Excerpts from an interview in the Austin Business Journal with Sandra Zaragoza.

October 9, 2008 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

1. Girlstart has been around for more than 10 years. How have things changed since you founded it?

The thing that has changed the most since I founded Girlstart is technology, it’s constantly changing. We’re sharing incredible innovations in technology with girls. It’s hard to believe now but when I started Girlstart teaching girls to build websites was truly cutting edge. Now we’re teaching girls how to use green screen technology and how to put on actual events in Teen Second Life. The thing that hasn’t changed is the need. Women hold only 12% of the nation’s lucrative science, engineering, and technology jobs and currently only an estimated 10% of engineers are female. Sadly, those numbers have not improved at all in the past 10 years.

2. As a society we’d like to think we’ve made strides in getting girls interested in STEM-related careers. Where do you see us now and what still needs to be accomplished?

The world is changing. The infrastructure of our society is based on medical advances, technological innovation, the global marketplace, the economy and the environment. If girls and women don’t have a place at the table we get an extremely limited perspective on how to solve the problems that plague our word.

3. Why should businesses and individual donors invest in your organization?

This economy poses challenges for all of us. It’s more expensive for all of us to provide our services, our clients need our help now more than ever, and funders are tightening their belts. There’s a draw to supporting urgent services for those highest in need. It’s easy to forget or downplay the need to invest in future generations but it is an investment that will pay off for all of us. If the cure for cancer is in the mind of an eleven year old girl and we fail to get her excited about science and technology, we just lost the cure for cancer.

4. What is one mistake that you’ve made that you’ve learned from?

I do not believe there are any mistakes. I’ve learned from every challenge I’ve encountered. Some lessons were very painful but experiencing it not as a failure, and instead choosing to ask myself, “What I can learn from this?” has made me grow as a person.

5. What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moments happen everyday because I believe in celebrating and cheering for every win, big and small. Being an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist for the third time and being in the company of these other great finalists really makes me feel like I’ve done something right.


Entry filed under: Media.

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