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Catching up with Alexandra Tavasoli

May 28, 2019 By: Barry Chong

This post is also available in: Français (French)

Have you read any interesting books or literature lately to help you on your entrepreneurial journey?
I’m currently reading The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy, by Mervin King. I’ve often struggled to learn finance, but King lays out the history of how the financial sector developed over time, and helps give context to the way our system works now. The book has helped me navigate the financial challenges involved with starting a new company.

What will you be focusing on achieving in the next three months?
I’ll be wrapping up my PhD while advancing my company to the next technology readiness level.

Any words of wisdom for other women in STEM?
First, complete tasks because you think they will help you achieve your goals, and because they interest you. I’ve faced a lot of challenges over the years, yet, I’m now on the cusp of completing a PhD in engineering. I strongly think that if women are going to lead the cleantech movement — a world run by male-dominated industries — we’re going to have to overcome negative feedback and start to become intellectually independent risk-takers.

Second, understand things on your own terms — ask and push. One thing I’ve learned during my doctoral studies is the difference between rigorously understanding a topic, and just memorizing the right jargon. It’s pretty easy to tell if someone knows what they are talking about when pushed to define their terms or explain their logic. Being in STEM, you definitely have the intellectual capacity to learn anything. If someone can’t teach you something or help you understand, you’re probably working with the wrong people.