Biosketch: Yasmeen is a Stanford sophomore from Bahrain majoring in computer science. She is passionate about changing inequalities in education, gender and race through the intersection of entrepreneurship and technology. She will be interning at Microsoft this summer, working as a Software Engineer and Program Manager on OneDrive. She has had exposure to several different enterprises including start-ups, research, marketing, consulting, engineering and music production. In her free time, she enjoys songwriting, singing, playing the guitar and longboarding.
As I have been going around trying to promote my book and make it accessible to as many people as possible, I ran into this nineteen-year-old girl named Yasmeen Jassim. She’s had an amazing journey of persistence and she fills me with hope! Now let me tell you her story. She is a Stanford sophomore from Bahrain majoring in Computer Science. Growing up, she always knew she wanted to make a difference in the world and realized that getting into a top university would be her ticket to a world of opportunities. So for her entire high school career, she worked from the minute she woke up until the moment she slept.
From balancing academics and extracurriculars to starting her own side projects and having leadership roles in several different organizations, she did everything she could to get to where she is today. She won the Crown Prince International Scholarship which is a fully-funded scholarship given to 10 outstanding Bahraini secondary school students that fund their education from the undergraduate to Ph.D. level. Despite being told that she shouldn’t dream so big in a male-dominated field like STEM, she ignored all the negative energy and stayed relentless and persistent. She is currently at Stanford on a full ride making her dreams a reality. She persisted.
She will be interning at a top tech company in the summer of 2018 and I want to talk about how she got this internship. Apparently, a lot of Stanford students love to intern at this company because they have an amazing, selective internship program that leads to huge prospects for career growth. They get thousands of applications through their website and after applying very early, Yasmeen knew her resume might be hidden in the thousands of other applications. The moment she found out that this dude from the company was coming over to speak at Stanford she got on a mission. She researched this dude, what he liked and what he didn’t and she set off to make a good impression. When she got to the session it was full and there were tons of students trying to get in. The usher at the door yelled that the room was full and closed the doors but Yasmeen waited.
Out of nowhere, the usher opened the door and said they had place for one more person. Yasmeen, who was further away from the door raised her hand and started charging towards to door. Luckily for her, the woman grabbed her arm and pushed her into the session. Once she got there she strategized as to how to talk to the dude and so when she had a moment with him she introduced herself and handed him her resume. With so many other people in the room, she barely got a word in but that didn’t deter her. She knew there was a tech fair the next day and this dude would be there. So she got there early only to find a super long line for this tech company’s booth. A lot of students gave up and left but she persisted. She told herself that no matter what she was not walking away without getting the attention of the dude and a foot in the door. So she waited and waited. Finally, she got to the head of the line and she introduced herself again and jumped into a pitch. She talked about how she wanted to make a difference in the world and linked that back to the company’s values. She talked about wanting a chance. He looked at her and he said, “Are you the same girl from yesterday?” and she said, “Yes” and he said, “You are very persistent, I like you.” So he marked her resume and told her to keep an eye on her inbox. Lo and behold she had an email for a first round interview the next day.
After doing well, she was flown out to the company’s headquarters for grueling final round technical interviews and got the internship offer the following week. She will be working as a Software Engineer and PM on a product used by millions of people every day. However, after she got the internship some people made snarky comments, saying she got the offer because she is a girl. But the night when she was telling me her internship story I saw so much pride in her eyes. She brushed off stupid comments like “you got this offer because you are a girl”, picked herself up and is persisting even as we speak. So there you go, I want to bring out stories of persistence to you to tell you that it is possible to succeed no matter who you are or what challenges you may have or what people may tell you.
One final thing I will mention is there isn’t one road of persistence that leads to success. My book tells the stories of persistent and successful women who have top engineering pedigrees. My book also tells the story of persistent and successful women who have only bachelors degrees from lower-tier schools. One woman is a top tech leader and she doesn’t even have a technical degree. So though there isn’t one road to success, just persist like the 19 women in the book and believe that you can also be successful.