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Last month we celebrated the Girls in ICT month by hosting a panel discussion. With technology playing a role in all kinds of careers, learning tech skills at a young age will set girls up for economic independence. Bridging the digital gap, changing stereotypes about women in the tech industries and equipping women with the skills they need to thrive in today’s economy are a few of the topics our panel members, consisting entirely of women, elaborated on. In case you missed this amazing discussion and need some empowerment we invite you to watch the recording.

Meet our Panel members:

Charissa Parmanand is 35 years old, married and the mother of two boys. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and a Master’s degree in Business Process Management & IT. Her interest in IT started when she worked at FHR. Because of her continuous pursuit of improvement and efficiency, she was constantly looking for tools to achieve that. Eventually she ended up in the IT world with endless possibilities. She is currently working at VSH United as an Internal Auditor. She started playing chess and dancing at a young age, but nowadays keeps her creative mind busy with woodburning, engraving, tinkering with the boys and all kinds of odd jobs around the house. Every day she strives for an improved version of not only her husband, her children and her employer, but in particular of herself.

Whitney de Rijp is a young Surinamese woman who works as Commercial Manager at Datasur. Within Datasur she and her team are responsible for the Sales, Marketing, Service Management and Project Management departments. For Whitney, the key of doing business is creating a win-win situation for all involved parties. Sharing and gathering knowledge is her passion and that is why she is also a part-time teacher at the Poly Technic College. Here she lectures various subjects for various fields of study such as ICT, Agri Business Management and Food technology. She also guides students through the graduation process. She is also a senior trainer and consultant in the family business Partners Plus Consultancy for over 10 years. She has a Master in Business Administration in Innovation and Technology, with a major in renewable energy.

Raisa Ghazi is a political scientist and social impact entrepreneur. She is the founder of SkillGenie, an e-learning platform with e-learning programs that aim to reduce inequality in the workplace. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and likes to be involved in the strengthening of minorities in the Netherlands in her spare time, especially in sectors such as technology. She is always looking for new ways to improve herself and the world. She enjoys speaking on topics such as discrimination in recruitment and leadership and is very interested in the role technology plays in this. She believes having a Growth Mindset will help all of us to be more inclusive in the workplace, and she knows how to incorporate this psychological concept into all of her talks. Her Growth Mindset helps her to keep abreast of the latest developments so that she can passionately share them with her listeners. On stage she is candid, sharp and full of energy. She has a youthful outlook on life and therefore knows how to connect with different generations. In her spare time you can make her happy with a good conversation and an evening of fine dining. She is an amateur sommelier who likes to share her skills with her family and friends.

Anuskha Sonai is the President of the Creative Tech Hub Caribbean: a cluster of companies with the mission to develop the Creative Technology Ecosystem in the Caribbean. She is a serial entrepreneur and has (co-)founded 4 companies so far.
Anuskha is an eternal optimist and an unwavering believer of the capacity of the Caribbean people. She is on a mission to help create an ecosystem in the Caribbean where youth, women and creative talents can have a flourishing career and solid future.

The cluster collaboratively offers web development, mobile app development, social media services and cloud services to companies in the Caribbean, Europe and USA. The profit form these companies are used to fund the Digital Talents Academy. An Academy designed around the Learn.Work.Grow concept, where youth (13 – 30 years) are educated in Creative Tech Jobs: Animators, Game Developers, Digital Designers, Virtual Assistants etc.
The cluster works from Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and has a customer base in the Caribbean, Europe and USA.

Companies currently part of the Creative Tech Hub are: 21Q Caribbean n.v., Digital Talents Academy,   Cloud Engine n.v., Spang Makandra n.v. and Creative Talents foundation.

Anuskha is also the Chair of the ICT Association Suriname and the Chair of the Marketing & Communications Committee of CANTO (The Caribbean ICT & Telco Association).