Mai Abualkas Temraz is the Mentorship & Women’s Inclusivity Program Coordinator at Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG), Gaza's first startup accelerator and co-working hub. Run by the global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps, GSG fills a critical need in Gaza. GSG has created one of the most inclusive startup communities in the world: nearly 50% of the participants in its activities are women. Mai has designed GSG’s approach to growing women leaders and trained both female and male entrepreneurs on effective ways to engage mentors.
Mai’s involvement in startups began through her passion for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. She learned to design and build transceivers, antennas, interfaces and everything she needed to set her radio station and get on the air from her own home four years ago. In 2014, she became the first female licensed amateur radio operator in Palestine. She also became the first ever female in the Middle East to hold the highest status of amateur radio operators (Extra Level License) from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Mai launched her first venture in 2013 when she founded the Amateur Club, a training center and maker space that engages young minds in learning STEM. She is motivated by the sparkle in children's eyes each time they explore STEM fields and build their own projects.
In 2014, Mai was nominated a TechWomen Emerging Leader and traveled to Silicon Valley. It was her first time outside the Middle East. In San Francisco, surrounded by successful women sharing their challenges and achievements, Mai’s passion for STEM and entrepreneurship deepened. After that she was honored to be featured as one of the "TechWomen Emerging Leaders Honoree Cards” highlighting women leaders working in STEM. Hundreds of these card decks and posters have been distributed to schools and learning centers in dozens of countries so that girls and young women will have technical role models.
Recently, Mai was awarded the Change agent ABIE award form the Grace Hopper celebration for women in computing, where over 12k women attended the conference. Also Mai was awarded the best entry level STEM Executive at the Women in STEM conference in Dubai.
Mai is a Global Tech Leader representing Palestine, the regional ambassador for Technovation in the Gaza Strip, and a member of the Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) Mentorship Committee.
Mai believes that our world will someday see women participating in and excelling in all fields, especially STEM fields. Her dream is to be a part of that future.
The United States Chief Technical Officer Megan Smith once shared with us, "We are the ones we have been waiting for. If not us, then who?" We are all change agents. Our leadership can bring creativity and courage for social change. Do not try to change who you are. Bring yourself to your work, businesses, and communities exactly as you are.
Mai holds a BS in Communications Engineering from the Islamic University, the top university in Gaza.
I'm a 5th year software engineering student, and a Microsoft student partner (MSP). My first experience started with the GazaChallenge startup bootcamp that was supported by GazaSkyGeeks organization; where I got to know lots of mentors and other peers who shared with me the same spirit. Although I didn't get my startup invested, but was chosen to be the best accepting failure startup, a strength point that I didn't even realize I had. Afterwards, I was intrigued with entrepreneurship, and became a co-founder for another startup called "Remote GPS" that has been also accepted to participate in the e-zone startup academy that was supported by the leaders organization in Ramallah. My experience in this field grew bigger by the time and with days of training. Then, I was also privileged to be part of "intaliqi", a program dedicated for women entrepreneurs in Gaza Strip. As for now, I am very interested in coding and I participated in the great event Startup Weekend Gaza this October. When I was been offered to be an ambassador for Geekettes I felt so honored and excited. Because this will provide me the opportunity to be able to assist other tech women of my hometown , lead them to the right way of achieving their goals and help them overcome the big challenges they face here. We have lots of determined tech women and Geekettes will be the best platform of supporting them I believe.
"When man will, goals are created. When women will, societies are built."