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