Dr. Rosanna Garcia is the CEO and co-founder of Vijilent, a company that delivers intelligent online people search and social media discovery for the legal industry.
Dr. Garcia has an impressive academic background, serving as a Professor of Marketing & Innovation at NC State where she was the Chancellor’s Faculty of Excellence in Innovation & Design, Faculty Director of Business Sustainability Collaborative, and Co-founder of the Association of Women Entrepreneurs at NC State.
I had a chance to sit down with her before her and her family move to Denver, CO.
How are you working to change the world?
Primarily, through my work with Vijilent. I’m working to redefine what success looks like in high tech. I’ve had to overcome subtle bias throughout the process of getting this venture launched.
My vision is that bias could be something that could become inherently positive. I think that all of these things that we subconsciously assume are negative, are actually strengths.
In my case, I’m an older woman, with a great deal of experience. I have an academic background, which means I bring a great deal of expertise and rigor to the work I do. Unfortunately, some investors don’t see these traits as a positive.
I hope to change this paradigm.
What inspired you to make a difference?
The person that gave me the permission to do this was my grandmother. She was a woman’s liber and a feisty lady. She worked and did things because she wanted to do them.
For example, she just walked out of a job because they hired a man to do the same thing as her. She found out they were paying him more and when she asked why, they said ‘he has a family.’ Well, so did she.
She quit the job that day.
Also, at one point her husband didn’t want to move. She forced his hand by going to visit her sister. While out of town, she put $50 down on the house and that persuaded him to move. That’s where she lived for 50 years.
She worked for Stanford University for a long time in the biology lab. She only had a 3rd grade education and yet she worked there for 20 years.
She gave me permission to see no barriers. She taught me that you are your own greatest barrier.
What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to be successful in making a difference?
The biggest obstacle I’m finding today is implicit bias.
What advice do you have for people that want to change the world?
Find a support system. It’s ok to ask for help. My husband has been a major advocate, friend, and collaborator as well as many friends and colleagues throughout my life.
To learn more, check out the Vijilent website.