39 #CBEWEEK : Kiwoba Allaire

Through our partnership with the Coalition of Black Excellence founded by Angela J., we have the pleasure of talking with the CEO and founder of GIRL STEM STARS Kiwoba Allaire. Kiwoba discusses her exciting non-profit and its commitment to advancing young girls of color in STEM.

Donate to GIRL STEM STARS today! http://www.girlstemstars.org/donate-today

Find out more about CBE/CBE Week here: https://www.cbeweek.com/

TRANSCRIPT

Zach: What's up, y'all? It's Zach, and listen, y'all. Living Corporate is partnering with the Coalition of Black Excellence, a non-profit organization based in California, in bringing a Special Speaker series to promote CBE Week, an annual week-long event designed to highlight excellence in the black community, connect black professionals across sectors, and provide opportunities for professional development and community engagement that will positively transform the black community. This is a special series where we will spotlight movers and shakers and leaders who will be speakers during CBE Week, and today, we have Kiwoba Allaire.

 

Kiwoba: Hi, everyone.

 

Zach: Kiwoba Allaire is the founder and CEO of GIRL STEM STARS and an executive business partner at Google. She is inspired and dedicated to helping young girls build successful futures in the tech industry. Kiwoba sits on local non-profit boards for the United Way, the Sheriff's Activities League, The Family Network, and Ronnie Lott's All Stars Helping Kids. Among her many accolades, Allaire was named one of the top 50 mufti-cultural leaders in technology by the Coalition Diversity Council, Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal, recipient of the Sistahs Rock Beyond the Limits Award, San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Woman, Forever Influential Woman, and Silicon Valley Business Times’ Most Influential Woman. Now, listen, y'all. We typically have air horns. We're gonna drop the air horns right here. She got all the badges. She's certified, y'all. She is here. Welcome to the show, Kiwoba. How are you doing?

 

Kiwoba: Fantastic. Glad that the fires have subsided. God sent some rain, and we have blue skies. It's nice to be in California today, to say the least, you know?

 

Zach: Absolutely. Well, no, definitely happy that you are--you and yours are safe and sound. So I know I gave our audience your profile in our intro, but do you have anything else you'd like for us to know about you?

 

Kiwoba: I'm from San Francisco, born and raised, and I'm married. I have a wonderful husband named Patrick, and I have a little boy who's turning 5 next month, Christophe, and they are the love of my life. I have a, you know, great family. I'm blessed to be alive, you know? You'll know why when I say it--when I tell you later, but I am very grateful to be healthy and alive.

 

Zach: Absolutely. You know, what do you--you know, we're gonna talk about Girl STEM Stars today and your background at Google and the work that you've done within your organization as well as your job and your career. What do you think are some of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to STEM?

 

Kiwoba: I would say that there's no room for creativity in the STEM fields. There are creative STEM careers, such as working in virtual reality, Pixar, making movies, or music data journalists or NASA, Spotify, Electronic Arts. There are even fun activities that I like to do myself, which is, like, paragliding and scuba diving. When I'm flying in the air with my husband, there's a lot of STEM. Scuba diving? There's a lot of STEM on my back, keeping me alive under 100 feet of water, underwater, and I generally don't see people that look like myself doing any of these activities, you know? It's the same with, like, golf. I mean, look, there's only one--we have one really highlighted person of color, black man, playing golf, and there's a lot of STEM when it comes to golf when you think about it. You know, just--there's a lot of fun activities that I just don't see people that look like myself doing, and I like to highlight that to the girls at GIRL STEM STARS.

 

Zach: No, that's so true, and I will say that for me, as someone who doesn't really have a STEM background, it is easy to think about STEM and say, "Okay, well, it's just Xs and Os, 1s and 0s." Very binary, right?

 

Kiwoba: It's everything we do.

 

Zach: Right.

 

Kiwoba: Yeah, it's everything we do.

