Tag Archives: STEM

Interview #1: How to Grow as an Entrepreneur – by Fatima Williams

You have an idea, you have something that you want to do, a business that you want to start up. How do you go about doing it?’
Self-Confidence, Motivation, and Inspiration help you develop and grow as an Entrepreneur. It’s about recognizing opportunity, looking around you, and thinking of something that could be done differently. It might be a new product or a new service but it’s about spotting an opportunity in the marketplace. Something out of the box. Out of the ordinary. Often, it’s the most simplest of ideas that really take off.

Inspired by the response to my article, 2018 Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them, I initiated this series called How to grow as an entrepreneur. I am talking to leading and inspiring women entrepreneurs all over the world and welcome men who support Women Entrepreneurship as well. This is about raising awareness. Women need to take the entrepreneur baton in their hands.

LAURA STALEY is the 1st entrepreneur in the series. Laura is Founder of Cherish Your World and she passionately helps people thrive. She started her entrepreneur journey in 2004 after a flood in her finished basement. A realization that she could live with belongings she loves and not hand-me-down stuff she didn’t need.
A purpose driven entrepreneur who empowers people and a mother of a loving son and daughter. Laura has graciously agreed to be part of this series, “I’m happy to be of love and service to other women entrepreneurs!”

Here are Laura’s answers questions about her journey to help people thrive.
1.Do you agree the baton has to be passed on and why?
Yes, the baton needs to be passed on because each person has an opportunity to live true to their deepest calling and purpose. Each of us has unique gifts, talents, life experiences that when shared can bring value to the lives of others. We are meant to shine brightly in the world. Some may choose the path of becoming an entrepreneur. I honor all the different choices people make and it can be exciting and nerve-racking to actually listen to your heart, intuition, and soul.
2.What advice would you give women who want to become entrepreneurs?
Do what you love, live true to your gifts and talents. Listen to your heart because the heart knows the answers. Identify what you love so much that you will jump out of bed every morning excited for the day and all the challenges. What is that “dream that will need all the love you can give everyday of your life for as long as you live?”-Rogers and Hammerstein  What is that dream? Keep going, responding, and making lots of mistakes, and be willing to learn and keep taking inspired actions.
Surround yourself with good, wise people who really believe in you and will be supportive and honest with you. Grow deeply in self-awareness.

3. You have an idea, you want a business you want to start up, how do you go about doing it?
My path was truly unique in that I just kept taking inspired actions after my “AHA” moment after the flood of my finished basement.

  • If you have identified a clear passion, a way to serve others, or a product that brings joy and value, take small steps everyday to bring it to life. Share your idea with trusted others. If you need training, get training.
  • Reach out to others for support in the areas that are not your strengths.
  • Be willing to stretch outside your comfort zone and learn. Keep being brave, network, and ask questions. Keep being willing to grow, adapt, and flow. There are many people willing to help and guide…Ask for support!

4. You’ve mentioned quite a few things there what else would women specially need; can you tell us one crucial thing they need to develop as an entrepreneur?
One crucial thing women might need —I think a great deal of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and unwavering, unstoppable inspiration, determination, and tons of courage. Not everyone may agree with you and some may be threatened by your sense of empowerment and your passion.

5. What about pitching your idea to somebody or getting investors behind you?
I began by excitedly sharing with friends and it grew little by little each week. In 2015 I reached out to many people when I knew I was all in. I networking and sharing my vision for people to create homes they enjoy and lives they love.

6. And what about risk? As an entrepreneur are you the type of person that’s takes risk? How do we tackle these risks?
Most of my life I have learned to take risks and have made choices with which others did not agree.

  • I’ve learned to “brave the wilderness” as Brene Brown states it and muster the courage and tenacity to keep going. I made and will make lots more mistakes, but I’d rather stretch myself into the unknown than live a half-lived life. The words of Brene Brown inspire me to be brave and vulnerable. It’s terrifying at times.
  • Daily meditation, exercise, and focusing on gratitude supports me immensely. I tackle the risks by going for it, adapting, responding, taking full responsibility for my miscues and missteps.
  • Apologizing, working to make it right if I can, and forgiving myself.
  • Holding compassion for myself and others helps a great deal. We are all on different journeys learning different lessons.
  • I also notice there seems to be this blend or flow between strategic planning and intuitive adapting.
  • Know you will fall down, but also know you have the strength and resilience to get back up and keep going – Laura
  • I have found its helpful to ask what’s working and what’s not working and what could be utterly different. My focus is on the client or the participants at a talk and how I can best serve them.
  • What value can I bring to the table? What fresh perspective can I offer? Can I listen more and talk less? Can I ask more questions?
    Most definitely. Will another person breathe easier because I lived or be moved by those stories and experiences? I hope so.

