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Tech Startup Founder: “You Just Have To Go For It”

These days, there’s an app or a website for everything. Brooke McIntyre is using the web to bring together writers looking to help each other improve their work and unleash their creativity. She may not have a tech background, but she’s using a relatively new medium to update a century’s old process.

brooke2What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How long have you been doing this job?
I am the founder and only employee of the tech startup Inked Voices. It’s a site that helps writers find, form and run writing groups online. The groups on the site work like real-world writing groups – people submit fiction pieces, get critiques from their fellow writers so they can improve their writing, and share general advice about the writing world. I’ve been working on the site full-time since October.

How would you describe what you do? What does your work entail?
There are basically three parts to my job – product development, sales, and customer service. Product development is the actual creation of the site. I’m not a web developer at all, but the site is based on my designs and my ideas. I start by sketching them out on paper and taking a picture with my phone, which I send to a designer who creates the look and feel of the site. I work closely with a backend developer, who creates the actual structure and code that makes the site work. I have to think about the features I want the site to have, both right now and in the future, and let the backend developers know so that they can build a structure that works for what the site does now and where I see it going. We work in iterations—they’re sort of like the drafts that writers use—and I make sure that the finished product matches up with my ideas and the feedback I’m getting from writers.

I was surprised to learn that a large part of my work would be in sales, even during the beta phase, when the site is open to a limited group of users. I need writers who are willing to use the site and give it a try and provide feedback. It’s been a lot harder than I expected it to be – I’ve been reaching out to any writer’s organization or group I can find. And once beta writers are using the site, I’m responsible for customer service. I answer their questions, ask them what’s working and what’s not, and help new writers find groups where they can read and critique the work of people writing in similar genres and aiming for similar goals.

What was your journey to doing this kind of work? How did you get here?
I went to business school at University of Michigan a few years back with the intention of forming a nonprofit, but on graduation, I decided to take a job working for a business-to-business company doing marketing and branding. I enjoyed my work, but when I had my second child, my work-life trade-off became more important to me. I decided that I wanted to spend time doing something that I was more passionate about, and for me that was writing. I started by taking some writing classes, focusing on children’s book writing, which is something I’d always dreamed of doing, and ended up forming a critique group with some people in my class. Our group used email and Google Drive to run our online group. While it worked OK, I immediately started seeing opportunities for improvement. Our system lacked structure and had to be constantly managed. I also wanted us to have our own private, shared space for critique and discussion. I saw an opportunity to create a place and a system for small groups like mine.

In creating Inked Voices, it was very important to me to give writers a way to find their own writing groups. I was really fortunate to form a great group through my online class, but not everyone has that opportunity. Tech tools won’t help you if you can’t find anyone to partner up with.

In some ways, it wasn’t just one thing that led me to start Inked Voices, it was everything – my business background, my experience in the critique group, my love for working in teams. I knew I wanted to do something with meaning and do something entrepreneurial, so I decided to put all that together and give it a go.

What is your ethnicity and gender? How has it hurt or helped you?inkedvoices
Being a woman had more of an impact before becoming an entrepreneur. I used to be 1 of only 3 women on a 10-person management team, and I often felt left out of the club when it came to networking. Today, I’m still sometimes the only woman in the co-working space I share, but it feels different. I think it’s probably because I’m working more independently now and not working for someone.

I think age has been a larger barrier for me to overcome. I’ve always looked young and it used to be hard to get people to take me seriously. In my mind, I thought I couldn’t do something meaningful with my career until I was at least 30, and it was reinforced by what was said by everyone around me. Of course, now, working in the technology space, I’m surrounded by younger people all the time. It’s kind of ironic that I waited to be older to try to make an impact and now I’m old for my field. I let people put up barriers for me, and they were mostly artificial. I definitely could have “leaned in” more and negotiated harder at times for what I wanted.

Do you love what you do? Do you think you’ve found the right path?
Yes, because I think that stories are magical and words are like music. I remember myself as a child, devouring books and getting lost in characters and learning so much by reading. And now I get to work on the other side of things with people who are creating those stories. Not everyone who uses Inked Voices is a creative writer, but a large number are. I get to help people who are telling stories and using their imagination and creating things for all of us. When I see people enjoying their writing and getting good feedback, it makes me happy. Self-expression is so important.

What do you need to succeed in this field?
You need tenacity, along with real desire and commitment to create something that’s actually going to work. For someone like me, who doesn’t have a tech background, you also have to trust people. I’ve had to find people to work with who are comfortable with someone who isn’t as tech-savvy as they are and who I believe will be able to translate my ideas into code. I’m not going to be able to sit down and code with them and we both have to be okay with that.

brooke1What is the single most important thing you have learned outside of school about the working world?
Don’t wait. If you want something, start doing it. Nobody’s going to hand it to you. Start volunteering, do a project, take on the kind of work that you want to do. Don’t hope that someone is going to a chance on you or shine a light on your talent. Shine a light on yourself and take the chance. You just have to go for it. I wish someone had said that to me when I was starting out.

What kind of challenges do you face?
This is a new space for me and it’s a steep learning curve. I’m learning about writing as an industry. I’m learning about technology and the software development process. And while some of what I do is similar to my past experience, I’m working on a service that is for consumers, which is different than working directly with businesses. So I am in constant listening and learning mode.

The hardest part is probably the selling component—I have new respect for people with careers in sales. Sometimes people are enormously helpful with their feedback, advice or time and other times the door is slammed in my face. As with any industry, there are gatekeepers. So I’ve had to be very scrappy from the very beginning.

On a personal note, there’s also a financial challenge. It’s one thing to take on the risk of starting a business when you don’t have kids or you have a partner who can pay all of the bills, but that isn’t my situation. Right now, we’re using one income and our savings to fund the site’s design and development costs and our living expenses here in New York City. My husband especially has been so supportive of me taking this leap and I don’t want to waste this opportunity. So I’m working hard and trying to either succeed or fail quickly.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doing in five years?
I want to keep developing the site, and eventually I’d like to build a version of it that would work in the education sector, helping teachers form and run writing groups in their classrooms. There is a huge tie between literacy and writing, and I’d like to give educators the tools to help teach writing as a life skill.

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102 comments

  • related experiene: One thing I really loved about this article was Brooke’s commitment and drive for what she does. I also find drive and determination, very important when pursuing a dream. In my time before applying to colleges, I was told by many that my intended major (recreational therapy) would be financially risky and unsuccessful. I still however, pursued the major and fell in love with it my freshman year at Ithaca College. Brooke couldn’t have put it better by stressing her motivation.

    • Thank you! I was in my senior year in college at UVA and I remember going to a professor almost in tears because I was conflicted about what to “do” for a job. He gave me great advice (that I didn’t entirely take immediately, but it looks like you have)–do what you love and the money will follow. I’ll add to that now and say that, even if your profession doesn’t make you financially wealthy, how much does it matter? Perhaps Inked Voices will be wildly successful financially at some point, but I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade that in. Good luck to you!

