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On International Women’s Day, meet five women who want to change the world

By Stacey Faucett, Marketing Communications Content Specialist, Cisco

As originally posted on Cisco’s The Network

From Cisco Community Hero leaders to Global Citizen Youth Leadership Award winners, here are five women who are making a positive impact in the world.

Clementine Chambon

2019 Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge grand prize winner

With a Ph.D. in bioenergy from Imperial College London, Clementine combines her expertise in cost-effective design of distributed energy systems with her passion for using renewable resources. To address the lack of affordable irrigation in rural India, Clementine and her co-founder started a social enterprise called Oorja. Oorja finances, installs, and operates pay-as-you-go community solar pumps. Farmers access year-round affordable irrigation as a service—known as Oonnati—and there is no upfront cost to them. Clementine shared, “Replacing diesel engines, using energy as a catalyst for economic development and creation of jobs, and combating climate change—these are the three core elements of our mission.” Oorja is now developing an IoT-based solution to remotely monitor solar assets and manage payments and data. Oorja was the Grand Prize Winner in the 2019 Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge, which recognizes entrepreneurs like Clementine who are using technology to address a social or environmental problem.


Heejae Lim

Founder and CEO of TalkingPoints

Heejae founded an education technology nonprofit based on her personal experience growing up as a Korean immigrant, English Language Learner student and seeing her mother be able to make a difference in her education because she had the ‘voice’ to do so. TalkingPoints is on a mission to drive student success—especially in underserved, diverse communities—by using accessible technology to unlock the potential of family engagement in children’s education. Cisco supports Talking Points with grant funding. To date, TalkingPoints has served over half a million families and teachers in North America, to have over 20 million conversations about how to support their students by working together as partners. Heejae shared, “At TalkingPoints, we’re creating a world where every student, regardless of where they come from, what language they speak, or who their families are, feels supported by all those around them to climb up the ladder of opportunity.” 


Stephanie Harvey

Cisco Networking Academy Instructor

Stephanie Harvey’s personal education didn’t follow the typical path. As an early-in-life mother, she had to take a break from her education and return when her children became a bit older. It is when she returned to school that she discovered her love for computer networking. Her teachers saw her passion for IT and fueled her internal fire for the subject – ultimately leading to her become a networking teacher. Stephanie Harvey is a Cisco Networking Academy instructor in Alaska, where many of her students learn remotely. Although several miles apart, she is committed to providing the support and guidance that her students need to succeed – a key quality of any good teacher. Stephanie shared, “My favorite part of teaching is that technology is always changing and there are always new things to learn, talk about, and teach. As most teachers would say, I love helping people and I love ‘AH HA!’ moments.”


Priya Prakash

2019 Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award Winner

As a young woman in India, Priya felt the effect of bullying because of her weight. After shifting her own eating habits and discovering weightlifting in college, Priya was inspired to help others. She is the founder and CEO of HealthSetGo, an organization integrating technology and health care to empower parents, doctors, schools, and governments to make data-driven decisions to improve the health and lives of children. The organization has impacted more than 200,000 children and parents in India, and it hopes to reach 1 million people by 2023. Priya won the 2019 Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award, a $250,000 prize for a young person who is positively impacting the world. She shared, “The experience of getting the award has been one of the highlights of my life. It was overwhelming to see the trust and belief of Global Citizen and Cisco in HealthSetGo to fulfil the mission and vision of creating meaningful impact.”


Alphonsine Imaniraguha Anderson

Cisco Engineer, Cisco Community Hero Winner, Founder and CEO of Rising Above the Storms

Alphonsine was born and raised in Rwanda with a large family. However, during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, she lost her parents and two of her siblings. At the age of 13, she had no choice but to become a parent to her three surviving siblings. Despite these hurdles and amidst great loss, Alphonsine received a scholarship to study telecommunications engineering in the United States. She sent a little money home each month to her siblings in Rwanda, so they could continue their education. Two years after receiving her Master’s Degree, she began working for Cisco. Alphonsine started Rising Above the Storms, a non-profit organization that promotes education and a deep love for orphans in underdeveloped areas of the world. She shared, “I may not be able to change the world alone, but I know that there are many people out there who might be struggling in their personal lives. I want to bring them hope.”


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