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Successful Female Founders Share Tips for Launching a New Business
Launching a new business is not easy, never mind bringing to market an entirely new product or service. oanna Parker could hardly believe that when she landed a deal for her new company, Yumble Kids, from Bethenny Frankel on Shark Tank. However, It was not just Shark Tank or Bethanny Frankel that made Yumble Kids successful. It was Parker’s foresight to test the market before going into full-on launch mode. That not only gave her a proof of concept but also the opportunity to get valuable feedback from her target audience. Here are some tips how to start a new and successful business.
Posted on 14 Sep 2021
How Gender Bias Inhibits Progress and What Leaders Can Do About It
In 1970, American luggage executive Bernard Sadow took four castors from a wardrobe, secured them to a suitcase, and added a strap. It was the world’s first rolling suitcase. Except that it wasn’t. Anita Willets-Burnham, an American impressionist artist, may be the earliest inventor of the wheeled suitcase. Before embarking on a second world tour in 1928, she came up with the idea to put wheels on a suitcase. Her son implemented her idea using two baby carriage wheels and a telescoping wooden handle. Fast-forward to the 1970s, Sadow had trouble getting department store chains to sell his rolling suitcase. The reason was due to two gender stereotypes: The first was that men would not use a wheeled suitcase because it was too effeminate. The second was the industry assumption that women always travelled with men who could carry the bags. It took 15 more years for the wheeled suitcase to go mainstream, taking off in 1987 when U.S. pilot Robert Plath created the modern cabin bag with wheels and an extended handle—similar to the telescoping handle on Burnham’s 1928 suitcase. A more recent example of gender bias inhibiting progress relates to the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Katalin Karikó researched messenger RNA (mRNA) for decades—but her efforts were repeatedly dismissed and devalued by her employer, the University of Pennsylvania. When she was unable to find research funding, the university demoted her out of her tenure-track position in 1995. Normally, university faculty who are denied tenure leave. Karikó stayed for eight more years but was never reinstated to her tenure-track position.
Posted on 30 Aug 2021
Language Matters
We need to reflect on how we wield our words as scientists and educators, especially when doing work to make academe and science more diverse, writes Maria Qadri. Education is supposed to be a lifelong process. It is not something that ends with a terminal degree or accolade. In learning about our disciplines, those of us who are in STEM fields must not forget to learn about ourselves. We should set aside an hour, a minute or at least a mere moment to the intentional self-reflection that ensures inclusive practice. What are we doing to make the world a little bit better, who we are truly serving, and how are we upholding systems and structures that perpetuate injustice? As we learn more about who we are, what we value, and where we come up short, we do better at achieving the transformation in scientific pedagogy and research that we advocate for.
Posted on 17 Aug 2021
Stephanie Kwolek: The Groundbreaking Chemist Whose Invention Stops Bullets
Meet Stephanie Kwolek, who's invention of Kevlar has saved countless lives over the past 40 years. Kevlar is a fiber five times stronger than steel that is now used in numerous products ranging from boots for firefighters to spacecraft - and most famously, in bulletproof vests. It's estimated that since Kevlar's introduction to body armor in the 1970s, the lives of over 3,000 police officers have been saved, as well as those of innumerable soldiers and others in conflict zones. On the day that the pioneering chemist passed away in June 2014 at the age of 90, DuPont announced that the one-millionth protective vest made using Kwolek's lifesaving invention was sold.
Posted on 31 Jul 2021
Girls Think of Everything
A book of stories of ingenious inventions by women; In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities? This updated and expanded 2018 edition includes even more inventors and their inventions that reflect our diverse and technological world. An outstanding collective biography of women and girls who changed the world with their inventions. Thimmesh surveys unique and creative ideas that were both borne of necessity or were simply a product of ingenuity and hard work.
