My dad told me I needed to tell my story as soon as I got back from pitching Doghead Simulations in Beijing, China. He thought it was the coolest thing and not an experience just any budding startup gets. He should know. He teaches entrepreneurship to engineers at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. He’s also an entrepreneur himself. He started his own company when I was in elementary school and ran it until he started teaching.
It took me a bit longer to realize I had a story to tell.
It all started when I joined Toastmasters. It was there that I learned good talks are made up of good stories. Stories inform, influence, and entertain. I was inspired to speak so I submitted a topic to IIEX Europe’s New Speaker Series on a whim. It was when my talk about how virtual reality gives people superpowers, was accepted that I realized I was doing something story worthy.
My Toastmaster mentor, Pam, helped me figure out the story to tell for my talk. At the point of my talk, VR was riding a new wave and Doghead was even newer. With Pam’s help, I was able to weave together a tale of how the immersive power of VR builds stronger teams than video or IM alone. I told the stories I heard from researchers at VR Day Atlanta demonstrating the mind-changing capabilities of the technology. And I tied it into something they could start experimenting with today.
I remember getting mic’ed up at the back of the conference room as Annie, (the New Speaker Organizer and our conference guide) introduced me on stage. I felt the adrenaline pumping through me but it all went away as I dived into my speech asking, “who here likes Super Heros?”
After Amsterdam, the year seemed to open in front of me. Anything seemed possible from speaking, showcasing my product at conferences, and beyond. I was showing the world what it meant to be a woman in tech by putting my face forward and talking about how VR can solve business problems and create business opportunity.
During this fast-paced time of professional accomplishment, I found out that I was pregnant with my first. It was even more clear to me that it was now or never to push myself and go all in on my career. I wanted to have a great story to tell my son. I wanted to be able to tell him how I traveled the world, spoke to people from all kinds of backgrounds, and grew a company with friends from scratch.
I didn’t know what would happen once my baby arrived into the world. I did know he would have a mom he could look up to. He would have a mom who is a good example of work ethic, facing fears, and making friends. Most of all, he would have a mom with a great story to tell.