Debbie and I talked at length about what each of our first posts would be about. I decided to recollect on how this beautiful relationship came to be since we were brought together through a really incredible experience.
An organization that focuses on social innovation and entrepreneurship called StartingBloc held their Los Angeles Institute during February. Before I applied, I actually hesitated because to be quite honest, I didn’t know what I was walking into! I knew “social innovation,” and that was about it. On a whim, I went through creating the video applications, got into the program and really didn’t prepare anything for the trip.
Once I got to LA, what played out over a span of five days was a transformative experience. I met some of the most inspiring, driven, innovative people in my life to date – Miss Debbie being one of them.
On a personal note, to give you some background and context – I can’t focus on one thing when it comes to ideas, facts, projects…I know a lot about many random things, from Kenyan political history to the process of making roquefort cheese to the differences between debt and equity financing for business capital raising, and this is no coincidence. My brain is a sponge and I feel life happens once, so I want to learn as much as possible. I’m like a kid in a candy store.
That being said – that’s a bit counterintuitive when it comes to starting a business, right? Starting a business requires nurturing. You don’t raise a child a few years and then ditch it for another child. Well, I guess unless you’re looking for a fast exit and then moving onto your next venture…BUT I digress.
My point is – I have commitment issues.
I have an idea book FULL of half baked ideas, some intensely researched, some half written, but I haven’t stuck by any of them because at the end of the day, I couldn’t picture myself spending 80+ hour weeks on them. And then I heard Debbie pitch Goldie Blox.
I can’t tell you what that feeling was like. Love? Joy? Happiness? Is this the feeling someone gets when they meet the love of their life? [Kidding – but seriously, you’re great, Debbie!] It was truly an epiphany in every sense of the word.
Her idea has so much clarity to me, and addresses a deeper problem I have ALWAYS thought about tackling – promoting female empowerment through education, and specifically through Goldie Blox, STEM education. On a personal level, when I was a kid I wanted to be an engineer. The difference between Debbie and me in our paths is Debbie actually said, “Screw what boys and girls are supposed to do, I’m going to be an engineer;” and I said, “I really want to be an engineer but I am not very good at math and science, so maybe I should do something else.” I was the girl that Debbie is trying to inspire through Goldie.
Debbie’s pitch at StartingBloc brought me back to that moment in high school when I simply didn’t think I was good enough to work towards a STEM career. One of her “asks” in her pitch included wanting a business brain to help her strategize how to get to NY Toy Fair 2013 with a bang, and that was the calling I needed.
During lunch that day, I made sure I got real nice and close to her in the food line. I nudged her and said, “Yo Debbie. I’m your hustler.”
The rest is history.
NY Toy Fair 2013. GAME ON.