Founder of Marshall Plan for Moms & Girls Who Code
Founder of Marshall Plan for Moms & Girls Who Code
Reshma Saujani is the author of the international bestseller Brave, Not Perfect and the New York Times bestseller Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World. Saujani’s TED Talk, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection,” has more than four and a half million views and has sparked a worldwide conversation about how we’re raising our girls. She is the host of the award-winning podcast “Brave, Not Perfect.”
Saujani began her career as an attorney and activist. In 2010, she surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress. During the race, Saujani visited local schools and saw the gender gap in computing classes firsthand, which led her to start Girls Who Code.
Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st-century opportunities. By the end of the 2019 academic year, Girls Who Code had reached over 185,000 girls across all 50 states, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In 2019, Girls Who Code was awarded Most Innovative Non-Profit by Fast Company.
In early 2021, Saujani took out a full-page ad in The New York Times, addressed to Joe Biden from 50 prominent women, urging him to adopt what she called the Marshall Plan for Moms. The response prompted her to found Marshall Plan for Moms, a movement petitioning lawmakers to provide more support to mothers.
Saujani is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and Yale Law School. Her work on behalf of young women has earned her broad recognition on lists including Fortune World’s Greatest Leaders; Fortune 40 Under 40; WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year; Forbes Most Powerful Women Changing the World; and Fast Company 100 Most Creative People, among others. She is the winner of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education.
In 2020, Reshma joined the Board of Onward Together. She also serves on the Board of Overseers for Harvard University and on the Board of Overseers for the International Rescue Committee, which provides aid to refugees and those impacted by humanitarian crises., and as an ex-officio Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Saujani lives in New York City with her husband, Nihal, their sons Shaan and Sai, and their bulldog, Stanley.
Do you run yourself ragged trying to not just do it all, but do it all flawlessly? Do you lose sleep ruminating over small mistakes or worrying that something you said or did might have offended someone? Have you ever passed up a big opportunity - a relationship, job, or a personal challenge - for fear you wouldn't nail it right away or look foolish trying? For you, is failure simply not an option?
You're not alone. As women, we've been taught from an early age to play it safe. Well-meaning parents and teachers rewarded us for being quiet and polite, urged us to be careful so we didn't get hurt, and steered us to activities at which we could shine. Meanwhile, boys were encouraged to speak up, get dirty, take risks and get right back up again if they fell. In short, boys are taught to be brave, while girls are taught to be perfect.
In a moderated Q&A, drawing from her book, Brave, Not Perfect, Saujani shares powerful insights and practices to make bravery a lifelong habit. Key takeaways include:
We told women that to break glass ceilings and succeed in their careers, all they needed to do is dream big, raise their hands, and lean in. But data tells a different story.
In this urgent and rousing conversation, Reshma Saujani dismantles the myth of “having it all” and lifts the burden we place on individual women to be primary caregivers and to work around a system built for and by men. Through powerful data and personal narrative, Saujani shows the cost of inaction and lays out four key steps for creating lasting change: empower working women, educate corporate leaders, revise our narratives about what it means to be successful, and advocate for policy reform.
It’s no secret that the tech industry has a serious gender imbalance. We live in an era in which girls are told they can do anything, so why aren’t there more women in leadership roles to look up to? In 2012, Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code with the mission of correcting this disparity. Since then, she has sparked a national conversation about increasing the number of women in tech, and Girls Who Code has reached nearly 40,000 young girls, 90 percent of whom have declared or intend to declare a major or minor in computer science. With Google and Twitter as backers, and Facebook and AT&T (among others) signed on as mentors, the program aims to enroll 1 million women by 2020.
Drawing from her book, Women Who Don’t Wait in Line, Saujani will advocate a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting your own course, both personally and professionally.
Reshma Saujani is a serial failed politician. Strikingly, it is because of her failures she has built a national movement that is changing the conversation about women and technology. Recounting her personal narrative and lessons learned in this compelling, dynamic and earnest presentation, Saujani also weaves in stories of other accomplished women who have overcome roadblocks and forged new paths—women who have similarly learned to live an authentic life by taking risks and choosing to seek failure rather than fear it. Offering tools to improve resiliency and embark on new ideas, she ignites and inspires audience members to pursue risk and help reshape the country.
She’s just so lovely and personable and all of her points were spot on. It was a really great conversation and I think many folks needed to hear her message about being brave, not perfect.