Entrepreneurial Heroes

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NCWIT Heroes is a series of magazine-style audio interviews highlighting women entrepreneurs in information technology (IT) careers. 

NCWIT Heroes are women innovators from startups, small companies, and non-profits, whose ideas and products are changing the way we think, work, play, and communicate. Listen as these successful, creative, and technical women discuss their lives and their work – how they first get involved with technology, why they chose to be entrepreneurs, and what advice they would give to young people interested in IT or entrepreneurship. The series is sponsored by the NCWIT Entrepreneurial Alliance with support from EMC.

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Entrepreneurial Heroes Interviews

Interview with Jules Pieri

March 31, 2014

Jules Pieri is the founder and CEO of The Grommet. The Grommet is a company that launches undiscovered products or "grommets" and helps them succeed. "Meg Whitman, who ended up running eBay, running for governor of California and now she's CEO of Hewlett Packard," Jules said of one of her leadership role models. "She landed on my head as my boss. I ended up following her and working for her directly in three different companies. I wouldn't call her an entrepreneurial role model. She's not an entrepreneur but I would call her a leadership role model. It mattered that she was a woman, I'm sure, on some level but I had the chance to work so closely with her for so long that I definitely absorbed a lot of her learnings and things that she succeeded."

Interview with Jenny Lawton

March 31, 2014

Jenny Lawton is the president of MakerBot, a company that is leading the way in 3D printing and printers. "When I look back at it, I realize that I've been an entrepreneur since I was a little kid," Jenny said of when she became an entrepreneur. "I always kept files on everything. As a kid I was very curious and was always starting clubs and projects and getting people to join in and do things. I, of course, was always in charge. I probably still have some of the paperwork from some very complex clubs that I created in fifth grade...I love being able to start something and then see it grow into something that goes somewhere. I realize that that's what fuels me as an entrepreneur."

Interview with Sherisse Hawkins

February 19, 2014

Sherisse Hawkins is the co-founder of Beneath the Ink, a company that provides app-less enhancements for ebooks. "There are advantages to realizing that you can be an entrepreneur at any age," said Sherisse about when she became an entrepreneur. " I think that we focus very much on working right out of school and taking advantage of your youth when you're in your 20s, but one of the most powerful things about our team is our collective ages. Our ages range from 21 to mid‑50s. We're all doing this for the first time. There's just something wonderful about creating a new experience and a new product, no matter what your age is."

SIan Morson

Interview with Sian Morson

February 10, 2014

Sian Morson is a tech entrepreneur, mobile evangelist and strategist. In 2010, Sian founded Kollective Mobile to help other businesses and startups with mobile development and strategy. "I don't know any other way to be," Sian said when asked why she became an entrepreneur. "I've just always been a little more independent than all the other kids. I was always that kid saying, "What else?" I was never just happy with one answer or the status quo. I was always a seeker and that's probably largely, that coped with my need to know how things work, probably laid the ground work for me becoming an entrepreneur today."

Interview with Leslie Bradshaw

August 26, 2013

Leslie Bradshaw is the Chief Operating Officer at Guide, a software company focused on turning online news, social streams and blogs into video. In her role, she is focused on publisher relations, fundraising, marketing, product strategy, talent development and back of house management - "There's going to be a lot of times when as an entrepreneur, even someone who might be an entrepreneur," she said "You're going to come up against, not just resistance, but flat‑out people standing in front of you saying, "You can't do it, you're not going to be successful." I've had people look me in the eye and tell me I'm a fool to think that I can make this work. Of course, truth be told, that just motivates me more."

Beth Krodel

Interview with Beth Krodel

August 26, 2013

Beth Krodel (Beth Crow-del) is the co-founder of Insight Designs Web Solutions, a Boulder based company that specializes in creating and developing websites and interactive online products - "I think being a successful entrepreneur takes a lot of structure. I think that's one thing that has helped our company along the way." she goes on to say, "There are a lot of people who have great ideas, and I think you have to also be able to execute those ideas. One piece of advice would be to make sure that when you're building your team that you have the operations piece, the execution piece, handled. Whether it's something that you're doing yourself or whether you find a partner who can tackle that side of things."

Hilary Mason

Interview with Hilary Mason

February 1, 2013

Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist at bitly, describes problem solving and the development of technology as a super power - "the ability to do something we really couldn't do before." She goes on to say "we're extremely lucky to live at a moment in time, when if you're willing to put in the time and energy, it is actually possible to build things that have not existed before, that actually do make people's lives a bit more interesting.

Asmau Ahmed

Interview with Asmau Ahmed

September 1, 2012

Asmau Ahmed's entrepreneurial story begins with years of unsuccessfully navigating store aisles in search of make-up and clothing colors to help her look her best. As an engineer and beauty and fashion enthusiast with over 11 years of experience in business, Asmau was compelled to address the problem with technology. So she built Plum Perfect, a visual search engine that provides instant personalized recommendations to shoppers using their photos.

Brandy Alexander-Wimberly

Interview with Brandy Alexander-Wimberly

August 1, 2012

Brandy Alexander-Wimberly says that creating Buyvite has been the most challenging and also the best thing that she has ever done professionally, and she reminds entrepreneurs that "if you haven't had a tough career, then you probably haven't learned much along the way."

Hilary DeCesare

Interview with Hilary DeCesare

August 1, 2012

As the mother of three young children, Hilary DeCesare recognized the unmet need for a safe environment for kids to connect online with friends, play games, share pictures and music, and learn new skills. With her children in mind, she created Everloop, a social media platform for kids under 13.

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