7. One thing that I’ve always noticed about any entrepreneurs or business people that I’ve interacted with is confidence, what your golden advice on keep that light burning.
At times I have struggled with confidence and self-sabotaging behaviors because I didn’t think I was worthy of being here.
I had a metaphorical “flapping umbilical cord” and was searching desperately for belonging, acceptance, and love.
I faked confidence and lived with yearning and terror inside of me.
Years of book reading, personal growth, therapies, transformational/leadership/emotional intelligence workshops all supported a coming home to my own soul, in my bones an experience of belonging to myself.
I’ve lived through many life challenges that have shaped me, but haven’t defined me.
I tap into Maria, the character from The Sound of Music, and “I Have Confidence” and the song “Titanium” to keep the light burning in the realm of confidence. I’ve lost many people to death and almost lost my son twice. I work to keep it all in perspective. My son now thrives, and I am so grateful.

8. Thank you, Laura, for sharing those personal challenges as well. I admire your Courage. Last question here, please tell us one book, movie or role model who changed the way you looked at things in life.
Maria from The Sound of Music will forever be my role model for exuberance, unwavering passion, determination, ingenuity, courage, and vulnerability. This movie continues to inspire my own life journey. I found my passion and sacred livelihood for a lifetime after reading Terah Kathyn Collin’s book, The Western Guide to Feng Shui. This body of wisdom continues to transform my life. I’m forever grateful.

Thank you, Laura, for being you, please continue to empower and inspire women to take the baton!
Once you believe in yourself and what you’re putting forward to the world, people will believe in you.
We can all form support groups to help each other shine. Are you ready to pass the baton?

2018 Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them – by Fatima Williams

Women Entrepreneurs around the world face major challenges but many are inspiring us to shape the future of global business. They show the value of extending a helping hand to others. They support fellow women to rise together rather than looking at them as rivals. They are instrumental in building positivity and in establishing the Golden Era of Women Entrepreneurship.

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Sheila & Priya Boyington: Women in STEM

Sheila C. Boyington
President, Thinking Media-Learning Blade; National States Chair, Million Women Mentors

Sheila is a successful serial entrepreneur leading the creation of several products. Her company, Thinking Media is the creator of ACT’s KeyTrain® system for WorkKeys® and career readiness (acquired by ACT in 2011), PictureRx® for health literacy, and CharacterEd.Net® for K-12 character education. She is well-known for her passion, strong management, and leadership skills and has been credited for gaining high adoption of the Thinking Media tools including over 30 statewide contracts. Sheila has won numerous awards for her Entrepreneurship and Leadership and as a Professional Engineer.

Priya C. Boyington
Marketing Manager, Stitch Fix

Priya is an e-commerce marketer, passionate about the intersection of retail and technology. She currently resides in San Francisco and is a marketing manager for Stitch Fix’s newly launched men’s business and has previous experience at GoldieBlox, Bain & Company, and Fortune 500 companies. A graduate of Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in Chattanooga, she holds a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from The Wharton School.

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Why Bother Writing? – by Deborah Levine

Why bother writing when technology does much of the work for us? Templates plan for us, spell-check edits for us, and there’s enough information online to produce a ocean of plagiarized work. It’s no surprise that technical and business writing skills are becoming lost arts. Yet, successful communication with colleagues, teams, and clients relies heavily on written memos, emails, reports, proposals, and evaluations. Professional development should include the development of writing skills, but rarely does.

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Volkswagen, E week, and Engineering the Future – by Deborah Levine

Engineers from regional corporations, agencies, universities, schools, and professional associations, came together to kick off Engineers Week 2017 at The Chattanoogan conference center. E-Week is designed to help the world understand what engineering is and how it impacts us at multiple levels: from cars to bridges, electric blankets to electrical grids, or farms to supermarkets. Whether chemical, electrical, mechanical, or civil, engineers shape our lives.