Posted on 31 Jul 2021
Collaborating Builds Our Bench Strength
Qualcomm has identified strategic partners to accelerate our inclusion and diversity programs. Their continued engagement with organizations that work with diverse communities has been vital to our success at increasing female and minority representation. They’re building our bench strength through collaborations with many organizations, such as: Anita Borg Institute, Employer Support of the Guard & Reserves, National Center for Women & Information Technology, The National GEM Consortium, FairyGodBoss, National Society of Black Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and others.
Posted on 18 Jul 2021
Why we’re entering a significant moment in the fight for equity in tech
In summer 2020, protests erupted across the U.S., sparked by the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other Black Americans. Within the tech industry, many leaders made public statements, financial commitments, and policy changes meant to improve equity and inclusion within their walls - and in the products they peddle. To commemorate the first anniversary of these protests, Fast Company partnered with The Plug, a publication that covers the Black innovation economy, to examine what those commitments are, what they have achieved - and how much work still remains. For Ken Chenault, the chairman and managing director of VC fund General Catalyst, a board member at Airbnb, and the cofounder of OneTen, a group of executives committed to upskilling, hiring, and advancing one million Black Americans in the corporate world, the amount of talk about DEI feels promising - but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Posted on 25 Jun 2021
Building a Pipeline of Diverse Talent at Qualcomm
Qualcomm actively seeks and recruits diverse candidates for positions at the company. Diverse teams, built around different perspectives, experiences and skill sets, fuel creativity and innovation. They’re developing leaders and shaping future talent pools to help us meet the needs of our diverse customers worldwide. This means they’re taking a broad approach to finding diverse candidates. Qualcomm is committed to promoting gender equity in technology. Through our external partnerships they encourage young girls and women to pursue careers in tech. They have dedicated resources to organizations including Anitab.org, the National Center for Women & Information Technology and Reboot Representation to increase the number of women in STEM-related fields, particularly in electrical engineering and computer science. Ensuring that their workplace is accessible for all employees is a priority at Qualcomm and an integral part of their values. They have a robust accommodation process and constantly improve our events with services such as closed captioning and sign language interpreters . They provide training to managers and teams as needed. In collaboration with the National Foundation for Autism Research, they launched an internship program to welcome individuals with autism into the company.
Posted on 25 Jun 2021
At 15, scientist Gitanjali Rao made history. ‘You don’t need a PhD to make a difference,’ she says.
Gitanjali Rao just finished her final exam of the year and, like any other teenager, is eager to begin her summer.The 15-year-old is, in many ways, not your typical teen. She landed on the cover of Time magazine in 2020 as its inaugural “Kid of the Year” for her scientific achievements, which include building a device, Tethys, that detects lead in drinking water. But Rao doesn’t see herself as exceptional. In fact, when she was younger, she didn’t even see herself as “the science type.” She was driven, instead, by trying to find solutions to problems in her community. Once she discovered science and technology could be a means of finding those solutions, there was no turning back. “Using science and technology as social change became something that was intuitive to me and something that I wanted to keep doing,” she said. The way Rao sees it, this connects her to the rest of her generation. A study released Tuesday from the multinational corporation 3M found the pandemic has renewed interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) globally, with interest highest among millennials and Gen Z in particular. Rao says her passion for STEM has shaped her days and her goals - she is working on creating a global network of young innovators to tackle global problems. It also fuels her relentless optimism for the future and all its possibilities.
Posted on 28 May 2021
The Edge: What It Takes to Encourage Underrepresented Students to Pursue Tech Majors and Careers
Too many graduates don’t get a crack at tech careers. Colleges could change that. Black and Hispanic employees remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and math work force. That includes the fast-growing - and well-paying - computing sector. Women, too, are still underrepresented in fields like computing and engineering. And as a new analysis of employment and education data from the Pew Research Center highlights: “Current trends in STEM-degree attainment appear unlikely to substantially narrow these gaps.” Don’t let Pew’s characteristically understated language obscure the message. That finding should be a wake-up call for anyone who cares about higher ed’s role in promoting economic equity and social mobility. Ditto for anyone who recognizes the stakes of seeing a sector as vital as tech continue to flourish while key segments of the population are left out.
Posted on 14 May 2021

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