  • I can definitely relate to her story. Being a music photographer, there’s a constant battle in trying to get people to take me seriously because I’m a female and not an adult. I began an online publication and ever since, I’ve just been more confident in my work. There once was an ocassion where I was working with a band and I happened to hear them talk about my gender and age, asking eachother if I knew what I was doing. It honestly sucks because I thought they were talented guys and that ruined my whole impression of them. I just decided to finish my work quickly and leave. I haven’t experienced anything like this since then, but some of my friends have. I love her determination though, it just goes to show that some risks are worth it if you really want something.

    Right now, I figured that I should expand my knowledge and study business so I have more offer than photography. I hope it goes well for me.

    • It just goes to show that appearances can be deceiving. Expectations, assumptions and stereotypes simplify things in our heads, but they are often untrue. Way to go with starting an online publication! You may have to prove yourself, but you’ll make yourself a standout in the process.

  • Her story was very moving. I have had many relatable experiences like she has had in her lifetime. For me, I have always wanted to be a cardiologist and in order to become one I need the drive and the incentive or it will never happen. Just like Brooke she had a lot of incentive because she knew if she didn’t have that then she would never succeed in life. Her motivation gives me motivation. This article has inspired me and motivated me even more to become a cardiologist. This is how my experience relates with her experience and it is really wonderful what she is doing, motivation people.

    • I feel honored that this article inspired you. Many of my friends pursued careers in medicine and health and it’s a long road, but so rewarding. Keep going, you will get there!

  • Growing up, I was raised by a mother who has experienced and continues to experience a similar story to yours. My parent’s decided to divorce while my brother and I were still young; however, this decision entailed financial repercussions for each of my parents but more so my mother. Her primary concern during the divorce was to place my brother and I as priority and receive majority of the custody. Once this task was completed, she began to face the obstacle of finances and supporting this new family unit of hers. It certainly was an adjustment and learning experience for the entire family. My mom worked incessantly to where she is today. She handled all life’s struggles and hindrances with grace, humility and perseverance. Apart from where these traits have brought my mother, her journey has certainly engrained myself with certain lessons.
    One piece of advice that I firmly remember my mom telling me on numerous occasions was to simply say yes. She reminded me to take any opportunity I could and realize that experiences life requires you to say yes more often than no. This past year was my first year at Pepperdine University. As a first generation college student, it has been up to me to define my college experience and set a precedent for later generations of my family. One avenue that heavily impacts the community of Pepperdine are the international programs and study abroad opportunities that are offered through the university. When confronted which the option, my excitement for the opportunity was accompanied by a sense of hesitance and uncertainty. However, upon time to make the decision, I reflected on my mom’s advice that has been repeated numerous times throughout my life and even on the day I was moved into my dorm. I said yes, and I am so happy to say that my experience overseas was the most transformational, memorable and rewarding experience to date.

    • Thanks for sharing your story. It’s an awesome accomplishment to be a first generation college student in the first place and it sounds like there are more great things ahead for you. There is so much to see in the world. I like the simplicity of your mom’s advice. Say yes. 🙂

  • Your app is genius, I feel like it was so obvious but not so obvious. I think you’re a phenomenal person especially for being a woman in the tech industry. It would be hard being an effective wife and an effective business woman and you did both. I commend you.

  • It was very encouraging to read this, especially because I think that younger people need to realize the sort of impact they are capable of. We can’t wait for someone to come and help us, and we can’t expect our dreams to be easy to reach. I have fear over creating my own ideas for the world to see because I am still very young and people may not take me seriously. As a writer, I want to publish my stories, which, of course, I think are front shelf material. But I know that I should expect a lot of rejection and a lot of frustrating work. I don’t see age as a barrier, but rather as part of my story. Everyone has a voice and a skill they can contribute to society, no matter what age they are.

  • This story it was very funny and encouraging to read this, because
    most of the youth of these days don’t understand the sort of impact they are
    capable of. Most of the we don’t ask someone to come and help us, and we can’t
    expect our dreams to be easy to reach. When I came to USA I use to think that
    life is much easy to life. I use to think that I don’t need to ask for help
    because everyone know that I don’t speak English .I use to think that they will
    do and help me without asking for help ,but it didn’t work like that .I had to
    ask for help in order to reach my place.

  • I find this story very intriguing. I have been raised in an African country where poverty rate is very high, leave alone other factors that will always be there to make someones life difficult. That is Kenya. My highest education level is High school diploma. In my world, that was the best i could get even though i knew that i could archive even more as far as education is concerned. over the years, i have learned to shed of the dirt to move higher by trials and learning from the outside world. I have been volunteer in humanitarian projects in order to learn and raise fee for college until i got lucky to win a US diversity Visa to the US. That visa has given a green card that has helped me enroll freely at APUS. I have been able to facilitate GIS workshops based on experience i got from my volunteer program and not school.
    The moral of my story is that, all of us can archive something if only we believe in ourselves before people do. Even though Brooke dint have a strong IT background, she has become innovative and still aiming for greater heights. Such effort is not possible if we wait for someone do us. We are who we are based on our attitudes and efforts in school and most importantly in the outside world.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  • This particular article has encouraged me to not give up on my goals. Brooke utilized her degree and her passion to create something incredible and interesting. She has faced a lot of challenges and taken a lot of risks to get her business started up and that it hard to do in this day and age. Most people, including myself most days, feel defeated by the end of it because of the up hill battle to accomplish your goals. The main thing that I got out of this article is to keep on learning and improving on the things you love to do.

  • Motivational and direct. With what we want to do and can do we simply have to jump right into it. Don’t wait everything is in front of us all and all we have to do is try and reach for the goals we desire. Once that desire and goal is made we don’t let anyone pull us down or block our dreams. We decide where to go and what to do. If that means all the work to get there is the toughest thing in the world we keep try. Everyone has that ability and to simply remember to jump in head first will inspire anyone to move forward and reach for their goals.

  • Incredible. I am currently attempting to initiate a movement that correlates with the general premise of her website. It is really disheartening constantly seeing failure and being so relatively small. She serves as a motivation to us all who have an ambitious mindset. We are all here on this earth for such a limited amount of time. We can’t do everything on our own. By uniting human ingenuity and energy, we can begin the first steps towards achieving greatness.

  • I think that this article is very inspirational. I think that it especially motivates me because as a young person, I don’t think that I am taken seriously sometimes. But your story shows how no matter what if your really want something you can succeed. If you persevere and work hard on what you want to accomplish you can overcome any obstacle.

  • “I decided that I wanted to spend time doing something that I was more passionate about…”

    I admire this woman’s persistence! She is the perfect example of taking a leap of faith. My current situation is totally similar to hers. however, i’m taking a leap of faith towards school. Finishing school is very important to me and is – I believe, a required stepping stone towards my purpose. Like her, I face financial obstacles, but I was recently blessed with the opportunity to be readmitted to my dream college. This an opportunity I don’t want to be intimidated away from. She is very strong mentally, emotionally, and in her determination. She is an inspiration to me.

  • This post was great!!! you can really see the drive she has to achieve success. This also shows that she encountered struggles; however, she did not let these struggles impact her desire for success.

