Michigan High School Girls Visit Silicon Valley, Women 2.0

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“Visiting Women 2.0… showed me that women can make it in the startup world.”

By Jillian Waun (Freshman, Academy of Sacred Heart)

I have recently returned from a trip to San Francisco with 11 other girls from my school. At my school, we call this experience Project Term. For Project Term, there are many options for trips. One trip goes to the Amazon, another to a farm in New York, or you can stay back home for local trips.

We are asked for choices to where we want to go; San Francisco was my first choice!

On our San Francisco trip, we visited many companies like Pinterest, Pixar, Twilio, and also Women 2.0.

Visiting Women 2.0 greatly impacted me on this trip. It showed me that women can make it in the startup world. Growing up, I remember thinking that I was the only girl that really knew her way around a computer. Now, I realize that there are a lot of smart women out there creating new startups and also very successful ones. It’s amazing to think that maybe someday, I will be one of those women.

I would love to start a company that impacts the way the world thinks. It would be so incredible and rewarding to change people’s lives in even a small way. I was really inspired by Pinterest, because they told us there are people who write to them saying how Pinterest is a great, life changing tool.

Starting a business would not be a new experience for me. At the age of 8, I decided I should be making some profit off of my skills. I started my first website, TeenShoeBox.com, it sold shoes to teenage girls. I signed up for an affiliate program, set up a simple looking web page on iWeb, and told my friends. I never had any customers; I was very disappointed and frustrated, so I gave up for a while.

The experience I had in San Francisco last week made me realize something: I have to be passionate about the things I do in life. When I started my website at 8 years old, I really wasn’t passionate about shoes; it was just something I thought I could make money with.

After the trip, I’ve found myself thinking about the things that inspire me and the things about which I am passionate. I am trying to incorporate these things into a new website idea, hopefully something that will be profitable or successful this time. I have also realized that coding is an important skill to have. You can still make it in the startup world without it; but, it seems to open a lot of doors for startup entrepreneurs. My goal is to at least learn HTML in the next month or so.

I think a career that has to do with startups or tech is definitely in my future. The information I gained on this trip will definitely take me far with whatever I do in life. It’s definitely an amazing experience and opportunity I had, and I will never forget it.

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About the guest blogger: Jillian Waun is a freshman at the Academy of the Sacred Heart in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She enjoys theater (both backstage and on stage), technology, photography, and making websites. On her spare time, she loves making movies or music videos with her friends. She hopes to pursue a career in technology or film. She is currently hoping to attend USC.