrolled in college without a clear picture of what I wanted to do with my life, or what career options were available to me. I was fortunate to develop relationships in school and work that helped guide me towards a career in law. I am thrilled to be part of SPEAK Mentorship, which offers the kind of support and education that young women need to help them make informed choices in their education and career, to shape their future and realize their full potential.
Mentor Experience Manager
I was the first in my family to graduate from college, and then from graduate school. The process of deciding what higher education path to take or which career to pursue was unfamiliar and difficult to understand. In college, I found that other students like me, students from immigrant families and families of color, also had similar struggles. Helping to empower others, especially those from underrepresented communities, to advocate for themselves and access opportunities became my passion as I pursued a career in social work and community development. SPEAK Mentorship's comprehensive, goal-oriented program for young women empowers them and gives them the tools to access opportunities to build the future they want. I am so excited to be a part of this team and the impactful work happening here!
Mentor Relations Associate
I graduated from American University in 2011. Since that time, I have been working in education enrichment programs for urban youth. I am excited to join the Speak Mentorship team and to gain new skills as I continue my work in the nonprofit sector.
Marion works at the intersection of engineering and non-engineering teams, where she delivers digital design solutions. She is the founder and CEO of a consulting agency, Web Croissants. Marion counts Stanford University as well as multinationals and non-profits among her clients.
Prior to Web Croissants, Marion was the Director of Digital Initiatives for Women’s Learning Partnership - an international women’s nonprofit organization focused on girls’ and women’s empowerment and leadership. During her tenure, the organization transitioned from traditional to digital communications and advocacy. She also co-authored a book on digital advocacy, which was published and translated into English, French and Arabic.
In her earlier years in the software industry, Marion was a lead program manager for Microsoft, working on Business Intelligence big data visualizations, as well as the convergence of content management systems across international markets. Prior to that, she worked at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence lab, focusing on embodied intelligent systems.
Marion has a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degrees from MIT in Computer Science and Engineering, and a Technology Policy degree from Cambridge University's business school.
She speaks and writes on the broader context of technology and its impacts, and how to ensure it serves all humans – including the people and communities which are not traditionally at the core of that culture. She’s also an invited speaker on digital project and team management. Recently, Marion launched Tech Ethics, a series of discussions among Silicon Valley professionals on the social and ethical responsibilities of high-tech practitioners.
A French native, Marion is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Early in high school, I started volunteering for a summer camp that brought youth from different homeless shelters together for a week of fun and care-free programming. As I got to know the campers, I started to recognize my privilege as well as my passion for utilizing relationships to help youth overcome challenges and accomplish their goals. This passion has stayed with me as I have worked with kids and young-adults in non-profits and elementary school through college. I am excited to be a part of an organization that recognizes the power of relationships and works to build connections between girls and women so that they can explore and accomplish their personal and professional goals.
Hiba Sharief serves as Vice President of Information Technology at Oportun, a financial technology company with the mission of providing affordable loans that help people with little or no credit history establish credit and build a better future. Oportun uses advanced data analytics and technology to score the “unscorable” and offers responsible, affordable, credit-building loans to individuals with limited credit history. Hiba graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, City University of New York. She was recently honored with the recognition of Silicon Valley’s 40 under 40 in 2017.
Hiba has a diverse personal and professional background with technology and leadership experience across various industries, and in more than 20 countries around the globe. As the daughter of a career diplomat, she had lived in four countries and spoken three languages fluently before the age of 8. Hiba moved to the U.S. from her home country of Sudan in late 1995 to pursue her university education. She has since had a very exciting career fueled by a passion for learning, growth and innovation. After spending time in various leadership roles at Lehman Brothers and Accenture in New York, Hiba spent two years in Dubai building EMC’s consulting arm in Europe South, Middle East and Africa. She is now based in the San Francisco Bay Area and highly committed to shaping future generations and changing the ratio of women in technology and leadership.
Alpa Rajai is a seasoned financial services professional with over 14 years of experience. In her current role, she works on Strategic Initiatives for Financial Control Americas at Barclays. Prior to Barclays, she worked at PwC, Sapient, and Citi. In her previous roles, she was focused on regulatory initiatives in the capital markets domain mainly Dodd Frank Title 1 and Title 7, MiFID II, FINRA 4210, etc.. She
She holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Entrepreneurship from New York University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics / Statistics from Stony Brook University.
She was born in Mumbai, India and raised by a feminist-but-in-denial family that introduced her to community service early on in life – which is probably why remains passionate about giving back and attaining gender equality. She was the first in her family move abroad to study and, as such, fully understands how the lack of a mentor can negatively impact career trajectory. Hoping to bridge this gap for someone else, she signed up as a mentor for SPEAK. She eventually joined the board as she saw the value SPEAK provides to the immigrant female population which she closely identifies with. When she is not working or volunteering, she loves to spend quality time and rediscover this beautiful world with her curious little daughter.