Job Title: CEO & Co-Founder of Prepify
Company Website: http://www.prepify.me
Years working in the tech industry: 5
On Role-Models: Having role-models I look up to and learn from has been critical. The adage that “You can’t be what you don’t see” is true; it is so important to have real-life role-models who you can relate to and aspire to be like. During undergrad, I had Donna Brazile and Madeleine Albright as professors. Hearing their stories and advice was so valuable, and their passion continues to inspire me. I’ve also had mentors, like Soraya Chemaly, who have helped me recognize my value and have the confidence to follow my passion.
On other women as inspiration: I love seeing strong, talented women who “go for it,” whether it is in public service, such as Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, or in business, such as Sheryl Sandberg, Tory Burch and Kendra Scott. These women inspire and motivate me to be my best self and to “go for it.”
On overcoming career obstacles related to gender bias: I have experienced situations where I have to be quite overt in proving my competence and merits, rather it being accepted that I am qualified given my background and credentials. While frustrating, I’ve taken these experiences as opportunities to educate someone and potentially make it easier for the next person they speak with.
On whether significant change is taking place in work culture attitudes and career opportunities for women: I believe we are making progress in the right direction, and we will continue to slowly, but surely advance. There are more conversations about equality and diversity, and workplaces are beginning to change. Awareness is the first step, but now we have to look for leadership in taking action.
On contributing to make change happen: We can be part of this next wave in equality by modeling the behavior we want to see in the world, and being active as mentors for others. It is not enough for us to look after our own careers or interests, we have to actively make sure we are taking others forward with us.
If you could recommend one book to every CEO, Senior Executive and entrepreneur in America, what would it be? I really like Sheryl Sandberg’s “Option B” as it focuses on resilience, something so critical for life in general, and for facing the adversity inevitably linked with working on a startup.