I first came across Inês’ wonderful work two years ago, while researching girl empowerment communities for my documentary project The Illusionists (for which Inês eventually became an ally, supporter and sponsor).
I was instantly captivated by Inês’ vision, drive, determination, and altruism. Her enterprise 7Wonderlicious is focused on overturning gender stereotypes, empowering girls to achieve their full potential: the site contains a multitude of resources for girls and parents alike and is constantly updated with inspiring blog posts.
Inês’ latest initiative is “A Chain of Girl Goodness“: she aims to create a values-driven online marketplace – similar to Etsy.com – focused on empowering products for girls. In order to create a prototype for this online platform, Inês is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Help make it happen here: www.indiegogo.com/GirlPower.
What is your name, age, and location?
Inês Almeida, 38 years old, Sydney Australia.
What is your profession?
I am a Business Leader and Entrepreneur; my areas of expertise include business strategy, marketing, product design and development where Software is the enabler, leadership, organizational design, and change management.
What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?
I have a Masters Degree in Computer Science Engineering. I have also studied performing arts, psychology and leadership.
What was your first job?
I started my career as a Software Developer working for an IT consulting firm called America Management Systems (AMS) in Lisbon, Portugal. My first assignment was supporting a Customer Care and Billing System for a Portuguese Telco, the system was written in Cobol, an old programming language. One year later I had the opportunity to be assigned to another Telco Project in Dusseldorf, Germany where I became a C++ Developer and soon after a Technical Leader.
The project included 400 expats from all over the world; I had the chance to expand my understanding of the different cultures and acquired a huge desire to travel. Since then I have lived in four different countries and have been constantly travelling the world on business and for fun.
Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?
A few years ago a relationship that was not right for me ended in the midst of a lot of pain and suffering. I was no longer able to see a little girl that was part of my life since she was two years old. To ease my pain I decided, right then and there, to build a legacy that would not only serve her but many other little girls around the world.
I founded 7Wonderlicious a Business and Community that was created with one single purpose, to help reduce all threats to girlhood that crush our girls’ true nature and potential. 7Wonderlicious focuses on overturning the gender stereotypes that make girls obsess with body image, keep girls from taking leadership roles, that limit girls’ interests in sciences and math and cause them to feel self-aware when playing sports.
This project focuses on activism, literacy and on creating products for girls that counter the gender stereotypes that are so prevalent in our society.
Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?
Recently I decided to expand the focus of my work from one single product business and create a values-driven online marketplace that will bring together all pro-girl businesses from all over the world, this project is called A Chain Of Girl Goodness.
I am so excited with the impact that this project will have, that I have decided to put my corporate career on hold and I have left my day job working as Global Head of Strategic Marketing for a wonderful IT Consulting Company called ThoughtWorks to focus on this initiative full time.
The Project was released only a few weeks ago and it is already getting a huge amount of support from Experts, Not For Profits, and Businesses and from the 7Wonderlicious Tribe.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?
I cannot recall one specific incident per se, but I can talk about how my career is being guided in a wonderful new direction because I am a woman.
I believe this is a wonderful time to be a woman as we are in the tipping point of a huge revolution caused by two main factors: the rise in economic power for the women in the western world, the power of social media and internet, connecting us all, allowing us to exchange ideas as well as engage in organized activism at a global scale.
We have a lot of work to do to ensure that the next generations of women attain equal rights and opportunities all over the world. Many of us now have the confidence and the access to the right tools to finally make it happen.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?
I have personally been affected by the stereotype threat for most of my life, and although I have had a very successful and fulfilling career, there have been many situations where I have struggled to express my own point of view in decisive meetings or in environments where I was clearly the odd one out. Some time ago I made a promise to myself that I would push myself to speak up when it is most difficult and uncomfortable, it takes practice and courage to do so but I am enjoying every moment of it.
Please say a few words about your experience with the work-life balance.
When you love what you do and do what you love there is no distinction between life and work. I have a meaningful and fulfilled life doing what I love from the moment I wake up in the morning until the time I go to bed at night.
Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?
If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?
Focus on learning and adding value, and self-belief will pour into you and fill you up with all that you need to make a positive impact in the world. See each obstacle as an opportunity to learn and step up your game. Surround yourself with likeminded peers that challenge you and inspire you. Have the courage to leave behind what no longer serves you. Don’t attempt to be anyone other than yourself, you are awesome and don’t let others tell you otherwise.
7Wonderlicious on Facebook
Follow Ines on Twitter @GirlEmpowerment
– Interview by Elena Rossini