For this spotlight, we sat down with our co-president for 2015-2016, Priyanka Jain. Priyanka is a senior majoring in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), has extensive experience in Silicon Valley’s startup atmosphere as a Mayfield Fellow and IBM Watson intern, and has worked with Stanford Venture Capital Club. In addition, Priyanka has worked extensively to promote women's empowerment in many ways, including being a spokesperson for the United Nations Foundation Girl Up Youth Campaign, Kairos Society Regional Founder, TEDx speaker, and founder of the Women's Initiative at Questbridge, among others. You can read more about her accomplishments here.
Along with her fellow co-presidents, Priyanka has also overseen exciting changes and major growth for SWIB this year.
Thinking back a few years, what led you to join SWIB?
I was so excited about joining SWIB because of the opportunities to join a strong community of amazing women and learn from women leaders in industry. Since then, SWIB has become one of the most integral parts of my Stanford career. It has provided me with a diverse community of ambitious women, exposed me to a wide variety of potential careers, and showed me how to be an effective leader.
What are some unconventional skills that you've gained from SWIB?
SWIB has taught me so much about professional communication -- from interviews, to public speaking, to even writing emails. I find myself helping my friends with emails all the time -- it's surprisingly a really valuable skill!
What's changed most about you since your earlier years at Stanford?
I have grown a lot throughout my four years at Stanford and can credit a lot of my personal and professional development to SWIB. I have become much more confident about my skills and interests and am excited to apply everything I've learned to my first full time job!
Advice for SWIB interns and underclassmen?
Keep an open mind and don't be afraid to take risks. While many people will probably tell you to follow a conventional educational and career path, you have so much to gain from breaking the mold and following your individual interests. Take advantage of your internships and use your experiences to get a better sense of what you're looking for in your career. Think about what type of environment you enjoy in terms of size of the company, your role, and the general industry.
What was your personal journey in choosing your major?
I have always been passionate about the intersection of technology and social impact, so STS was the perfect major for me to explore how I could use technology to help people. I loved that I was able to take classes across departments and spend time with students in different majors.
How did you choose your industry of choice?
I was drawn to technology startups because I think they have the highest potential to impact people's lives all over the world. I would love to focus on harnessing the power of technology to empower women, both here in Silicon Valley and across the world in developing countries.
Most exciting thing in SWIB's future?
I am most excited about sustainably building the Society of Women Leaders. The mission of the initiative is to connect the leadership teams from the top schools' women in business groups across the country. I hope that the new initiative facilitates meaningful relationships between the next generation of women leaders.