  • This article has showed me that risks are taken all the time and to not be afraid to
    fail on your journey to success. I’m a freshman in college and about to embark
    on my second semester soon. Although I’m still learning about myself and what I
    want to do with my major I can relate with your story. Before sticking with
    psychology as my major I wanted to go in to culinary. I loved food and I loved
    to cook so it seemed perfect at the moment because I would be doing something
    that I enjoyed.

    However I have always wanted to explore forensic psychology. On TV series it had always
    caught my eye, after doing a bit more research I decided that this was the
    right path for me. However my research had also showed me that over 40% of
    psychology majors do not get a job in their field. This frightened me because I
    didn’t want to study psychology and not end up a forensic psychologist.
    Although many people advised me that it would be a good idea to change my major
    I went with it anyways. I’m in college excelling in my major and even if I don’t
    get a job in my field I know that I still went for it.

  • “Don’t wait. If you want something, start doing it. Nobody’s going to hand it to you. Start volunteering, do a project, take on the kind of work that you want to do.”

    I work as a product designer — which is strangely a lot of work that this girl is doing! (It’s tough to get valuable feedback from people using products you’re designing — I know the struggle, but also how important it is). This quotation from her though is chillingly right. Nobody is going to hand anything to you.

    My company is going through a tough transition right now and we’re currently lacking leadership for our department. I’ve taken it upon myself to try to mend and build relationships between departments, be a bridge of communication, teach others good process, keep people motivated and excited about the work we do, and start designing a better structured process to expedite our work — all while delivering my day-to-day product design mock-ups and iterations. I’m trying to learn what it means to be a leader. It sounds like this girl decided the same thing. I imagine one day I’ll be in charge of my own start-up. 🙂 I already have some people who want to work for me!

  • “Don’t wait.If you want something, start doing it.” This line truly speaks to me and my past experiences. I’m a freshmen in college currently majoring as a computer science major trying to become a computer science major. When I was eight years old i decided I wanted to become a video game designer. Every year people would ask what i wanted to be and my answer never changed. Then one day someone asked me how i would get started, and I realized I didn’t know. So I learned different programs to make this dream happen. Its the only thing in my life that i have truly been passionate about and i will chase it to the ends of the earth. I applaud you for going after what you are passionate about and good luck to you

  • It’s so amazing how she learns to trust other people along with herself along her journey to Inked Voices. As an artist I feel we are taught that the world is “kill or be killed” and in some instances this is true, but I believe that when we learn to collaborate and and trust each other with our precious concepts it can magnify the experience.

    I also love how she takes risks and just dives in to her work with everything in her. “All or nothing.” I’m working everyday towards becoming a person who can become more comfortable with taking risks and not being so worried about the consequences. I find these people usually become more successful and are more admirable. She didn’t let her skill level or financial strain stop her. This woman knew she wanted to succeed and was relentless about reaching her goals.

  • What I love about this is how passionate and risk taking she was. I am African American and I live in a very Ghanaian oriented house so I’m expected to be a housewife and to the more “progressive” Ghanaians, I can work but it has to be a good paying job and I must stay away from “creative” careers because they are hobbies, and I can’t make more than my husband. Thankfully, my parents accepted that I wanted to go into fashion but all my other relatives think it’s ridiculous and too risky that this is the career path I’m choosing. Either way, its what I am passionate about so regardless of what may be stopping me, and I am fully aware that the road will be tough (even though I can’t fully brace myself for it), I’m going to seek and fulfill my passion.
    I also feel like a big part of succeeding is taking a chance, even if it seems like there is none. I believe there is always a chance; even the slightest chances are still chances. If there is a chance at success, take it because you never know until you try. If you fail, well , you can pick yourself back up and learn from your mistakes and continue to strive towards success.

  • “Don’t wait. If you want something, start doing it. Nobody’s going to hand it to you. Start volunteering…”

    This entire article was very inspiring and motivational, but this section ^^ in particular really stuck out to me. I’m not surprised a lot of other commenters are bringing up this quote as well. Though I am a writer, her advice here was more moving for me towards another dream of mine, which is to be a part of Theatre.

    I wanted to act since I was in elementary school but the idea of being on a stage was crippling. I was (and am) way to shy for the stage. At 18 years old, I am finally fulfilling that dream as I head into my third year of college to study Theatre. I wish someone told me advice like this when I was in high school, so I wasn’t going into a university with no experience. I remember sitting in the audience of every play, watching every audition, every practice, and every rehearsal, while I sat on the side helping with set design but wishing I was in the acting crew. If someone would have just shaken my shoulders and told me that quote: “Shine a light on yourself and take the chance”, I might have actually done it.

    Though I will be going to a university where it seems like everyone has much more confidence, talent, and experience, it’s something I have to go for anyways. It’ll get harder from here, if I keep waiting. This article shows that you can’t wait for the opportunities to come to you – you have to go out there and knock on their doors.

  • Being from a small town surround by a dominant race, I can bluntly relate to this article. You feel as if you are alone because you’re different from everyone else. Throughout my whole high school career I’ve been to scared to do anything different from others with the fear of being judged. In this small town I live in, everything is based off of “how much money you have” or “who has the nicest things”. In college, I’m determined to change my life. I’m going to strive for the top with no fear of being different. I will accomplish my goals and succeed.

    I want to turn my life around just like the author of this article who overcame her difference. For example, she is not as tech savvy as other writers may be but she still manages to create an amazing website for other writers. After reading this article it inspired me to go out of my comfort zone. I may not be as good as others in my town just because I’m different, but that is not going to stop me from succeeding in my future. Just as she stated in this article, I’m not gonna sit and wait for things to be handed to me but instead I will start something. Something great.

  • I took a huge leap of faith going back to school. It has been a challenge since I am a divorcee with two children. I have found it to be so rewarding. I have pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. My self esteem has gone from thinking I wasn’t worth much, to being recognized as a President’s list student. I am opening doors for myself that I thought I would never open. I am so glad I decide to take a chance on going back to school.

  • This concept that our generation proudly leads, in terms of risk, passion and natural global development is our driving force. Erin Roberts in her story shows the humanity in her nature and ambition by skill, in my opinion, respectively. Also, similar to a global pack of many, happily including myself, that share individual vision in unique division. Divisions of societal needs, most importantly. Personally, exposure to a complete global education, realized the diversity and geographical exposure of us all. Derived from an Egyptian mother and Dutch father coming to America, fluency in multiple languages became thankfully natural. Time to work. I still was faced positioning myself with one concept I believed in and gained from my own experience. Some people are born with this, others create it, embracing those language skills, adaptability and humanitarian will gracefully came with an idea, Polishing true travels, given the utilities available, packaging the entire experience as a Californian would economically do so. My languages include written/read 7 spoken Egyptian-Arabic, Native-Dutch & conversational Spanish. Key point is developing tools for those very tremendous wanderers , friends or students intrigued and needing guidance, all based in my hometowns of California. With a chick secluded beach home in Venice for members. A very popular place in this respect, LA, as well as it is critical for California based may be. By detail, this initially close friends always interested and vacationing. Since, I created a model, with the collaboration of sustainable ideas, such as UBER, AirBnb and less geopolitical constraints by coordinating proper Visas for study or a simple stay. It was solely the warm and real identification of a city I hold very deep to my heart in Los Angeles (although I currently live in Little Italy, San Diego starting a wine distribution company! 🙂 It’s only breweries here how is that possible in such a beautifully Italian rich culture? With so many exceptional California vineyards close by. The City of Angels attracts beautiful and eclectic souls, but the business and productive bottom line model was to help create a straight line to pave.

