Lorena Soriano | STEMpreneur
Hi everyone! It's Wednesday which means its time for another inspiring STEM story. Today's blog post is dedicated to Lorena Soriano - aka @girlchangetheworld.
Lorena (She/Her) is a Forbes 30 under 30 Fellow, Founder of Every.1, Isoline Consulting and Co-Founder/CEO of Global Girls Give. Lorena is a firm believer in "following your dreams and passions", meaning she left corporate America to pursue her dream of attaining a STEM degree. Lorena has since combined STEM and business and is living her dream of making STEM more inclusion.
In her free time, Lorena loves to explore Seattle or discuss space travel with her rocket scientist husband. She also loves hot pilates and anything that helps her relax after a busy workweek.
After chatting with Lorena a couple of weeks ago and hearing her story firsthand I can not wait to share it with you guys!
Tell me a bit about your STEM journey
I’ve learned to love and embrace my unorthodox STEM journey. I was born in Mexico and at the age of two, my family immigrated to the United States. Growing up I wanted to be a scientist and doctor but as time passed by I didn’t think this dream was possible because I hadn’t seen anyone in those positions who looked like me. I ended up pursuing a business degree which seemed more achievable and “normal” at the time. My personality and passion for wanting to help others allowed me to climb the corporate ladder in multiple Fortune 500 companies which provided me top training. After having a successful career I asked myself if this is what the rest of my life looked like. I genuinely wanted to help others and that’s when I decided to leave corporate America to study STEM and become a doctor.
While in school I volunteered at a local hospital and after observing the behind the scenes, I realized that I really didn’t want to be a doctor. After spending multiple hours in the labs at school I learned that I also didn’t want to be behind the lab bench. I knew three things: that I wanted to help people, I loved STEM and business, and that there were others who had the same experience when considering a STEM degree.
After graduation, I moved to Seattle which is where I accidentally started Global Girls Give. I say accidentally because it was never part of my plan to start a non-profit. With the help of my best friend, we grew this to a team of 25 women in 7+ time zones. The work of Global Girls Give enabled me to become a Forbes30 Fellow which, after attending the conference, allowed me to believe in myself as an entrepreneur.
Isoline Consulting came into being because I wanted to combine my passions of STEM and Business. I used my background to advise science & tech businesses on sales and development. Despite all that, I still felt like I wasn’t giving enough back and wasn’t addressing the real problem which is the lack of diversity in STEM. This led me to start EVERY.1 a platform for women of color in STEM. We imagine a world where every little girl and woman of color can pursue her wildest dreams and change the world through STEM. I say that I’ve learned to love and embrace my STEM journey because if all of the bumps on the road hadn’t happened I don't think I would be here.
What gets you out of bed every morning?
The chance to make the world a better place. I live in Seattle and the gloom some days makes it hard to get out of bed. My husband can confirm I’m an absolute morning person. Typically awake long before him, I’ve worked through strategies and have presented them 3-4 times in my head so when he “wakes up” I am already 5 sentences into the second pitch before he can wipe sleep from his eyes. He once counted how many topics I went through in the first 10 minutes of his morning - the answer was 12.
I believe that we all have the opportunity to change the world by working on our passions. For me it’s helping to make STEM more accessible to all.
What's the greatest challenge you've had to overcome?
There have been so many, I like to joke and say that passing quantum chemistry was one of the hardest things I’ve done but my greatest challenge that I’ve overcome was pushing past the fear of failing. I’ve felt this fear my entire life and it has limited me on multiple occasions. Eventually, I would push past it but couldn’t move forward with anything until I felt it was 110% ready. Ironically I was able to overcome my fear of failing by replacing it with an even bigger fear: the fear of settling. Living a life full of regrets doesn’t sit right with me and this new “fear” gets me out of my comfort zones, and moving forward.
What BIG change would you love to see in the STEM field over the next couple of years?
I would love for diversity to not be an issue and for every product or service created to be designed and built with the entire population in mind.
I would also love to see more space exploration and humans in space. Every year I find myself dreaming a little bigger and I would love for it to be possible to live in space during my lifetime.
If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Dream big, take a breath, now go dream a little bigger. It’s ok to dream big, once you start to feel butterflies and rainbows head to a quiet place and start working backwards. Trust your gut and know that when you share your dreams with others a couple of things will happen:
You will start to believe it
Others will work with you to make them happen
Some people will think you’re crazy
Your dream may change (and that’s ok)
You will accomplish your dream and move on to the next one
To finish I want to say a huge thank you to Lorena for taking time out of her busy schedule to share her amazing story with us.
If you haven't already, please take a look at Every.1. Lorena has created an amazing community and platform for women of color in STEM.