“As if you don’t already have enough to do”, is a phrase I often hear when I tell people about the different activities I’m involved in. They are right; being a mother of three active kids is enough to keep anyone busy and couple that with a full-time job, my hands are full. However, when your passion drives you, it’s hard to stop.
“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress! Working hard for something we care about is called passion”.
The phrase above resonates so deeply within. The lack of diversity in STEM career fields, especially technology, drives me to do what I can to implement change and influence the younger generation (especially girls) to pursue Computer Science. In order to influence the younger generation, I volunteer my time with several non-profit organizations: Black Girls Code, Usher’s New Look Foundation, MentorNet, Code.org, and Junior Achievement. These organizations share my vision and allow me to share my passion for technology with the younger generation. I most recently found another organization, Technovation, that is a global technology entrepreneurship program for girls. Technovation’s tag line, “the intersection of technology and innovation”, is a perfect match for my passion! Through Technovation, young women from all over the world identify and solve problems in their local communities by developing mobile app prototypes and business plans that are pitched to potential investors.
I joined Technovation as the Regional Ambassador (RA) for Georgia, in 2016, so that I could extend my reach, impact more lives, and help more girls and young women launch successful careers in technology! First, as the RA, I had to create a team of mentors to work closely with girls registered in the program. Second, I had to find places for the mentors and girls to hold their meetings. I have found that without sponsorship, paying for meeting spaces in Atlanta can be quite expensive; fortunately, Tech Square Labs (near Georgia Tech) was willing to offer us a huge discounted rate! Third, I had to train the non-technical mentors and girls by teaching them how to code and be systems thinkers. Fourth, I had to plan and implement the initial launch event and the season-end regional pitch event, all while keeping the teams on tract during the season. The new relationships that I’ve developed throughout the entire process have been very rewarding. We are currently preparing the girls for the regional pitch event that we all hope will eventually lead to the World Pitch Event in San Francisco, CA.
So, why do I teach girls to code? I teach girls to code because my inner passion drives me to. I find that helping another person reach their fullest potential (by going down a path they may otherwise would not have considered), is what I was put on this planet to do.