entrepreneurday2122
Seventh graders from Seattle Girls School crowd around LiquidPlanner software engineer Josh Gross, who shows off software development in action. Photo courtesy of Mark Holton.

Inside the pink-laden walls of Julep’s office lobby, the high-pitched demands of seventh-grade girls fill the room.

Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls School.
Julep CEO Jane Park talks about her company’s “Style Profile,” which matches customers with the right beauty products. Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls’ School.

Julep CEO Jane Park stands in front of a flatscreen, showing off her company’s style profile quiz that matches individual customers with Julep’s products.

Park, who is teaching the values of brand building, asks the girls to help fill out the profile.

“Purple!!” they shout. “The brown one!! The shoes!! The 1950s!!”

This gets the students from Seattle Girls’ School buzzing and excited, but it’s just one fun snippet of an action-packed day full of startup lessons from Seattle’s top female CEOs.

Moz CEO Sarah Bird talks about how her company built the right culture. Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls School.
Moz CEO Sarah Bird talks about how her company built the right culture. Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls’ School.

To show the girls what life at a startup is really like, LiquidPlanner CEO Liz Pearce worked with SGS to organize Tuesday’s “Entrepreneur Day,” which included one yellow school bus, six startups and a whole lot of inspiration.

The seventh grade at SGS is the year of leadership, so the kids were perfect candidates for something like Entrepreneur Day.

Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls School.
Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls’ School.

“We put on the event to inspire the girls to become entrepreneurs, technologists, and business leaders in our community,” Pearce said.

The day started with a morning visit to Rivet & Sway, where CEO Sarah Bryar spoke about product development and gave away stylish eyeglasses. From there, the bus hopped over to Madrona Venture Group for a 45-minute lesson on fundraising from Julie Sandler.

The girls also stopped at LiquidPlanner to learn about software development, to Modumetal for a 101 on intellectual property from CEO Christina Lomasney and finally ended the day at Moz to hear CEO Sarah Bird talk about culture at a startup.

Somewhat to my surprise, almost every student lent her full attention to each speaker, even though they’ll likely not remember the details behind Julep’s brand strategy or how Moz executed on building great culture.

Modumetal CEO Christina Lomasney gives a tour of her company to students from Seattle Girls School. Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls School.
Modumetal CEO Christina Lomasney gives a tour of her company to students from Seattle Girls School. Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls’ School.

But those specifics weren’t important on Tuesday — rather, it was about introducing them to the important qualities that makes a successful entrepreneur. It’s safe to say the girls came away with some real, valuable lessons.

“I learned about persistence, challenging yourself and pushing through your mistakes,” Shira, a student, said afterward.

The girls asked inquisitive questions and made smart observations. At Julep, they took note of the office space and used adjectives like “collaboration,” “open,” and “creative” to describe the working area.

Park, Julep’s CEO, also asked them what they want in a workplace.

“Cute outfits,” one hollered.

“Fun,” another said.

Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls School.
Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls’ School.

“A place that helps people or animals,” a student said.

“Somewhere that’s challenging,” another quipped.

Aside from picking nail colors and giving away Julep goodie bags full of makeup, Park said that there was one thing she really wanted to get across to the seventh graders: It’s O.K. to make mistakes.

“The message that I care most about and that I hoped they takeaway is the whole idea that it’s O.K. not to get it all right from the beginning,” Park told me afterward. “It’s especially important for young girls, who have such pressure to have everything be perfect. Perfection is definitely the enemy of young adolescent girls.”

Consider that message absorbed.

“You need patience, determination and the willingness to make mistakes,” Franny, another student, said as she walked out of Moz.

I asked Franny why it was important to make mistakes.

“Because you can learn from them,” she quickly responded.

Yes, that’s a seventh grader speaking. From the sounds of it, these young ladies are well on their way to running their own successful company someday.

Comments

  • Enrique Godreau III

    Bravo!!! To everyone involved, thank you for doing this. We all stand to benefit from thoughtful, caring activities like these.

    • John Tissmion

      Awesome, it is so cool these outstanding leaders make time for the girls. Go SGS. I am amazed by the good will.

      • Cindy Smith

        Wow!!!! I agree, the human spirit goes beyond material riches. Inspiring and truly legacy building. Love the Julep…

  • Brant Williams

    Powerful leadership. Fun to read. This story deserves more coverage. Just awesome.

  • Bob Crimmins

    This is tremendous! Hat’s off SGS and to Liz for organizing this and all of the women CEOs involved. The lessons and skills of entrepreneurship are so valuable for young people. It’s truly a gift that these 7th grade girls are exposed to this experience — for SO many reasons. It’s regrettable that all the many thousands of 7th grade daughters in the public school system will never have such an opportunity. Would love to see that change.

    • Rafael del Castillo

      We are so thrilled to see community and business leaders take the time to teach young women the lessons they need to change our world for the better. We are all counting on them!

  • Mary Jesse

    This is really cool. Thanks to all involved. Would love to see more of this – men and women – boys and girls – to increase K-12 STEM engagement. I went on a school field trip to Cal Berkeley Computer Science Dept. many moons ago and never forgot the positive impression it left on me.

    • Rafael del Castillo

      The impact is immediate and long lasting. Perhaps you can join our itinerary for next year ? :-)

      • Mary Jesse

        Absolutely!

  • Rafael del Castillo

    If you would like to learn more about how we are developing girls to become leaders in STEM fields, please take a look at our STEAM initiative and spread the word that all schools need to be STEAM schools!

    http://steam.seattlegirlsschool.org/

  • Irony

    Ironically juleps whole tech leadership is a dude’s club. Julep’s leaders cannot see women in leadership in tech.

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.