 

Zach: Absolutely, and when you talk about it--even, you know, in just, like, makeup. Makeup. You need deodorant, and I'm just looking--and the reason I said makeup, I'm looking--I'm in my bedroom right now, and I'm looking at my wife's nightstand, and I see deodorant--and I see deodorant on my--you know, just cologne. You know, print design. Just all types of things that it's integral to. So what impact, to your point around not seeing a lot of us in the spaces that you engage for--that you engage recreationally, what impact do you believe you are making when black and brown girls see a black woman featured so prominently in STEM, in the STEM field?

 

Kiwoba: Huge impact. You know, I've been on both sides of it. You know, when I worked at an AI--artificial intelligence--company, tech company, called Rocket Fuel, I was the director of global giving, so we wrote a lot of checks, but I--like, thinking, you know, we need to do more than just write checks to charities. We need to actually--me, as the only black woman at the company at the time, I need to be able to lift girls up, not just give hand-outs. So in the position that I was in there, you know, I was the only black female executive, and I had the opportunity to bring children to our campus. Gorgeous campus, you know? It had a big gym and Olympic swim pool, rock climbing wall, the whole nine yards, and a cafeteria. Great lawns. And the kids would come and they're like, "Wow. What do I have to learn to work in a place like this?" Or when I bring them to NASA. Because of, you know, my position in the community, I have people that reach out to me from NASA, from, you know, Google in the past, and Microsoft, Yahoo. They reach out to me and say, "Hey, we want your girls to come." We bring them--we've had a relationship with NASA for the last five years, and some of the parents and the mothers will come as chaperones, and they start to cry. They're like, "Oh, my God. I didn't know anything like this existed." So being able to be in a position to lift girls up into what it looks like to work at a STEM--at a tech company, it blows their minds. Literally. I could imagine--I remember when we took them to Yahoo, and I had a bus to pick them up. Took them out to--I wanted to kind of give them a cultural experience. I took them out to dim sum. They loved it. And, you know, keep in mind, these girls are coming from either homeless shelters or they're coming from deep, deep in the unrepresented communities where, you know, some of the girls are--they live in a flat, an apartment, with 10 other people, and one bathroom, one bedroom, you know? Some of the girls are from very violent neighborhoods, right? So for them--you know, some of the parents are incarcerated. I remember one of the girls who was on the bus got a call from her father, who was in jail, in prison. So just getting them out of their community, one, giving them a good meal, and then I've got them now, or--[inaudible] I've got their attention, and then, you know, to step foot onto, like, the Yahoo campus. They literally all went, "*gasps*". Like, "This must be what Disney Land must look like." I'm like, "Yeah. Yeah, it is," you know? And then they're like, "Ooh, look, there's some cute Asian boys over there." [inaudible]. And, you know, they come inside to the lobby and they see all the gadgets, and they're given gift bags and t-shirts, and they're like, "Okay, I'll make sure to give this t-shirt back at the end of the day." I'm like, "No, sweetie. That's for you." They're like, "*gasps* This new t-shirt is for me?" 'Cause some of these girls haven't had a new piece of anything all of their lives, right? And then when we get the ERGs, which is--

 

Zach: Employee resource groups?

 

Zach: Employee resource groups, exactly. When we get, like, the black networks and, you know, all the females--the female engineers coming, or I have--when we're at NASA, I have the black female rocket scientists come and speak to them. They're just like, "*gasps* Oh, my God." You know? When we're on the bus, I'll ask them "What do you want to be like when you grow up," you know? And they're like, "Ooh, I want to be like Beyonce," or I want to be, you know, "a dancer in a video," and at the end of the day they'll be like, "Ooh, I want to be like that pretty black rocket scientist. I want to be like her." I've had congresswoman Jackie Speier come, and I think that's actually one of your questions, so I'll go ahead and let you ask it.

 

Zach: [laughs] Well, first of all, this is great, and we don't have to have--we can freestyle it too, but this is good. I'm curious, really kind of talking about the program a little bit more, can you give us the origin story? Like, what was the motivation behind it? And where in you building GIRL STEM STARS did you realize how big of an impact it was making?

