Debbie's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Women In STEM

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    San Francisco, CA

DEBBIE STERLING

Founder/CEO
GoldieBlox

“I was laughed at by the toy industry, and yet, I stuck with my intuition and it became wildly successful.”

INTERESTS:

Design Engineering

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Perseverance Societal Pressures Passion Goals Confidence Doubt Inspiration Fulfillment Fear

FOUNDATION:

Upholding a Cause and Belief

TAGS:

adversity, advice, challenges, diversity, embarrassement, engineering, gender, GoldieBlox, influence, learning, making a difference, research, role models, self-doubt, STEM, stereotype, support, teacher, toys, women

BIOGRAPHY:

  • She studied mechanical engineering and product design at Stanford University.
  • One day, she and a friend were having a conversation about how few women they had in their engineering classes.
  • Her friend had become interested in engineering because she’d played with her brothers’ building blocks and toys when she was a kid.
  • Debbie realized that she’d never seen any sort of toy like that being marketed to, or designed for young girls.
  • When she started shopping around the idea of building block toys for women, many people in the toy industry told her that there was a reason that boys played with blocks and girls didn’t.
  • She spent years researching childhood development to find out if this was true, and learned it was actually a myth, and that young girls are just as primed to become engineers as boys are.
  • She knew she’d found her calling, and developed GoldieBlox, a children’s toy and media company that inspires girls to get interested in engineering and technology.
  • Says that when you’re creating something you believe in, you’re going to face rejection—just like she did when she first approached the toy industry—but you can’t let the “no’s” stop you.

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