  • It’s going to take a huge leap to get me into college and away from my family. It’s going to be hard and I’m going to want to do what they want me to do and go back, but I want to choose my happiness over what my parents think

  • I will be successful and college is taking me one step closer to my success. I’m struggling with being from Baltimore city but I’m not letting it get in the way of my future.

  • This is a very inspiring story. I believe myself to be similar to Erin Roberts. The dedication and personality of Erin Roberts is clearly drawn from the above passage. I am a biology major at the University of New Mexico. I consider myself to be a dedicated worker both, academically and socially.

    Like Roberts, I am committed to self-efficacy, which most often can come through helping others. I say so because I am experienced in providing help to fellow students at my college. One can not even imagine how much self-growth and knowledge can be acquired from helping students to study and prepare for tests. I have now been organizing free study sessions for fellow mates for about 16 months. The study groups get bigger over time and I am motivated to develop these into more fruitful resources in the future. Of many things that I have learned through these, group work is the most credited to me.

    I am a self-starter, just like Roberts. I also believe that to be successful, one must believe in oneself and produce opportunities instead of waiting for them. What are beliefs that are never put to actions. Thus I have always put my ideas to action, even those that are perceived to be silly. At 16 years of age, I started a small business for nail painting art in India, which was still developing the notion of the term. Back then, I was a passionate artist who could make non-conventional things out of waste items. I still remember having a closet full of junk items which were treasure to me. As much of a success it was at first, many obstacles came along. Being a young girl was one of the major factor. No one wanted to trust a young girl at the age of 16 with a business of her own. As much as I did not want to give up on it, I knew I was still not mature enough and decided to wait until I could prove myself. So I went on to finish high school and moved to the United States for college education.

    After the culture shock was over, I realized the ocean of opportunities ahead of me. With a little research and insight in myself, I realized how interested I was in Biology. I have always been wanting to help people, and health being the vast problem over the world, I decided to go to med-school. I am currently progressing towards being a junior in college and am committed to hard work. Eventually, I found myself a research-assistant post at the university labs.

    Over the past 5 years of my life, if I have learned anything, it is that one must learn to recognize opportunities. I relate my success and happiness to the fact that I have always stepped up to responsibilities and have never failed to trust myself. I dream of being a successful doctor who still has the passion for art. I plan to open my own gallery one day. And the story of Erin Roberts has only strengthened my hopes and made me a stern believer in motivating action over words.

  • I definitely think that there is a “huge tie between literacy and writing”. I actually did not know about Inked Voices until i read this article. I also just checked out the Inked Voices website, and if I was a writer, I would use Inked Voices. I think that I do agree with this tech start up founder, it would take a lot of “tenacity, along with real desire and commitment to create something that’s actually going to work”. This article got my attention, becasue the title I first was was,”You Just Have To Go For It”. I like the setup of Inked Voices, however, the website could be made more easily accessible. In other words, this article should be advertised more, so that this founder could have more exposure, as well as Diversity Jobs > Street Smart.

  • Anything writing related is a difficult industry to be part of, and as a blogger and aspiring writer I deal with a lot of the harsh parts, including feeling like you have to play so many roles. For my blog I am whatever is needed – social media, writer, web designer, graphic designer, etc. I love the work, but it is a lot of work at times! I’ve also had to teach myself almost everything in order to be successful. I look forward to seeing this company grow, and seeing it help writers, because writers need help.

  • If you want something, go for it! Never let fear stop you from doing what you love. Fall once, stand up twice. There will always be obstacles in life and no one said it’ll be easy but motivation and hunger to succeed and achieve goals in life should motivate you. Always fight for what you want… Dedication and motivation is key. She was a risk taker and that’s what I definitely admire in a person. Be a risk-taker, make mistakes and learn from them. Nothing in life comes easy.

  • Its amazing how what once was an idea is now something that can help the world in one way or another. People who step up an voice their ideas to the world are the new entrepreneurs of this era. These people are a symbol of hope for many other who don’t believe that there is anything they can do to impact the world in some way. Its truly a leap of faith when things like this are done, but if you play your cards right everything you wished for can become reality.

  • This is indeed a really good and inspiring story which not only
    gives the youth of today a boost up, but also would encourage them to keep on
    going with something that you started if you passion for it. Nowadays, many
    people start something but it takes a whole lot of courage, discipline and
    commitment to go through all the obstacles in order to reach that goal that you
    started with. If you really have passion towards something that you started and
    you really have that fire in you to keep it going till the end no matter what
    comes in between, you will surely achieve that goal.

    A personal example that I would
    like to talk about which is somewhat similar is regarding my passion towards
    being a choreographer and learn different dances. I have a huge passion when it
    comes to dance; there is no kind of music or beat in the world on which I
    cannot move my feet. It was my dream, my hobby and my passion to learn
    different dance from around the globe and be able to teach them to others as well;
    especially our folk dance. To make my passion possible I started out with
    starting clubs in my middle school, high school and even Montgomery College in
    which we not only taught our folk dance but also learned together new dance
    forms, do performances in school and out of schools.

    The hard part was not to start the club by doing all the formalities according to the schools, but once the club was started it was hard to gather people together and make them want
    to come to our club due to so much competition at the schools. Gradually, I started
    out with gathering my friends and classmates, taught them, did some performance
    to get ourselves out there so people can see us. In the beginning it was not
    that many people who joined but as we did more performances and displayed versatility
    in our performance, many people from different backgrounds started to come to
    our meeting and getting to know us. I also started teaching dance at my temple
    as well to kids, teens, and even elders as well to perform in the culture
    program that our temple holds every year. Gradually, we started performing in
    other culture programs and different schools in the area. Then, one day on one
    of our cultural festivals I got an opportunity to gather some girls together
    and perform at the White House on the auspicious day.

  • This inspired me to push on with my dreams and just go for it. I have always been worrying what will go wrong or the risk of challenge and the fear usually took control of my life. I now realized that life is always about taking the risk and going for the dreams and goals that you want. Without reaching and striving for your dreams and take the risk of it, you will not know how successful you will be in reaching your goals. And if you do not get any success out of it or capturing the dreams, you do not need to give up. You can learn the mistakes that you did and learn from the mistakes you have done and go and pursue your next challenge because dreams do not disappear unless you let it. I was like the person giving up after a certain goal I miss and should of seen that the big picture is still there. You can still get to your dreams no matter what and reading this creates me to hang in there and keep going for it no matter what!