 

Kiwoba: Okay, so I'll start with the first question. And, you know, I'm Christian, so it's okay, right?

 

Zach: Absolutely, yeah. Go ahead.

 

Kiwoba: Okay, great. Okay. So I--GIRL STEM STARS was born very organically. So I had to have an emergency surgery, and after that surgery I was told everything was fine, and two weeks later everything was not. I wound up passed out on my floor in our home, and my husband had to rush me to the emergency room, and all I remember them telling me was that "Call your family," and I'm like, "Why?" And they said, "Call your family, because your white blood cell count is off the charts." I don't remember anything after that but my husband telling me, after it's all said and done, that I had three absesces in my abdomen, and they had to do an emergency surgery to get them out. Supposedly, I woke up after all the surgery. I was in a normal room for two weeks, and I was holding court. I had my computer on my food tray, and I was having people come in from work and working, right? And I guess I was late working. It was, like, 3 in the morning, I was told, and I was talking to a nurse, and the next thing you know, all of my major body functions crashed at the same time. My heart, my liver, my lungs, my kidneys, everything crashed and, you know, they sent the crash cart, and my husband said they called him at 3 o'clock in the morning and said, "We have induced your wife into a coma because she's dying," and I was in a coma for about three--a little more than three weeks, and they figured out finally what was wrong with me. I had--we had some help. God sent--at the last moment, God sent some--all of the chiefs of surgery, the chief of pulmonary, some guy from Stanford, and then they finally figured out what was going on, and I was septic, and they had, like--had me on, like 10 IVs, and I was all, you know, needles everywhere, hoses and wires. So when I came out of it, my aunt--I was in ICU for over a month. When I finally got home, I couldn't walk. I had lost 50 pounds of body mass, and I'm a thin woman, so I couldn't afford to lose it. So I couldn't walk. Everybody carried me up three flights of stairs in our home and put me into bed, and my aunt came and visited me, and she's my prayer warrior. She's amazing, Auntie [inaudible], and she said, "Honey, you know that God sent his [inaudible] angels to save you, to keep you," 'cause my doctor said that I nearly died. I was 5 minutes from death three times. She says, you know, "That is God working hard. Those angels are--they're warring over you," and she said, "The devil tried to take you out, but I'm telling you right now that you were saved not to go back and work at that tech company--yes, you know, do your job, but you were saved for a greater purpose than just working at a tech company. You need to think and pray about what that greater purpose is, because you have a greater purpose on this earth." And I said okay, and I believed her, you know, after, you know, my cardiologist. The fact that I had a cardiologist was crazy because, you know, I was, like, a gym rat. I had a trainer. I was all [inaudible] up, you know, and, you know, for my cardiologist--she was an Asian lady that stood halfway up me, right? And she's screaming at me like, "You must take your medicine! Do you realize you were 5 minutes from death three times?" I'm like, "Okay, I guess I'll take the heart pills."

 

Zach: Oh, my goodness gracious.

 

Kiwoba: So yeah. I was intubated. You know, they had a tube down my throat for breathing and all of that. I was out out. So when I was home, you know, I was home for about three months, and I thought about, you know, "What is this greater purpose that I would--that I was saved for?" And I started to think about what bugs me the most, and then I realized, you know, I used to complain to HR and recruiting, "Please start hiring people that look like me. Stop hiring people that look like you." And, you know, being the only black woman there, I mean, it started to get kind of creepy, you know? I'm married to a Frenchman, a Caucasian guy, and, you know, if I didn't go to--if I didn't go to church or my parents' house, I didn't see anybody that looked like myself then, you know? Our [cert?] wasn't around then, you know? We live in--we live in an Asian neighborhood, so it's like, you know, "When do I get to see anyone that looks like me?" Right?

 

Zach: Sure, yeah.

