When Juliette Palacios was 14, she signed up to take a beginner’s coding class, and it quickly became her favorite class of the day. When Juliette began looking around at the lack of female representation both her coding class and in the technology industry, she realized that she could do something about it; she could help girls at a young age (9–12) learn the fundamentals of coding.
Juliette started off with just driving out to some local elementary schools to teach girls in the East Bay’s Oakland. It was going well, but she realized that she could make a lot more of an impact if she turned her organization, Computing Minds into an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The paperwork was turned in to the IRS when Juliette was 15, and now Computing Minds is an official nonprofit.
Due to the pandemic, Juliette has had to change over to using Zoom and Scratch.mit.edu for teaching. Although some aspects of Computing Mind are easier in person, Juliette has been happy with the results because she is able to teach girls from farther away because she does not have to drive/take the bus out to see them.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
To me, the term “conscious entrepreneurship” means that the organization has good moral values and does not just take the easy, short-term-thinking route because they care about the impact that they leave on the world in the long run.
CAREER — What led you to your particular career path?
I am interested in computer science because when I was in fourth grade, someone came to our school after lunch one day to give a mini-lesson on the fundamentals of coding. I loved the way that I could be creative with it, so when I went into my first year of highschool and I took a beginners coding class, I had a very open mind — unlike some of my friends who had not had a fun first experience.
MENTORS — We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been an invaluable mentor for you? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
My biggest mentor has been my teacher Mr. Mattix. I had him my freshman year of highschool, and I have him again for my junior year this year. My first year, he was very encouraging and loved all of my projects, which kept me motivated and excited to learn more. Now, he is one of the board members of my nonprofit and shows support for my academics and nonprofit constantly.
TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?
I see myself thriving more as I get older, with the more experience I get, the more I can achieve. I see myself opening up opportunities for others by building a community of girls to support each other in a male-dominated world.
CAUSE — What are the causes close to your heart, and you are supporting right now? Can you share a story how you got involved? How did it make you feel?
It is very important for there to be equality in the world of computer science based both on gender and race. Being a girl of color who is interested in computer science, I can understand how other women of color can feel isolated sometimes. This isolation can feel intimidating, so the only way to fix it would to get a more diverse group of people involved.
THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?
I hope to see more women of color CEOs. Companies/brands need to be much more open to giving the power to some of the many qualified women who would do an amazing job.
ADVICE — What kind of advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who feels limited due to their background or lack of resources?
I would say that there are some great accessible resources to get started. One thing that I know of is SCORE.org, where they have SCORE mentors giving free advice to entrepreneurs.
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
What leads me through the hardships of entrepreneurship is knowing the impact that can be made if I work more to expand my nonprofit’s programs.
CHALLENGES — Entrepreneurship is very challenging. We each have our own coping mechanism. Mine is humor. What is yours? Can you share a story?
My main coping mechanism is staying up late or waking up early to get it done. Sometimes it becomes hard to balance cross country, schoolwork, and my nonprofit, but I know that if I organize my time, it is not too bad.
INSPIRATION — Is there an entrepreneurial book or podcast that inspires you that you would like to share with our readers?
I love going to the score.org website and reading what is there.
Also, this is probably not helpful to most people, but when I was starting my nonprofit, I bought a Nolo self-help book which helped me figure everything out.
Reach out to Juliette at Computing Minds.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.