  • Erin is amazing and inspirational! I am going back to college to become a writer/illustrator. The last time I was in college was twenty years ago. I got discouraged after two associates degrees and no direction to drive me forward. I ran out of money and I decided it was time to stop going to college until I could make a decision. Erin is right, nobody is going to hand anything to you . I wish that I had kept going, and I wish that I knew then what I know now. Lesson learned, and I intend on utilizing Erin’s company in the future.

  • I can relate with the stress of financial trouble. I always have to be cognizant of where my money is going, and it makes going to college tough. But like you said, you just have to push through it!

  • There’s a lot I can relate to in this story. I’m currently starting out as an entrepreneur myself and my path towards entrepreneurship has been built on a series of similar realizations. Having started out in the world of business consulting, I moved gradually more and more into creative and independent work by asking myself what things did I truly find interesting, inspiring, and meaningful. Along the way, I’ve worked for startup social enterprises and other companies to immerse myself in the environment. Now ready to really invest in myself and be my own employer and business.

    What Erin said about “just going for it” really resonates with me. I don’t think you fully appreciate what it means to invest in yourself as an entrepreneur until you’ve had a few different work experiences that help you realize what’s important to you and what you stand for. This is part of the journey of knowing yourself and having confidence in your own path. In the last few years, I think I’ve finally understood this famous quote by Howard Thurman–and it is that principle which I’m living by now: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

    The journey to this place is not an easy an easy one so I admire people like Erin who have figured that out and are now “going for it.” Good luck Erin!

  • I can relate on many levels of this story but the main one is the financial challenges. It can be hard to get through financial struggles because you feel as though you have no way to fix them. I can also relate with the learning curve. I love learning new things but often you have a learning curve because you have never dealt with anything like it before.

  • Just like the heading says, you just have to go for it. No matter the obstacles, one still has to try. We never know what can happen. Great Story

  • I want to start my own business in the future, and I am not an expert or “techie” either. I understand how big the obstacle of a start-up is, especially if there aren’t any/many model companies to draw from. It’s a confusing process and you have to first listen before others listen to you. Good for you, Brooke.

  • This blog is so inspirational. I am doing Elementary Education and I hope I can do a minor in Special Education as well. I am so motivated to help students consequently I want to build my a private school for K-5 once I graduate from college. I believe that we can achieve everything if we work hard for it.

  • I can relate to this story when it comes to taking a chance. While I was in High School I had no idea what I wanted to pursue a career in. I went back an forth with myself and several different careers until one day I decided to go with something I thoroughly enjoyed doing; cooking. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it as a career but since then I have loved it and I am so happy that I took that chance.

  • This has inspired me to go out and start my own startup. I’ve wanted to open a 3d printing business for a while now and have just been unsure if I want to take the risks to do so. I have technical know how to get started, just not how to market and advertise what I want to do but this blog has motivated me to go out there and become an entrepreneur.

  • I truly agree with Erin when she says, “Don’t wait. If you want something, start doing it.” I was in a failing marriage and gave up so much of myself in my depression and in a hopeless relationship that was not going anywhere. I would constantly catch myself daydreaming about the things I wanted, things I wanted to change, placed I wanted to go. Finally one day I just said, enough was enough and I changed it. I applied for school so I could finish my BA, got a divorced, and worked on bettering my health and life. Sometimes it takes that leap of faith in yourself to just stand up and say, “just do it,” and you just have to go for it if you want life to change.

  • I relate with Erin in her message in every way. It is something I even would give advice to people, to just “go for it”. She followed her heart (as cliche as it sounds) and didn’t regret it. All of the bumps that came along the way she expected it and continued. I followed a similar route with changing my major in my 1st year of college after realizing I had no passion for pharmacy whatsoever and began a state of depression. I decided to go with nutrition on a good intuition and I never regretted it. I made the decision on my own and I followed through with the bumps a long the way knowing this is what I wanted to do. Finances are always tough and stressful which I feel like everyone can relate. But Erin’s story and motivation to keep going is something everyone should keep in mind when feeling doubtful! Good luck Erin!

  • i relate with Erin completely by finding a passion for something that is unexpected and not having much experience in it but learning during the way. I myself have found a passion for something totally opposite what my undergrad degree is in, and it also involves technology and this is a huge learning curve for me as well but I am trying my best to be successful at it and learning a lot through the journey.

    I definitely agree with what she said about going after what you want and not waiting on other people to give you a chance or opportunity. Erin is very inspiring and I wish her all the best!

  • “Don’t wait. If you want something, start doing it. Nobody’s going to hand it to you.” I completely agree with this because it is the secret of success. We can’t just sit around and expect things to happen magically. We have to pursue and work hard towards towards achieving what we want just like Erin did. This statement is one advice I will give people because at some point in our lives, we need to be reminded to pursue what we really want. Erin faced some obstacles along the way, but because she found what she was passionate about, she was able to overcome it.
    #Great story.

  • Start-ups are really difficult, but when you are passionate about something it is all worth it!
    You are determined and I can easily relate to your story because I am also an entrepreneur living in NYC, it is hard to make the decision to take the leap and the risk, to not be afraid and to choose to bet everything for a project you really believe in. I also love to read and write so I personally believe that your project is great!
    I love your idea of developing the site to give educators more tools to teach writing, and I agree with you on a tie between literacy and writing. We all should be taught not only how to write, but how to write properly.

  • I’ve worked on a few startups myself, and founded two of them–an app and a website. I was really impressed by how Roberts was able to articulate her job description. They say being CEO of a startup is being employee number one.

    You do sales, development, admin, accounting–all of it. I’m certain that Roberts does a lot of things for her company she doesn’t even consider part of the job, because she loves it and is passionate about it. I can’t count how many nights my partners and I would stay up til 3 or 4 in the morning just talking about what our app’s logo would look like.

    Discussions like that are part of the job in every sense of the word, but you’d never consider them work. Likewise, accounting has to be the most fun part of running a startup (when you’re making a bit of money). Like Roberts, if someone had asked me to articulate what I did, I probably would have given a very similar answer, not thinking of all the work I actually did behind the scenes.

    Unfortunately, my app failed, but my newest project, a lead generation service for real estate agents, just might succeed. I’m a lot younger than Roberts, but I’m taking her advice and going for it.

  • I can relate to this particular story because it simply reminds me of my mom who has been a strong independent women driven to watch her kids succeed and do anything in her power to support us.

  • I related to this story because I do have been through financial issues in the past 4 years, with no promise of a career or part time job. I did what I could to provide for my family, and I still do. It’s true what she said in this story. You can’t just sit around waiting for things to be handed to you. You have to go and do what you want to do. True success all depends on the person and how far they’re willing to go, and never ever letting circumstances take you down. Hard work truly pays off.