 

Kiwoba: So then I realized, "Hey, instead of complaining about the situation, be the change you want to see," and I picked up the phone from my recovery bed and called LegalZoom and said, "I want to start a non-profit that advances girls of color in STEM," and--at first I said black girls, but then I--like, let's be a little more inclusive. Girls of color from underrepresented communities, and that's how GIRL STEM STARS was born, you know? It took me nearly dying to realize I had a greater purpose in me, and that greater purpose was to have an impact on the young girls in my community, and--you know, my bigger vision is to take it globally.

 

Zach: So what was the moment, or did you have a specific moment in building GIRL STEM STARS, where you saw the impact and you realized how global and how major this could be?

 

Kiwoba: Yes. When I was at Rocket Fuel, I--you know, the program was growing pretty, pretty big, and I had 100 girls, mostly black girls, but we had, you know, Pan-Pacific girls we had Pan-Asian girls. We also had Latinas and such, and we had a room of 100 girls in the same t-shirt, GIRL STEM STARS t-shirt, and we had little goodie bags, and we fed them breakfast. I had a black female rocket scientist come in and speak to them, and I remember--she's gorgeous. Her name is Aisha, Aisha Bowe, and she's amazing. You should interview her one day, and she said, "How much money do you think I make?" And the girls are like, "I don't know, $5,000?" You know, 'cause [inaudible] where they're coming from, right?

 

Zach: Sure. And they're kids, like, you know? Yeah.

 

Kiwoba: "No, higher. Higher." "10,000?" "No." "50,000?" "No. Higher, higher." She says, "I make over $100,000 a year," and the girls fell out of their chairs. They're like, "*gasps* Whoa. Wow. You must be a millionaire," you know? And I have all of my speakers bring in their pictures from when they were the age of the girls, which is between 8-18, but I prefer pictures, like, from when they're, like, 10 or something in pigtails, you know, doing sports or whatever, and then show them now, like, in different countries and then in their home and whatever, and their families, so they can really relate and--you know, so she'll say, "This was me when I was a little girl in pigtails, and this is me now, standing next to a celebrity," or whatever it is, right? And the girls are just, like, going, "Wow. Wow," you know? And then she talks about the type of work that she does. I had another lady come in and talk about how she's looking for water on Mars, and the girls were like, "Wow." Then I had--you know you've got them hooked, right? And then I had congresswoman Jackie Speier come in, and she is a mature woman, and she's Caucasian, and, you know, they had--you know, she had her security guards and everyone come in, and, you know, we had--I had the girls line up and clap when she came in, and they were mumbling to themselves, "What's this old white lady gonna have to say [inaudible]?"

 

Zach: [laughs] That's so funny because that's so, like, true. That's so black. That's such an honest--[laughs]

 

Kiwoba: And Jackie's my friend, right? And she's spoken for me many times, and I know she heard them, and she's like, "Uh-huh." "Okay." And I know I heard them. So Jackie and I are looking at each other and, you know, we wink at each other. So we get all the girls to sit down, and I don't remember if Jackie showed a picture of herself young. I don't remember, but she started off--and, you know, I introduced her, "Congresswoman Jackie Speier!" And she gets up there and she looks at them and she gets--everyone's quiet. She's quiet. She waits for the moment, and she goes--and she pumps her--she beats her chest, and she goes "I got shot up five times, left for dead overnight, nearly died," and they're like, "Ooh, here she comes. Okay. Okay. Okay." Then she said, "Then I got married, I got pregnant, and my husband got run over by a car on his bicycle at Golden Gate Park," and they were like, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" And they're like, "Okay." She got their attention. They're all at the tip of their chairs. She goes, "Now I'm gonna talk to you about adversity. Now I'm gonna tell you how I need to know STEM to run this constituency. I am a boss," and then she ends it with a picture of her and President Obama. The girls jump out of their chair and they're like, "Oh! Oh, man! Oh, man!" And I'm like, "Oh, my God." I had goosebumps going up my arms, and--so then, you know, at the end of the day--they all had little notebooks, and at the end of the day--and Jackie spoke forever. First, you know, her people were telling me, "Okay, you know, she's only got 30 minutes, okay?" "Only 30 minutes [inaudible]," and they were, like, frustrated. They were so frustrated. They were all spinning around in the hallway going, "What are we gonna do? [inaudible]." She was in her moment. She was in her element, right? So at the end I said, "Okay, now you told me what you want to be when you grow up. You wanted to be like Beyonce. You wanted to be, you know, a veterinarian so you can play with puppies, or you wanted to be a dancer in a music video. Now what do you want to be?" They're like, "I want to be like that badass congresswoman. Can I get her autograph?" They all run up, and they get in line to get an autograph from the badass congresswoman and take pictures with her and do selfies with her. We have just created a new STEM hero and icon in their lives. That's when I knew we were making an impact.

