GWC Summer Speaker Series ft. Yara Shahidi

“The least we can do is take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others to the best of our ability.”

Our Summer Speaker Series brings leaders and activists together with our CEO and Founder Reshma Saujani to have conversations about bravery, activism, and tech, broadcasted exclusively to our girls.

We’re so grateful to Yara Shahidi for joining this Summer Speaker Series. Check out more of what we learned from her conversation with Reshma.


Reshma kicked off her conversation with Yara with one of our favorite questions — where did you find the strength to do brave things, to lead? Obviously, Yara is an amazing leader and the same age as so many of our GWC alumni. What she said really resonated with us — that she is in a constant state of learning, and that helps with bravery and leading. Yara said, “I’m willing to speak whatever my truth is and know that my truth can change and alter.” She continued, “ You’re not going to please everybody, but the important thing is to stand up for what you believe in.” We couldn’t agree more.


Yara is the founder of an organization called We Vote Next, an initiative to drive voter engagement among young people. When Reshma asked Yara why she was so passionate about voter engagement, Yara said, “ Voting has always been important to me because it was an intersection of all the topics we care about.” It’s where environmental rights meets healthcare rights meets economic rights meets reproductive rights. By being an advocate for voting rights, Yara’s able to really engage on all these issues at once.

When asked what kind of app shewould build, and what problem it would solve, Yara said she’d build a sort of TaskRabbit for voting. So often, she says, people are unable to vote because they can’t take time off of their hourly jobs to do so. As a result, we’re losing the voices and votes of people who are deeply impacted by policies they aren’t able to have a say in. We couldn’t agree more—sign us up!


One of our girls asked, “how do you keep positive in the face of challenges?” We loved this question because it’s something we all grapple with, especially now during this pandemic. Yara said simply, revel in what makes you happy. For her, that’s music. She said, “sometimes the world can make you feel bad about being happy. But the least we can do is take care of ourselves, to be able to take care of others to the best of our ability.” Yes. A million times YES.

Another of our girls asked, “what advice do you have for girls who want to go into careers, like tech, that aren’t diverse?” Yara said (like we always say!), find anetwork, a community, to support you along the way. And we hope, for you, that network is Girls Who Code.

— —

Huge thanks to Yara, and of course, to Reshma for having this conversation!

The Girls Who Code Summer Speaker Series is a set of conversations between Girls Who Code Founder and CEO Reshma Saujani and leaders and activists broadcasted exclusively to girls enrolled in our Virtual Summer Immersion Program. Girls have the opportunity to listen in to a fireside chat and then to ask their own questions about bravery, leadership, and tech. To find out more, read our press release here.

We are Girls Who Code & together we are closing the gender gap in tech! #BeAGirlWhoCodes