  • It is always great to hear a story about a woman who has become successful in the technology industry. I admire her tenacity and willingness to work to fill a need she saw. Her advice about not waiting to do what you want to do just because you are worried about whether you are capable was really inspiring. She really wants other young women to know that if you are skilled, it is up to you to seek success. She shows that if you are willing to put in the effort, accomplishment and fulfillment will follow.
    As a woman who hopes to become successful in the professional world as well as have a family, I look to the woman in this article as role model. Our society often says that a woman cannot have it all but this woman is an example of a woman who made a successful career for herself while still having time for her family. She is someone that any young woman, especially ones who are interested in business, can draw inspiration from.

  • I love that Brooke is honest about what she isn’t good at. I grew up in this technology age, yet often feel left behind by it. I like pen and paper. She uses her talents then gives it to someone she trusts to make it into her website, which shows she knows how to network.

    I admire her pursuing something that makes her happy even though she’s often the only woman in the field. I’m pursuing Film Production and know it often feels like you’re the only one. Brooke inspires me because she’s following her dream despite the obstacles she faces.

  • It is always good to see people passionate about their dreams and overcome every difficulty to try and do what they want, like in her case. I have been through similar experiences throughout my life. In my case my biggest problem has been the money.

    I am from a small town in a small country named Honduras in Central America. Since I was a small kid I knew what I wanted to do with my life, my father is an artist and he showed me how big and diverse the world of the arts is. Well, back home most of the artists do not have any college level education, one of the reasons being that there is no arts degree in any university. So I came here to study what I love but that has made it difficult to my parents since they also have to support my 3 other siblings.

    I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my scholarships; and even though it is still hard for me, I strongly believe that everyone should do what it takes to fulfill their life dreams.

  • I love this story! The title really caught my eye and it inspired me as a women to keep striving for my dreams no matter the circumstances!

  • Your story is amazing and the passion behind it is what makes it special. I work for a composting company in Tucson and being a woman is always a struggle in the business. The agricultural world does not always agree with women driving tractors and forklifts, because its a “mans job.” But working for this job has taught me so much about myself and how important it is to not let others opinions on gender affect your work ethic and decision. Like you mentioned with age, I am only 20 and attend meetings with owners of local businesses throughout Tucson and presidents of high schools, and they sometimes don’t take me as seriously because of my age. It’s so important for us to never let those factors intimidate us or stop us from doing what we love! Hope your success keeps growing!

  • Your story is very inspiring and has such passion behind it that is very admirable. I work for a pet sitting company and am interested in getting into the real estate field and am also feeling some discrimination because I am a woman and am young. When working in the pet sitting field I occasionally lose jobs because I am young and still in college. Many people feel if someone is young they don’t know how to do things right nor can they accomplish something that those with more experience could which is frustrating since I can pet sit just as well if not better in certain situations that those with more experience than myself. In the real estate world I have the same issue you dealt with in regards to networking where the “men” in the group almost look down on me and don’t think I can make as much money or sell as many houses as they can just because I am a woman.

    However, at the end of the day I have to remind myself the other people in the world won’t make my life better for me, I have to do that for myself. Stories such as yours allows me to continue to believe in myself and have the determination to achieve all that I want to despise the negativity that may surround me while striving towards my goals.

    Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors

  • This story is very inspiring! I always admire that people pursue what they think is good and feel passionate. Sometimes, people face challenges, but they overcome these obstacles and go for their dreams.

    Before coming to the UA, I had 10 years of teaching experience as a resource room teacher providing services for gifted students and students with disabilities at a public middle school in Taiwan. Working in an inclusive school setting enhanced my ability to know how to create a supportive learning environment for students with special needs. I also worked as the Director of Special Education and thus cultivated my administration abilities. However, I still feel frustrated sometimes. Two years ago in a behavioral management program that I designed, an ADHD student didn’t respond well; in fact, there was not any sign of improvements.

    After comprehensive information gathering, I realized that I have encountered a twice-exceptional student. I started to study and research twice-exceptional students, and the more I studied the more eager I became to learn how to support them.

    Now, I retained my job in my previous school after ten years teaching life. I came to the US to pursue a Ph.D. degree in special education. I believe that it is a right decision for me to be of more extensive help for students in the future. Just go for it!

  • This story is genuinely encouraging. I admire the fact that she chased after her dream and took the risk of leaving her career behind to start something that has always interest her. The fact that she prepared herself by taking writing classes showed that she was truly committed to her new business. In addition, I think her story shows that casing your dreams is not free of obstacles but that you have to overcome them and continue with optimism

  • It is heartening to read the stories of successful people who remark upon their own successes in terms of their own tenacity. We all struggle in the fields we individually choose to pursue, and all feel at times that our talents or skills or abilities are not enough. In the face of these feelings, advice like that of Brooke McIntyre’s to continue to work hard through the difficult times is inspiring.

    I admire the work that Brooke is doing, and wish her the best in her goals. I believe that education is one of the most basic and important rights of all people, and I wish her well on her plans to expand to the education sector.

  • I really enjoyed hearing about this story of Brooke’s success. In spite of not being extremely tech savy her drive to succeed is what drove her to be where she is now. I find myself, a upstart artist in a similar position. I feel compared to others that my skills might not be up to par. But reading Brooke’s story and her tenacity to move forward in the face of adversity is truly inspiring. It is an attitude I will take with me too California College of the Arts to get my bachelor’s in illustration. I won’t let my short comings define me, rather I will let them motivate me to work that much harder. This is a prime example of when you work for everything you want. Hard work does indeed pay off.

  • Brooke is an amazing a powerful person. It takes heart, determination, and discipline to be able to drop everything and go after her vision. This story especially vibes with me because I was able to see into the window of my goals. Her efforts showed me exactly what i needed to do and more. I’m not tech savvy and I have been wondering how I was going to get my untangle image into the life of the physical. Her tenacity and drive for knowledge motivates me to continue with my plan and create a platform for all artist who wants the world to see there thoughts in all shapes and forms. Not only that, I have been struggling getting my own art to life but her advice to just go out there and do it lit a fire in my soul, as well as my mind. Nothing is going to stop me from doing what I will do. Thank you Brooke, if I ever get a chance to talk with you in the future it would be a blessing of all kinds.

  • I truly adore the fact that you are not familiar with the coding world but yet decided to expand your social network and rely on people you trust to do that for you which will allow you focus on your management part.

  • Great article. Inspired by her will to value things that are important to her and have the ability channel her own creativity being in a career that brings her passion. It’s amazing how the most simplest ideas that you think least about could be turn into the most fulfilling and profitable things

  • This is a very well written article. I admire her determination and creativity. She’s gotten to expand her social circle while doing what she loves. She decided to take a risk and It did well in her favor. Even though she faces countless challenges she keeps moving forward. She notes that the industry has “gatekeepers”, I think that they have given her a drive to be successful. No one likes hearing the word no or to get a door slammed in your face however, this young lady found a way to create her own door and encourages others to build their own doors as well. She is very inspirational and i strive to create my own business just as Ms. McIntyre suceessfully did throughout trail and error.

  • Brooke, really helped me put life into perspective for me, what really caught my attention was when she said “Don’t wait. If you want something, start doing it.” It really resonated with me. I too believe that we humans are restricted by social norms and it makes us afraid to try new things. It reminds me of one time during my physical education class when my teacher told us to take laps around the court. But, instead of going in the right direction I took the opposite. It pales in comparison to what Brooke did, but to me it felt like I was making a decision of my own, not the orthodox way.