 

Zach: So of course all of this is amazing, and really--in alignment with the story you just shared as well as when I'm looking at your content on your website--what I'm noticing, and what I'm really excited about, when I look at GIRL STEM STARS is that there is a clear effort and intention around making STEM practical and available for the girls that you're trying to reach, and I think for me coming up, when I thought about STEM, I would think about being, like, a scientist, or being some type of engineer. For me, those things were, like, as far away as being, like, an astronaut. Right? I was like, "Okay, how do I even do that?" When I would think about some of the math and things behind, it just seemed so far away, and I think, again, one thing kind of talking about the program, you all, you have these camps that I believe, again, kind of bring STEM to life and kind of bring it up close for the girls, and so I'm curious, do you have a favorite camp? Do any kind of stick out to you or anything of that nature?

 

Kiwoba: Yes, NASA. NASA is one of the most mind-blowing camps that we have. The parents, you know, they fight to get on that list. We've been doing STEM camps with NASA for the last five years, and we're grateful to be invited every year, and we will get a busload of girls, 50 girls, every year. They're all from underrepresented communities, and some of the mothers to chaperone, and when we roll into NASA, we stop at the big front gate, and one of the engineers will get on, the one that invites us every year. He will give us a driving tour of NASA, and the girls are just--their faces and noses are pressed to the windows going, "Wow. Wow. This looks like a movie set, like a sci-fi movie," you know? They're all just blown away, and some of the--like, the mothers crying going, "I never knew anything like this even existed in the Bay Area." And then we will go to a big conference area, and we will meet the interns, the summer interns, and we usually have our teenagers do this camp, and it's all day from 7:30 in the morning until about 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon.

 

Zach: Wow.

 

Kiwoba: Yeah, and at first, you know, they're on the bus, and they're all tired, and I ask the same question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I tell you, Beyonce is famous. I mean, they always say Beyonce.

 

Zach: She is beloved though, yeah.

 

Kiwoba: I'm waiting to hear, like, Nicki Minaj. I don't know.

 

Zach: Oh, no, no. I think Beyonce has--she has Nicki beat by a good mile or so.

 

