Right when we thought that our stay in New York City couldn’t be better, in May 2016 we had the chance to meet and discuss with Alysia Silberg. Alysia is the kind of person that brightens up everyone’s mood as soon as she enters the room. Highly accomplished but at the same time passionate, down-to-earth and generous, Alysia’s experiences inspired us a lot, so we decided to share her fascinating story with the Code it Like a Girl community.
Born and raised in South Africa, Alysia has lived in Canada and the UK but is currently based in New York, USA. She has a mathematics background and is the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer at Acceleforce. As a successful female entrepreneur in technology, she has been awarded as a UN Global Champion, one of the three Most Inspiring Women in IT in the UK and a IGD Jennifer Potter Emerging Global Leader Fellow, too. As if those weren’t enough to fill her day, she hosts regular webinars on entrepreneurship while also building a startup fund.
In the following interview that took place in her office, Alysia offered us sincere insights about entrepreneurship, her different roles, mentoring, life in the US, women’s empowerment and many more. We hope that she will exhilarate you towards achieving your goals, just as she did to us!
Most memorable quotes
On her Fireside Chats: “I got to somehow bring all these people on this journey with me but they can’t all physically come, so how do you kind of help contribute to make things better, but at the same time do it on a scale where multiple people are benefiting from your ecosystem? […] Ultimately, our ecosystem is as strong as we make it.”
Ultimately, our ecosystem is as strong as we make it.
On role models: “I never realised what it meant when a couple sacrificed their evenings so that they could help teach you maths. […] It takes going full circle for you to realise the sacrifices other people made to give you a fighting chance. […] I went from being somebody that was focused on myself to how can I leverage my own skills to help other people. And there is no better feeling in the world.”
On difficulties: “I know I have never been the smartest person in the room and often I have to work really really hard. I think that’s why I am very empathetic to other people’s difficulties. Because being an entrepreneur is hard. Being a woman who wants to make something of herself is hard.”
On life in the US: “The US’ greatest export is entrepreneurship. There are so many opportunities here. I never experienced what an amazing thing being an entrepreneur is until I came here to the US. Everything you need is at your disposal and all you have to do is say “I’m here, I’m ready and I want to go for it”. I think the hardest part is put yourself out there. […] I love the fact that in the US people don’t apologise for their ambition. Whatever it is you want to be, there will be people saying to you “Go for it. Be unstoppable.”. You will find this tribe of people telling you “Let’s do this thing”.”
I love the fact that in the US people don’t apologise for their ambition. Whatever it is you want to be, there will be people saying to you “Go for it. Be unstoppable.”. You will find this tribe of people telling you “Let’s do this thing”.
On women in tech: “There are some brilliant things happening in terms of bringing more women into technology, but I think we have a long way to go. I think it begins with each one of us. […] We need to keep encouraging young women to take risks.”
On learning: “Last year I decided I’d read 500 books in one year. I haven’t told anyone but I did it. […] Immerse yourself in learning. Absorb everything you can around you.”
Her favourite one: The Greatest Minds and Ideas of All Time – Will Durant
On the future of technology: “I have a weakness for Singularity University. They are doing ground breaking stuff. For me they represent the future. Sign up for the newsletter, you won’t regret it! It challenges your mind.”
Alysia, we feel really grateful for getting to meet you! Thank you very much for sharing all of this wisdom with us!