As a female engineer in Lebanon, Jessica Obeid is always looking for professional development opportunities to help herself grow, and ultimately to contribute to development in her country. In 2012, she was selected to participate in the TechWomen program, where she refined her understanding of the importance of mentorship in career advancement. During the program, she interned at a smart grid firm and enhanced her understanding of marketing. This exchange sharpened Jessica’s leadership qualities and further developed her “no-limits” mindset in terms of future learning, leadership roles, and achievement.
In addition to her full time job in the field of engineering, Jessica is the Founder and Director of her own mentorship program, MentorSHE, which encourages Lebanese women to enter the political sphere by offering them capacity-building training and one-on-one mentorship opportunities with local and foreign politicians. The program was launched through a 2013 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund grant. Jessica previously launched the Madinati Khadraa (Arabic for: My City is Green) competition, enabling various municipalities to implement medium-scale renewable energy projects (e.g. providing solar-powered electricity and hot water to a jail in Mount Lebanon)
In addition to her community service work, she is also an active member of the alumni community in Lebanon. She served two years on the executive board of the Lebanese State Alumni Association (LSAC), working extensively with U.S. Embassy Beirut to launch nine regional chapters across Lebanon. Furthermore, she serves as a member of the U.S. Embassy’s Youth Advisor Council, where she meets with other young leaders, local experts, and Embassy officials to discuss the youth perspective on key issues in Lebanon. Jessica’s exchange experience deepened her understanding of U.S. culture, and she remains a dedicated member of the TechWomen network, sharing her experience with local Lebanese and U.S-based mentors. As she said of her experience, “I didn’t know how much I needed mentorship and a big international support network until I got one. Now I don’t know how I managed without it.”
Each month, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Office of Alumni Affairs recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna. Jessica Obeid is this month’s outstanding alumna, and her work will be recognized throughout the month on the International Exchange Alumni website, ECA’s official website which serves more than one million Department-sponsored exchange alumni worldwide.