Kiwoba: Yeah, yeah. [laughs] So anyway, that's what they're saying on the bus, and I've got video of it too, you know? So when we get there, they all get into the conference room, we feed them breakfast, and they're--you know, they're tired. They're not used to being, you know, up that early in the morning, especially when they do these on Saturdays, you know? And I tell them, you know, you should congratulate yourselves, 'cause, you know, you're investing in your future, you know? You could be home like the other kids, watching cartoons and eating cereal, you know? You're here, you know, investing your future. And your parents, you know, thank you. And then a beautiful black woman with braids down her back comes in with a NASA jacket on, and they're all like, "Ooh." "She's pretty," you know? And she'll say, you know, "Hi, I'm Dr. Wendy, and I am a rocket scientist here at NASA," and they're like, "Ooh!" They're like, "Okay," and then the interns are all in their teens. They're, like, 16, 17, 18 years old, so the teenagers are seeing--will go from station to station. We probably hit by five different departments in NASA, and we also do breakout sessions, and we also [inaudible], and there was an engineer, a rocket scientist, that would take us--give us a tour, and we'd go around to these different locations. One could be drone testing. Another is a simulated space ship, where we can actually go in and see what it looks like to live in a space ship and touch things and hear what the interns are doing. They're creating little robots that fly in the air and bring tools to the astronauts. I mean, wow. Just amazing stuff, right? And there's other kids that are, you know, also working with rocket scientists to find water on Mars. That's a really big thing right now. Then we'll have a big--they host a big lunch, a big barbecue lunch, with a DJ, and the girls get out, and they dance, and they get--the black engineer group at NASA will come, and they'll dance with them, and they'll get to talk and get mentored by the black females at NASA, and at the end of the day of course, after Dr. Wendy will speak to us again and show videos, I'll say, "Okay, what do you want to be like when you grow up?" "I want to be like Dr. Wendy! I want to be like those other black women we were dancing with!" So I want them to have a real experience with these black female engineers and rocket scientists where they eat with them, they eat at NASA, they dance with people, they get to hear what they do, the type of work that they do, how they got to work they got to. So they're completely immersed in the environment, and, you know, it's like, "I did NASA." It's, like, you know, a major field trip to another country, to another world, really. Another world, because, you know, from their little perspective where they're coming from--some of these girls, like I mentioned before, you know, a flat or a homeless shelter--a flat with 10 people or a homeless shelter. This is--this is mind-blowing, and you see their little minds just go pop, and I'm like, "Yes, we got them." [laughs] Yeah, it's cool. It's really cool.

 

Zach: It's easy to underestimate the value or the impact that that--outside looking in, what that has on a child. I remember for me, STEM wasn't really my background, Kiwoba, but it was music, and so for me, in middle school and high school, you know, I was one of the--one of the better players in Dallas, and I actually played in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, and I was--

 

Kiwoba: Very cool.

 

Zach: Yeah, yeah, yeah, and so I was able to play with the orchestra. I was able to play at the [Meyerson?], which is, like, this big concert hall in Dallas, and it was great, and so--

 

Kiwoba: That changes your world, right? That changes your whole world.

 

Zach: Yeah. It changes your entire world, and then even like, you know, when I did some volunteer work where you have underrepresented kids come in who are--who come from poor backgrounds and they get to see your workplace, and they view the work site, and they see you. You know, they see somebody like me. I'm a young, black man, and I tell them I'm a manager or, you know, I just did this, that, and the third, and I travel every week. Just them seeing me and them asking, "So wait, you do this? You travel?" And it just blows--it changes their entire perspective, so that's incredible.

 

Kiwoba: Yeah. I do the same thing. I bring the girls by my desk, you know, like at Google or, you know, wherever I was, at Rocket Fuel. I would give them a whole tour of the whole building, and they're looking around, and, like, "There's where the engineers work. See, there's accounting," and one of my friends--they hired another black woman, who was the head of accounting, and she'd come out in all her glory--you know, she wore beautiful clothes. She was stunning--she still is--and she's like, "So I'm the accounting part of this tech company," and, you know, "You have to know math to be able to be in accounting, but this is another way to get into a tech company," is through accounting. Then I would introduce them to the--you know, the head of marketing, who happened to be a female as well. Not of color. And the head of legal was female as well. The head of HR was female. So I would have them--we would go by each of their offices in their departments. She's like, "I'm the boss of this whole department." They're like, "*gasps* Wow." They can see the different departments in a tech company, right? So they meet, you know, everybody. The engineers, everyone. So that also allows them to see the different avenues into tech companies or into tech in general.

 

Zach: You're right. Like, I think it is really is, when you think about STEM or when you hear the word STEM, rather, it's easy to go to, like, some scientist with a white lab coat and their sleeves rolled up, and they're, you know, pouring mixtures back and forth, and again, there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's much more far-reaching than that. Kind of going back to the top of our discussion, STEM is in every single thing we do. There's some version--there's some version in STEM in literally every single thing that we touch or interact with or think about, and I think to your point around having them see the various avenues of how it all intersects is really important. So where can people learn more about GIRL STEM STARS? And how can they support? Like, what are the various avenues and options they have to actually support your organization?

