GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Businesswomen across the Coast came together Friday morning to promote and empower the female leaders here in South Mississippi. Women Entrepreneurs hosted a forum featuring the Center for Women in Business in hopes of attracting and developing more leaders in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Almost every hand went up when asked about having some of the apps that are known for changing our world.
"If you have a Steve Jobs iPhone, put your hand up. If you have downloaded Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook app, put your hand up. How many of you have Lars Rasmussen's Google Maps on there," Natalie Masri, with U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Center for Women in Business, asked the crowd of women.
One thing these apps have in common, they were all created by men. This forum promotes and empowers women business leaders to achieve personal and professional goals that could one day get them recognized for the next big technological trend.
"Today, we're hoping to expose STEM to those in the audience, but also to those who brought their daughters so they can encourage them to know that there's a sustainable career field out there," Kimberly Nastasi, with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, said.
There remains a shortage of talented women in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Masri says one method to changing those low numbers is to start the interest in STEM fields at an early age and mentor.
With all there is to take away from this forum, Nastasi says she hopes those in the audience will take away the opportunities. Most importantly, the opportunities that are right here on the Gulf Coast.
"We do hope that through education of young women on the Gulf Coast, we can encourage them to stay here and make a difference right here on the Gulf Coast. That we can retain the talent and young professionals and keep them at home and know that they not only have opportunities for career growth, but also earning potential," Nastasi said.
The women on the panel included Leslie Henderson from Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company, Karma Snyder from John C. Stennis Space Center, as well as Valeria Wade from Mississippi Power Company.