Outbox Incubator execs ready to make a difference

1 Sep 2015

The Outbox Incubator gang in London. Photo via Vanessa Greene

Vanessa Greene brings us her report from week five of Outbox Incubator, where highlights included a trip to Etsy’s offices, sightseeing around London and the cementing of some great friendships.

Week five at Outbox Incubator included many wonderful sessions on an array of different topics, from agile management to user needs, big data to marketing, law to partaking in the marshmallow challenge. Each session was as inspiring as the next, but some, such as lessons on being appropriate in the workplace and staying strong while running your own business, did stand out more than others.

There is so much to learn and take from each individual session, however, this week it was also time to learn from those around me. The first major lesson came on Tuesday as we all pitched to the Stemettes to have the chance to speak on a panel. Each pitch was no longer than 60 seconds in length and we had to describe why our story should be told.

These pitches were a great way to learn more about everyone’s backgrounds and why they have come from near and far to Outbox. For some it’s education, others incubation, and some for inspiration, but the common goal really is to continue growing the number of girls and women in STEM and move even closer to closing the gender gap.

The pitches really hit home for me as I realised the times we have had unconscious bias push us (or rather attempt to push us) out of the way, saying STEM isn’t for us. We are not only those who ignore these ignorant statements, we are the generation that is making sure we change everyone’s perception so we can achieve the goal of a better future.

Etsy does it

Outbox Incubator

Etsy’s offices in London. Photo: Vanessa Greene

Lessons were being learned throughout the week, including during our trip to Etsy UK. Etsy is one of the few companies I’ve seen that has more women than men in its office — that, to me, is a wonderful thing to see. To hear some of those women’s stories of their STEM experience was amazing as I admire Etsy as a business and, also, its ethos.

The greatest lesson I learned this week was definitely that of friendship. Being in Outbox I have met so many people with the same or similar interests to me, people I may never have met otherwise. Throughout the week, some friendships from being here in week two grew greater, while new ones also blossomed.

We are family

Outbox Incubator

The Outbox gang sightseeing around London. Photos: Vanessa Greene

With a trip out to see the sights of London on Saturday I realised how close I’ve become to everyone, we are all family! Seeing the sights of London was wonderful as we took a boat trip along the Thames, ate in the O2 Arena, took the Emirates Air Line cable cars cross the Thames and went to see Big Ben and the London Eye.

These girls are all so inspiring, loving, hard-working, funny, caring and helpful. There is not a dull moment around the Outbox executives and when someone leaves it is heartbreaking to say the least. When Sunday arrives, goodbyes, notes and hugs are had as early as 6am as we promise to keep our friendships alive.

Outbox is not only a start-up incubator for young women in STEM, it is a community that is ready to step up and make a change, whether the change be a start-up idea, building a greater network or fighting for gender equality in STEM, we are ready! Outbox is a family that I believe will stick together for a long time to come.

With that, I must thank every single one of the Stemettes for creating Outbox and giving us such an amazing experience and opportunity. Their vision is wonderful and without a doubt is going to make a great change to STEM. As for everyone else, watch out, these girls are on top of their game with beyond-extraordinary start-ups.

By Vanessa Greene

Vanessa Greene is a 19-year-old participant in Outbox Incubator. She is also the founder of @maryscomptclub, co-founder of @leanutech and is a mentor at CoderDojo DCU.

Women Invent is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Intel, Eircom, Fidelity Investments, ESB, Accenture and CoderDojo.