 

Kiwoba: So they can go to GIRLSTEMSTARS.org. That is, you know, where the Donate button is. We really need donations because these camps are not cheap, you know? And I don't charge. I don't charge the parents at all. I've had parents from Google and, you know, from different tech companies try and have their kids come to my camp, to pay. They're like, "I'll pay you $300," you know, "for my kid to go to your all-day camps," and I'm like, "No." This is for kids that can't afford to go to fancy camps, right? Their parents can't afford to. So we want to continue to make the camps free for the girls, you know? That means paying for buses and food and all of that. T-shirts, you know? All day to keep a child all day long, you know? So donations are definitely how people can help. Please, please. Give monthly. A monthly donation has more impact than a one-time donation, but that's most definitely what we need to do.

 

Zach: Well, so first of all, I don't want to--and I don't want to zoom past that part, because there's so many opportunities and things out there, but they're limited by economic barriers, right? Like, the fact that you're able to offer these programs for free. Not for a reduced cost, not for a discount, but for free to these families is so important, and it's one less excuse, you know? And it's a big deal when a parent gives up their child for a day, even if they're chaperoning them, to follow them--to allow them to go off from their direct care, and then to do that and then to ask them to give up something monetarily in a situation where they may not--they may not have the means to do so. So that's beautiful that you're able to do that, and we'll make sure to have the donation link in the show notes, and we'll direct folks to donate there. Now, this has been a great discussion, but before we go, I feel as if--I feel as if you have some more wisdom and some more jewels to share, so I'd like to ask if you have any parting words or shout-outs before we wrap up here.

 

Kiwoba: I would say, you know, thank you, God, for saving my life, so that I can have this impact on girls around the world. Also, keep in mind that I'm trying to--GIRL STEM STARS isn't about getting girls just into tech companies, but we're also--you know, this is why our girls are from 8-18. We're also creating the future board members, the future decision-makers, the future entrepreneurs of the world, you know? And that--you know, we want to have our girls be in those higher seats that are making the decisions about the world, about, you know, starting their own tech companies maybe. Starting whatever. Being entrepreneurs, right? And we're trying to give them that entrepreneurial mindset that you are in control, you know? That these kids, they can make a decision to say, "Okay, I can watch cartoons in the morning, or I can go to a GIRL STEM STARS camp at NASA," right? So giving them the opportunity, picking them up with a bus, feeding them, doing this all day long with them, it literally changes their whole world. I've had parents constantly sending me emails going that one trip changed their whole daughter's perspective on life, and she's starting--you know, her grades are better. She knows that--she knows what she sees, you know? 'Cause we--a lot of the girls are regulars. Sometimes, you know, they're different, but for the most part, you know, when these girls to go to all of these different events, you know, Makers Faire, and to city hall, and be treated like absolute ladies, you know? We treat them like gold. We roll out the red carpet for them. That day will never--it will never leave them, you know? It changes their whole life, and we know that we've changed them in that one day and that they're looking for--they've seen and experienced a better future for themselves.

 

Zach: Absolutely, and often it just needs that--takes that one spark to set off a whole new set of dreams, so that's incredible.

 

Kiwoba: Exactly.

 

Zach: Well, awesome. Look, that does it for us, y'all. Thank you for joining us on the Living Corporate podcast. Make sure to follow us on Instagram at LivingCorporate, Twitter at LivingCorp_Pod, and subscribe to our newsletter through living-corporate.com. Remember, this is a special series brought to you by the Coalition of Black Excellence. To learn more about the Coalition of Black Excellence and their CBE Week, look them up at CBEWeek.com. If you have a question that you'd like for us to answer and read on the show, make sure you email us at livingcorporatepodcast@gmail.com. This has been Zach. You've been listening to Kiwoba Allaire, founder and CEO of GIRL STEM STARS. Peace, y'all.

 

Kiwoba: Goodbye. God bless you all.

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