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

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.

Genevieve Thiers

Interview with Genevieve Thiers

May 7, 2012

Genevieve created her first company, Sittercity.com, because she recognized a need for an online space where working mothers could go to find reliable caregivers for their children. A similar concept helped her to develop her newest company, Contact Karma, an online company that strives to match the consumer with a vendor that meets their specific needs. The advice that Genevieve has for aspiring entrepreneurs is that it is important to remember "There are no problems, there are just sticky situations waiting for solutions."

Talia Mashiach

Interview with Talia Mashiach

April 23, 2012

Inspired by her love for business and technology, Talia Mashiach was driven to develop Eved, an online meeting and event services marketplace that is revolutionizing the event services industry. Talia has said about entrepreneurs as a group: "We are builders...Giving life to something that didn’t exist is an incredible fulfillment." This passion explains why Eved is such a success.

Interview with Michelle Zatlyn

March 12, 2012

Most people can hardly find the time to eat or sleep in this fast paced world, let alone find the time to wait for a webpage to download. This time crunch that many people are under these days explains the fact that "for every extra hundred milliseconds it takes a site to load, 2% of that site's visitors will be lost," as stated by Michelle in an interview. This is exactly why she co-founded CloudFlare, a service that decreases bandwidth usage, increases site speed, and stops malicious attacks, making for a faster and safer website.

Interview with Celia Francis

February 27, 2012

Celia has a passion for product development and she has said that there is nothing more exciting and rewarding than "creating something out of nothing." Her inspiration resulted in the creation of the incredibly successful online social network WeeWorld, targeted towards teens and tweens, as an outlet for them to express themselves and bond with one another.

Sandy Jen

Interview with Sandy Jen

January 16, 2012

Meebo’s Co-founder and CTO, Sandy Jen recently discussed gaining the self-assurance to start a new company: “You may not feel as if you are qualified or confident enough…The biggest insight in this entrepreneurial journey of mine was when I realized that someone I knew who was not super smart, who failed same tests I did, had started a company, I realized I could do that too.”

Jennifer Pahlka

Interview with Jennifer Pahlka

January 2, 2012

Code for America’s Founder and Executive Director, Jennifer Pahlka describes her company as “Teach for America or Peace Corps for geeks.” Working in cities across the United States, Code for America is building a network of civic leaders who believe that there is a better way of doing things and want to make a difference using web-based solutions.

Interview with Clara Shih

December 1, 2011

Clara Shih, founder and CEO of Hearsay Social and author of The Facebook Era, gives the following advice to young entrepreneurs: “Expose yourself to as many new ideas and opportunities as soon as possible. We don’t know what we don’t know, and sometimes it takes a while to find what we’re passionate about. But we can accelerate that process by learning new things and exposing ourselves to as many new things as possible.”