  • Brooke is a great writer. I love how she answered the question of if she loves what she does. She said, “Yes, because I think that stories are magical and words are like music. I remember myself as a child, devouring books and getting lost in characters and learning so much by reading. And now I get to work on the other side of things with people who are creating those stories. Not everyone who uses Inked Voices is a creative writer, but a large number are. I get to help people who are telling stories and using their imagination and creating things for all of us. When I see people enjoying their writing and getting good feedback, it makes me happy. Self-expression is so important”. This touched my heart because I can tell how passionate she is and how genuine she is about her work.

  • I was scrolling through articles that I could personally relate to, and seeing “You just have to go for it” completely sold me. As many times as I hear “do it” or “just do it, don’t think about it” I get inspired but also frozen in doubt. Learning through Brooke’s words and her incredible amount of passion and drive motivates me to further my career as a photographer and possibly even more from there.

  • “Don’t Wait” really hits home for me. You are always the driver of your own career and destiny. This is great advice that can benefit many people across industries and careers.

  • Brooke’s words of “Start doing it. Nobody is going to hand it to you” were resonating to me as for most of my life, I have always been passive in my approach to life. I believed that the things I wanted would just appear in my lap, but that only left me unfulfilled and unsatisfied. Now as a freshmen in university, I decided that I really wanted to be more involved in the community whether it be in school and the local area. I exposed myself to two outreach extracurricular clubs since I never took the chance during high school. Now after a semester and a half, I am thoroughly enjoying each moment to enrich the days of all of the members of the community that I get to meet. This is nothing in the level that Brooke achieved, but I hope that I am able to reach a similar place in the future.

  • One of the most amazing phrases ever said is “You just have to go for it”. I found your story very amazing and inspiring. Although I don’t share a similar story to yours, I truly understand what you meant with “You just have to go for it”.

    I used to leave in Mexico and wanted to study Finance in the United States, but my parents wanted me to study law in Mexico, so I decided to challenge myself and pursue my goal of coming to the United States and study Finance, even though it went against my family’s wishes.

    This decision has made me: grown into an an independent, ambitious, and hard working young adult. I never imagined the tremendous psychological impact that choosing to follow my own goals instead of my family’s, would have on my life, so when you say “You just have to go for it” I can truly get what you are trying to say.

    I have always believed that following your dreams and goals are one of the most rewarding experiences in life.

  • I love that Brooke says “don’t hope that someone is going to a chance on you or shine a light on your talent. Shine a light on yourself and take the chance.” I think owning your accomplishments and capabilities, and continuing to push yourself are amazing gifts that few people possess. I hid behind fear for a long time, fear of failure, fear of branching out, fear of letting others down. As I got older I eventually broke through that fear and shifted my life back on the path I was supposed to take many years ago.

    I finally found my passion in working with those less fortunate, and I finally found a program that mirrors my interests, to the point where I enjoy going to school and my homework assignments. I would have never known how to enjoy my life if I hadn’t taken the plunge and let myself be vulnerable to fear.

  • “In some ways, it wasn’t just one thing that led me to start Inked Voices, it was everything – my business background, my experience in the critique group, my love for working in teams. I knew I wanted to do something with meaning and do something entrepreneurial, so I decided to put all that together and give it a go.” I love this. I hope one day I get to participate in a project like this one.

  • After reading Erin Roberts article, I found out that she is a very inspirational woman. She had bravely stand out in her field, despite being a minority. The title and theme of her article is about “going for it”. This phrase can be intimidating, but life’s nothing without taking a little risk.

  • Her article is inspiring and moving. She teaches that if you take the right risks and work hard enough, anyone can achieve their set goals. It relates to when i was in high school taking risks to exchange controversial ideas in philosophy club on business ethics.

  • Moving into a world of Social Media is difficult and it brings up fears about future careers. I never thought I would have to worry about Social Media but there are so many benefits to business, that for once I am actually excited to be apart of it. Brooke did the same thing, she used Social Media to get her message out and made a carrer out of it.

  • When I was in high school I struggled with going through with my ideas for making apps, but one day I just decided I couldn’t keep making excuses for why I was not following my dreams, and I went for it.
    I spent most of 12th grade working on my app every moment I had a chance, and the more I worked on it, the better I felt about myself.

  • This entire article is very inspiring to me. I have been aspiring to enter the world of programming and technology for the past two years of my collegiate experience. However, I have had doubts about how I can transition from journalism to that industry. This article provides with a strategy for breaking into an industry, but more importantly it shows the importance of perseverance.

  • This article really resonates with me. I may not have plans to do what Ms. McIntyre is doing, but at my college, MIT, I know that a lot of my peers are interested in tech startups. Sometimes they feel down and don’t think they will succeed. I feel like by reading this article and seeing someone who has stated their process and their share of ups and downs, my peers will be able to stay motivated and not give up. Also, for me, this is inspiring because like her, the path to the career I want is going to take a lot of work. I want to be a doctor specializing in nuclear medicine but many techniques are relatively young. Seeing an inspirational story of a woman whose paved the way for her success motivates me to keep striving for what I want to do no matter how difficult it may be.

  • This article is marvelous. I admire the author for completing school and creating a business while taking care

    of her family. Another reason I admire her is the fact that she didn’t let any situation stop her from

    accomplishing her goals. Her article is an inspiration for many people that are afraid to accomplish goals in

    their life because of failure. It also encourage others that may have doubt about their future to attempt a

    goal that they desire to achieve. “You Just Have To Go For It” demonstrates that anything is possible if people

    work hard and believe. The author motivated me to never quit on my dreams no matter how many times I fail.

    I will get back up and try until I succeed. I will continue to achieve my dream career even if school is too

    expensive to go to. I won’t let it stop me from becoming the person I want to be.

  • I certainly do not work for a tech startup but I totally understand going for something one is more passionate about and facing challenges once there. When I first joined my major at my university, I did not know what I was getting into but I learned along the way of what was expected of me and what was conventional of the department. I even applied for a research program that I did not think I would get into but I was accepted and like Ms. McIntyre, “I am in constant listening and learning mode.”

  • Honestly, startups are probably one of the best places to work if you don’t want to open one yourself. Honestly, if you have the drive to succeed, the reward at the end of the journey when the startup begins to take off is amazing.

  • It’s hard to start off on your own path. There is so much uncertainty surrounding the trajectory of your success, not to mention the financial risks you are taking. It would certainly be easier to take a 9-5 working under someone in a salaried position, with a guarantee flow of income. You must truly believe in yourself and your vision to dedicate your time, energy, and talents to making your dream a reality. I read a fortune cookie yesterday that “a goal is just a dream with a plan and a deadline” and that is certainly true of your experience. Especially as a woman, entering into a technology-based field isn’t easy. There is so much more pressure to prove yourself and outperform. But I have the upmost confidence in your continued success.

