NextUp presents... Khulisa-Tech

Sponsored by Microsoft

Welcome to Khulisa-Tech!

Thank you very much for your interest and enthusiasm in helping us meet the needs of women technologists. As a first step, we worked diligently to speak with several of you to understand your needs along with Seema Gururaj, CEO of Square Circle LLC, who brings a wealth of experience and thought leadership in cultivating equity and belonging globally in the technology sector. Khulisa-Tech is the effort of this collaboration. We are proud to share with you a unique experience, one that seeks to nurture your intellectual side as well as you as a person.

Below we have compiled a list of questions and answers which we hope will give you additional insight into the program vision, logistics and time commitment. Should you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to Jess Olives at

What is the meaning of Khulisa?

Khulisa (KHOO-lee-sa) is a word in Nguni languages that are indigenous to southern and eastern Africa. It means to grow or foster the development of a person or community.

What is the vision for this program?

The vision for the program is to create a space for women technologists to foster connections, facilitate learnings, encourage self-nurture, and amplify their technological influence.

What are the key components of the Khulisa-Tech experience?

  • Virtual Session #1 focused on Trust and Identity (September 9, 2022)
  • In-Person Session and Networking Event at NextUp Leadership Summit in Dallas, October 19-20 (Registration required)
  • Curated Leadership Boxes sent September 2022 and February 2023
  • Virtual Session #2 focused on tech-related areas of interest (November 18, 2022)
  • Group Project focused on a tech-related area of interest (presented March 2023)
  • Virtual Community through a facilitated Teams channel (through August 2023)

Who will facilitate this experience?

Your guide for the first cohort will be Seema Gururaj who also co-created this experience with NextUp.

What is the eligibility criteria for this program?

We welcome:

  • women including those who identify as transgender, non-binary, or gender expansive (*).
  • individuals who are passionate about creating technology regardless of their pathway into technology.
  • individuals with 10- 15 years of experience

Will I be rejected from this program?

The pilot program is intended to host intimate cohorts of 10-12 people. We look for a balance of perspectives and organizational representation while forming a cohort. If for any reason you are unable to be part of a specific cohort, you are automatically considered for a subsequent cohort. Please note that there will be multiple opportunities for you to take part in one of the cohorts offered.

Will there be multiple cohorts?

We are hoping to scale this program to be able to run multiple cohorts in a year. However, this is our first pilot cohort and we are looking for individuals who are enthusiastic and can commit fully to this experience.

 What is the time commitment required?

We invite you to take a few hours a month from September 2022 – March 2023 to commit to this experience.




Session #1: VirtualFriday, Sept 9th; 1pm – 3pm (CST)Facilitated Session; (some prep required)
Session #2: In PersonOct 19th – 21thNextUp Summit in Dallas, TX; Facilitated Session (some prep required)
Session #3: VirtualFriday, Nov 18th; 1pm – 3pm (CST)Facilitated Session (minimal prep required)
Session #4: Final Project PresentationMarch, 2023Demo Day
Leadership BoxesPlease set aside 30 – 45 mins
of self-reflection time.
You can expect 2 themed boxes to be mailed to you in between the sessions (1 physical, 1 virtual).
Final Project MeetingsAt the team’s discretionEstimated 10-15 hours
Virtual CommunityA Teams channel will be available for virtual engagement with Cohort members through August 2023~10 minutes / week to post and respond to cohort members


What Khulisa Tech is not:

Khulisa-Tech is not a leadership program, the usual talk-at-you type of session, or a tech learning module.

Is there a deadline to submit an application?

We hope that your curiosity and interest have been sparked. If so, please submit your application by 7:00 pm (CST) on Wednesday, August 24, 2022.

*We thank Sera Fernando, CEO, County of Santa Clara Office of LGBTQ Affairs for guiding us with our inclusive language.

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