Guest Speaker: Victoria Espinel, President and CEO of

On August 1st Victoria Espinel, president of, visited the classroom to talk about her career path and offer advice on how to succeed when you’re the only woman in the room. Espinel, who is also the president and CEO of BSA | The Software Alliance, has been a sponsor of Girls Who Code since the DC summer immersion program launched in 2015. During her talk with the girls, Espinel drew guidance from her experience as a trade negotiator for the USTR and starting a new office in the White House. She encouraged the girls to be confident, even when in a room full of men. “If I’m the only woman in a room, I deliberately try to speak,” said Espinel. The students were particularly curious about her position in the Obama administration, even asking her what the former president was like. “I definitely have the funniest, strangest stories from that part of my life,” Espinel told them, adding, “The job that I have today is amazing.” Above all, she advised the girls to be authentic. “Know yourself, know your style,” said Espinel. “Don’t try to imitate others, because unless it’s who you really are, it won’t work.”

The girls enjoyed hearing advice from someone with such a diverse career path. “She was really interesting because she’s had a lot of experience in the government, in the White House, and negotiating,” said Yun. Several of the students were happy to meet the woman who led to sponsor their classroom. “I thought [Victoria] was awesome,” Grace said. “I was happy that she came because I enjoy this program…and I enjoy all the field trips that we get to have, and the people we get to meet. We are really grateful, so thank you for sponsoring us!”