by Elise Goitia '18
The documentary film She Started It, co-directed by Knox aluma Insiyah Saeed '03 and Nora Poggi, was screened for the Knox community as a kick-off for Fall Institute Day.
The film follows five trailblazing young women, from San Francisco to Vietnam, as they compete in the male-dominated entrepreneurial world of high tech startups.
Akashi Perera '20, who attended the screening, has always wanted a career in business, but the extent of female underrepresentation in entrepreneurship worried her. She said that She Started It taught her "the fear of failing isn't worth giving up your passion."
"It was very inspiring to see young female entrepreneurs creating their own companies and bravely facing the curveballs thrown at them," said Perera. "I was also inspired by the fact that the filmmaker was a Knox alumna."
"I realized how important it is to pursue my dream of being a role model for future generations of female entrepreneurs, just as these amazing women in this film were to me," she added.
The film has won multiple awards, including being an Official Selection in the 2016 Savannah Film Festival, the 2016 New Hope Film Festival, and The Boston Globe's 2016 GlobedDocs Film Festival.
Kayti Everette ‘20 said that the message of the film was "incredible." As a first-generation college student, she commented that her family has worked hard to help her pursue a career in the male-dominated field of supply chain management and logistics.
"It was really impactful to not only see women being successful in male-dominated fields, but also see women my age or even younger creating, managing, and selling their own business, products, and companies in spite of being in such a white male-centric field," she said.
"I think that this film reaffirmed how important it is to validate and support the women in my life, especially those pursuing careers in male-dominated areas, like computer science and business marketing," Everette added.
Along with being a journalist and documentary producer, Saeed is also an award-winning writer, having been published in the Huffington Post, The New York Sun, The Wall Street Journal, Women 2.0, and other tech blogs.
Saeed answered questions after the film. She advised students to apply for scholarships such as Richter grants, and take advantage of the opportunities Knox offers.
"While you're at a school like Knox, you learn a lot about these [entrepreneurial] things. It's up to you to apply that to your life," said Saeed.
Photo: Still image from the documentary She Started It.