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Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)

Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and the writer of the first published computer program. She was originally named Augusta Ada Byron and was the daughter of the famous poet, Lord Byron, and his wife, Annabella. In 1835, Ada married William King, ten years her senior, and when King inherited a noble title in 1838, they became the Earl and Countess of Lovelace. Most women in her position at that time were not encouraged in their education or intellect. Known as “the first programmer,” Ada was assisted in her learned by a mathematician-logician, Augustus De Morgan, who taught Mathematics at the University of London.

While working for an English mathematician, Charles Babbage, Ada developed an interest in his machines which later proved to be the forerunners of the modern computer. In 1843, Ada succeeded in translating and annotating an article written by mathematician Luigi Federico Menabrea on one of Babbage’s machines. Using what she called, “Poetical Science”, Ada also made detailed description of how an “Analytical Machine” could be programmed to calculate a sequence of rational numbers. Babbage referred to Ada as an “enchantress of numbers.” Today the Ada computer programming language developed in the 1980s for the U.S. Department of Defense is named in her honor.

Ada Lovelace is one of the biographies in the STEM Women Study Guide. The Guide is a classroom tool that encourages & educates women in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM)
The Spiral Notebook, including discussion questions, was created in coordination with womengroundbreakers.com
Special thanks for their support of the project:
Platinum Sponsors: 
Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, Humanities Tennessee
Gold Sponsors: 
American Diversity Report, Chattanooga Writers Guild, EPB Fiber Optics, excellerate!, Million Women Mentors, Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Southern Adventist University, The HR Shop, ThreeTwelve Creative, UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science, Volkswagen Chattanooga.
Special Thanks Southern Adventist University Intern Abigail White

STEM Women - Ada Lovelace

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Legacy of a Chemical Engineering Professor: Dr. Frank Jones – by Deborah Levine

Dr. Frank Jones
UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science faculty honoring Dr. Frank Jones

The room was packed at the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) as faculty, students, and graduates gathered to celebrate the life of one of their own and mourn his passing. Dr. Francis Joseph Jones (1951-2016) was a UC Foundation Professor and the Chemical Program Coordinator at CECS at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The CECS memorial was like an old-fashioned wake with shared stories and heartfelt testimonials for the man that colleagues and family knew as “Frank.”

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Portrait of an Innovator, Engineer, and Educator: Dr. Ed McMahon – by Deborah Levine

Back in 1969, when the University of Chattanooga merged with the University of Tennessee system and became the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC), the school of engineering became the College of Engineering. The college has consistently reflected the changing nature of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Absorbing computer science in the late 1980s, the college morphed into the College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). Separate departments gradually emerged: Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, followed by Civil and Chemical Engineering. The UTC Engineering Management and Graduate Programs developed into the Engineering Management and Technology department, and Dr. Ed McMahon became one of its chief innovators.

Continue reading Portrait of an Innovator, Engineer, and Educator: Dr. Ed McMahon – by Deborah Levine

STEM Dilemma: Female Drought or Flex Famine? – by Paul Rupert

The Keystone pipeline debate has fueled political conflict for half a decade, with little oil to show for it. But now a very different pipeline discussion has gripped the country. Tech companies in dozens of states, and the educational infrastructure that supplies their workforces, are approaching consensus that the problem of “too few women” in high-tech is essentially a pipeline problem. And at the rate things are going, this conclusion will lead to front-loading the pipe at a rate Keystone’s advocates could only envy.

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STEM Women Stories from Chattanooga: ASPIRE & INSPIRE! – by Deborah Levine

The push to attract women to STEM education and careers is gaining steam, but the impact is questionable. Young women have ample cause to be discouraged given the decrease of the number of women professionals in many STEM fields. Bucking the trend, efforts to encourage women to embrace STEM have increased dramatically. Those efforts span the country, including in Tennessee where the Women Ground Breakers recently held their annual Chattanooga GroundBreaking Storytelling featuring women in STEM.

Continue reading STEM Women Stories from Chattanooga: ASPIRE & INSPIRE! – by Deborah Levine