  • This story speaks to me on so many levels as a young woman interested in writing and programming. We always need more prominent women in business and technology, and so it’s always nice to hear an inspiring story like this one. Especially since it looks like you succeeded! Yay!!! This is definitely an app I would consider trying. The reviews are good, the site is professional. Well done!

    I have been working to teach myself programming so that hopefully someday I can help crack the gender gap in the video game industry. I am particularly interested in creating fun educational games, so I adore the fact that you worked so hard to consider your app being used in an educational setting. There are so many ways that technology can be used in fun and creative ways in schools to help students learn and think creatively themselves. Can’t wait to see what other tools you may add in the future, or what other things you will make.

  • I find myself resonating with Brooke in the same “Go For it” drive to pursue my passion and succeed in New York. As a San Francisco native, I will be moving to New York in the fall to pursue a Masters of Arts in Childhood Education. Although I was accepted to several schools in California, I found myself drawn to the uncertainty and untamed nature of New York. I strive to create a difference in the education field and I know for sure one of my challenges will be with finances. But throughout it all, I am ecstatic and eager to shake up the education world and see what good I can create.

  • There are many aspects about your story that I find resonate with my life. First off, being one of a few women in your field is without a doubt a challenge, and me being someone who’s pursuing a degree in science, the ratio of men to women is far higher than I’d be comfortable with. Definitely feeling like your voice isn’t really ‘heard’ or that you are often looked at as someone who doesn’t really know what’s going on is quite insulting. I consciously try not to let things like this interfere with my ability to pursue my dream. At times it’s tough, at times I do feel like I don’t always know what’s going on. BUT I don’t use that as a cry for help, instead I use this feeling as a drive to work harder and keep on keepin’ on.

    Additionally, the part about not waiting and go for what you want is something I’ve told myself countless times over the years. I don’t know how I got it ingrained in my head whether it be a quote, a TV show, a well-known speaker, etc, but I do know that once I truly learned to not hold back and push myself forward, I’ve felt unstoppable. And being fearless is helping me become the woman I am today.

  • This is so inspiring, thanks for sharing your story! I love your determination and positive attitude, from the long string of comments it appears that many others do as well. I can relate to your experiences as being one of a few women in the work place, and becoming confident in yourself despite your age.

    Right now I am working with my local justice court in hopes to lead me towards a career in law. I’ve had many positive interactions where people encourage me to chase my goals, and others where they tell me that I won’t be taken seriously because of my gender.

    As a 19 year old I often face my own insecurities as well as those inflicted upon me by my colleagues and peers in school. Every time I tell someone my age I have a mini identity crisis and hope that they don’t look down on me for it. I find it inspiring that you look back and wish that you had set it aside. Becoming comfortable with my age and ambitions is something I am actively overcoming.

    You have many great ideas, I wish you and your family success in your endeavors.

  • I can completely relate to your story. I am going into the broadcast journalism field after college, hopefully, and it is a very difficult field for a woman to get into. It has been a male driven field for a very long time.

    I also resonate with your advice to not wait. I am a freshman in college and I’ve been lucky enough to have been taught that lesson early on. I interned at two internships my senior year and I also went to a career fair targeted toward juniors and seniors this year in college, as a freshman and I have a few interviews as a result.

    I think your advice is spot on and it is so helpful to know I am on the right track. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • This piece was truly moving. How you overcame all the hardships and did not let the the stereotype of a mans world defeat you. We need more women like you, to pursue their dreams!

    Thank you for sharing.

  • This was a very inspiring piece as it relates to me as well. As an art / photography major, it’s difficult to face financial problems, paying off school loans in the future, etc. But I want to have a career that I love and look forward to in the future. My parents were not entirely supportive at first but as you said, you just got to go for it and have faith in yourself. For a couple years, my parents wanted me to change majors as they were worried about not having a stable career. But as I continue to fight for what I love, they eventually started to support the idea and help me find internships. I always tell myself to never give up and keep fighting / defending yourself. As a young adult, I am still learning and I plan to continue with the path I am on now. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Reading the selection, how Brooke’s choices were impacted by how the different industries had and still have disproportionate female representation. It seemed fitting to seek a more independent avenue to pursue one’s passion. However working within the industry is still necessary, the experiences and encountered serve as both a reminder the obstacles exist and a viable means this innovative individual worked around the obstacles. Her story is empowering and inspiring for those of any age seeing only the challenges in an industry or environment.

  • It is kind of discouraging going after an idea or maybe even a job when you don’t have all the qualifications for it. I know I get discouraged plenty of times because of my background and financial challenges too. I’ve learned throughout my college experience, that you have to take risks. If you really want to do something you have to take those risks. The worst thing that can happen is to fail, but you learn from those failures and correct them the next time so you can do better. I’ve been struggling with taking risks because of my bad anxiety to fail. However, I learned that, that is a part of taking risks and it doesn’t mean you should stop taking that risk. It just means you should fix or change a route so you can succeed and carry on. If you really want something, you will work for it.

  • I can identify significantly to this post . I think that stories and really all forms of liberal arts are like doses of magic that you devour within every page , or every note of music . Although i pursued entrepreneurship from an early age , I took a job in sales to further my skill set . I taught myself how to code and now i too and on my way to becoming a tech founder . i love that she chose her passion . I love that she’s already looking forward to the future because that means she’s committed to the journey .

  • Recently, I have shared the same conviction of “You just have to go for it,” when I decided to pursue my doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Attending a private school for a doctorate degree skyrockets the cost, and moving cities to go to school only compounds on those costs. My goals to become a psychologist and to be able to help low-income families led me past self-doubts and financial worries, to move forward and to just go for it.

  • This was a very inspiring piece. Oftentimes, especially with pursuing education and as an underrepresented minority and woman, I feel as though I need to be “completely ready” and extremely knowledgeable in order to even get started. I’ve learned over the years and emphasized in this article, that success knows no time. I created a service organization, RISE Leadership Academy, to connect underserved centers for youth aged 12 to 17 to programs needed to become more effective and sustainable. I galvanized fellow undergraduate team members to collaboratively implement my vision, pitch in case competitions, and gain the support of national organizations through grant awards to ultimately fundraise for supplies and equipment for a youth center in Jamaica. It took tenacity, learning different skill sets, and consistently and confidently putting myself out there for pitch competitions to streamline my social venture.

    I also really resonated with the idea of being in a new space and the learning trajectory. My post MBA goal is within the television and film industry. Thus, I decided to create and co-host Sidebar, a weekly podcast discussing career and relationships over drinks and cocktails. Sidebar is a platform that unabashedly highlights the experiences of both guests and two black urban females through a modern lens. Previous guests have included entrepreneurs, media industry guests, and executive directors of top consulting firms and is posted on iTunes and Stitcher.

  • I relate to this story because as a woman in a S.T.E.M. field, my classes usually involved 30 men, and only 3 women. For me, it was also really hard to cope because of my mental illness affecting my performance, and being a woman means you have to work twice as hard as any man to get the same recognition as them. However, if you truly are passionate about something, you have to keep going, regardless of the obstacles before you.

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