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Name: Jacquelyn Thomas

Business: Girls Pursuing Science, LLC 

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.

Industry: Education & Training 

Reason for starting? I started GPS to empower girls (who will become women) to make intelligent decisions that are based on facts not emotions. Since women typically make many of the buying decisions for the family, marketers take advantage of the emotional vulnerability of females, robbing them of their buying power. Women pay more for everything from dry cleaning to cosmetics. Not to mention clothes! Then there are societal issues like the continuing gender wage gap, gender-based violence, under-representation, discrimination, etc. that feed the severe continued under-representation of women in STEM, politics, corporate boards and more. It is my moral duty as a female scientist, innovator and entrepreneur to blaze the trail and create a path for female empowerment. I believe the best way to do that is start early and build upon a girl’s natural ability to think, create and lead.

Related: Two Women Tech Investors to Raise $30 Million Robotics Fund

How do you define success? I define success as doing things that I know for sure. Post age 50, I know that things always work out, and when I write things down and cross them out when they’ve been accomplished, I get the most gratification. Therefore I pride myself on obedience and discipline. Both leverage my zone of genius, maximize my potential and allow me to help others in a meaningful way, while providing the freedom, lifestyle and experiences that I desire.

Biggest success: As a single parent, I raised a smart successful entrepreneurial son, started one of the first STEM programs in the country (Kids In Technology Inc.), finished over a dozen marathons and earned a degree in robotics at age 50. I feel like I am still striving to be “successful.”

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Scaling in education is notoriously difficult; there are almost 100,000 public schools in the U.S., many making their own purchasing decisions. We can get one school or 10, but how do we sell to 1,000? Over the past 18 months or so, I have done email campaigns, mailed out colorful post cards, build a robust website and hired a commissioned-based sales team.

Related: Medical Women: Sophia Yen is on a Mission to Bring Birth Control to the Masses

Who is your most important role model? My most important role model was my mom. Since her death, I have not been about to identify with anyone that I think of as a role model.

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Edited by The Story Exchange