Reshma Saujani can check some serious accomplishments off her to-do list: she was previously the Deputy Public Advocate of New York City and the first Indian-American woman to run for Congress.
One thing Saujani is not: A coder. But with women representing less than 20% of those graduating from college with computer science degrees, she saw that young women could do better than the three-to-one gender gap in computer science fields. She started Girls Who Code in 2012 to change that. There are now eight Girls Who Code programs in five cities (New York, San Francisco, Detroit, San Jose, and Davis, Calif.), with more set for next year.
Her favorite productivity tool? Jotting everything down, especially in journaling and writing out a daily to-do list. “What I want to accomplish this week, when do I want to get it done, how do I want to get it done … I just check them off.”
From jotting musings in a bedside notebook to ideas for her new book, Women Who Don’t Wait In Line, she’s always putting her thoughts to paper.
But her greatest inspiration, she says, are the girls. “I think that it is the most inspiring thing to watch 15 and 16 year old girls kind of attack a problem from a completely different perspective, and to come up with solutions that we would never think of,” Saujani says. “Being around young people and the way their minds work, the fact that they’re so free, so open, they’re so unrestricted … [it’s] incredibly powerful to watch and to be a part of.”