Leading fearlessly is the willingness to courageously and calmly assess any situation and strike a path based on my strengths and weaknesses that will provide a wide path for the greater good rather than a single track for just myself. But in order to do this, one has to have practiced “facing their fears” from a young age. So I strive to support young women in facing their fears, whether it be industry or life decisions, by offering advice that may influence them positively.
That’s what I’ve been doing at Techbridge Girls, where I started volunteering after seeing a Craigslist post about the opportunity nearly a decade ago. I had been raising my two girls on my own and I recognized more young women needed the guidance and encouragement that my daughters were getting every day to practice courage in facing their fears and unknowns. At the time, several organizations were being founded to offer girls insight to careers that were not on their radar since the industries lacked female representation. Yet, Techbridge was different in bringing their guidance directly to the schools, where the girls were already present and knew each other. As a parent, this is invaluable since many opportunities are missed, given our inability to leave work and transport our children to another location. Techbridge was offering not just an opportunity for young girls to be involved in STEM activities, but keeping their focus after school with continued learning, camaraderie and discipline; these are life skills for success in any profession.
Techbridge Girls’ diligence and success is evidence of the enthusiasm that girls have to fearlessly learn and create together when they feel united and undivided by societal barriers. Techbridge Girls has also taught me the importance of listening to the different experiences that young women are facing these days and craft advice that couples my experience with modern knowledge. I’m leading fearlessly through my new venture, a podcast that is being created for young professional women in STEM industries in order to offer guidance and validation through the early years of their profession so that they enter leadership positions in their 30’s. Being a structural engineer, I empathize with the young girls and ladies rising in an archaic, male dominated industry and the barriers set from generations ago. In 2010, I began engaging with university women to encourage them to bring their individuality to the STEM industries rather than blend in. As they entered the workplace, we would meet to devise alternative business cultures that would embrace women’s vision for creativity and prowess. It was then I realized that I wanted to reach a larger population of women and so, in 2015, I received my Masters in Communication Management from USC in order to share my personal brand and identity via audio.
Volunteering at Techbridge Girls has encouraged me to stay on track with mentoring young women into their professions and onto a leadership track by their 30’s. I want to be that active voice that supports, guides, encourages and humors women to help them traverse through the hardships of STEM entry level positions and into management/leadership roles by their 30’s. There, they can begin to #MakeSpace for other women early on and shift the industry culture to embrace equality, diversity and empowerment.