AOL’s MAKERS Conference brought together the most influential women across the country to empower and inspire women and young girls to break the glass ceiling and strive for equality. Amongst these women were three tech moguls that took the stage and inspired everyone with tips on how to become better leaders, educators and career climbers.

Megan Smith

The 3rd CTO of the United States of America, Entrepreneur & Engineer

Smith motivates us to get more familiar with the ingredients in technology because the need for tech and digital skills in the U.S. are rapidly increasing.

“How do we play the whole orchestra? A lot of the times there’s technical and non technical people. But that’s just flat out untrue. The universe doesn’t separate out the subjects and we don’t need to. That’s just us stereotyping them and our lack of history. So how do we feel like we can play any of the instruments? If you don’t feel confident go get a teammate. Pull them in, but don’t  leave TQ (Tech IQ) out of the room.  Put it in the room with you, because we need it more than ever.”

Sheryl Sandberg

COO of Facebook

Sandberg inspires us with an example of how to think outside of the box to excel your career.

“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder,” states Sandberg. She describes how Lori Goler, now Global Head of People at Facebook, first asked Sheryl about how she could work with her at Facebook, “I think I want to apply to work with you at Facebook, so I thought about calling you and telling you about all the things I’m good and all the things I like doing, but I figured everyone is doing that. So I just want to know what is your biggest problem and how can I solve it.”

Sandberg describes her reply to Goler, “My biggest problem is recruiting and you can solve it.” Sandberg continues, “It was such a good example of how careers are not moving up the ladder traditionally, but it’s by looking around.”

Priscilla Chan

Co-Founder of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Priscilla encourages us to think big, but also have empathy for the people that are affected by our decisions.

“I think for me it’s the combination of thinking about the high level systems. How do we bring health care providers with teachers and actually build this beautiful net around every child so they can succeed. There’s a lot of important think tank policy work I enjoy doing, but the other half is just go do it and figure out what are the problems and what you need to actually solve for to breach that vision.

For me at the school, I remind people that I am working on integrating health care, data,  early education, parent empowerment, but on a day to day basis where are the nap mats and does everyone know how to go to the potty. You need to deal with that before you can change the world. And that empathy is also incredibly important if you’re in a place to make decisions that affect the way parents, teachers and students actually work with the systems and in the systems.”

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About the interviewer: Patricia Dao is CEO of dailyKARMA, Advocate for Women in STEM, Writer and Speaker on Tech and Entrepreneurship