Caden Lorenzini was an intern for the Female Founders Alliance. She is currently studying Political Science and Sociology at Villanova University.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington where I grew up with my parents Robin and Court and my two sisters, Sierra and Tressa. Growing up in a household of mostly women (even our dogs were girls), I never saw my gender as a hindrance or something that could create unforeseen barriers for me; in my mind, the sky was the limit! And growing up in a liberal bubble like Seattle, that was fairly true. It wasn’t until I left Seattle after my Sophomore year of high school to attend a small boarding school in the upper northwest corner of Montana that I truly began to realize there are still many places in the United States where women are not treated with the same respect nor given the same opportunities as men (white men in particular). The results of the 2016 election further confirmed this reality as well. Combating prejudice and sexism can be a scary, overwhelming task, but companies like FFA are doing that work in a way that is inspiring and uplifting to everyone involved. Their work is truly creating a better, more equal and just world, and I am honored to be a part of it.
How was your life impacted by COVID-19?
Before COVID, my original plan was to spend the summer in New Mexico doing immigration and border community research with The University of Texas at El Paso. After the program was canceled and travel restrictions were put in place, I struggled to find another opportunity that I was passionate about. When I found FFA, I was immediately moved by their mission of empowering women and non-binary founders in the startup world. I got on a call with Rohre, the COO, in mid-April, and my beliefs about FFA were confirmed; their mission, as well as their values and work ethic, lined up with mine perfectly. These last six months have bee n a whirlwind, but I’m incredibly grateful that my journey led me to FFA and my current position.
Tell us about the company you are interning for and what have you been working on.
I am interning for the Female Founders Alliance. I am currently in charge of vetting, admitting and contacting all the applicants to our Founder Community, running all of our social media accounts, and spreading awareness, doing PR outreach, and reviewing nominations for our big event, The Champion Awards, which is going to be held virtually on August 20!
Has there been a certain project or experience during your internship that you would like to share?
In January, FFA merged with another startup incubator in New York called Monarq. Vetting the companies was an important but lengthy process that was on the back burner until I joined FFA in May. I was in charge of researching and vetting a list of 1600 contacts, some with no more information than an email and a first name, to see if they were eligible to join our network. In total, the process took me 5 weeks, but it was an amazing experience. I got to learn more about the startup world as well as hundreds of amazing companies founded by women that are changing the world. It was an extremely rewarding process.
What are some goals for a future career?
Ideally, I want to work for companies/non-profits/NGO’s that are working to help underrepresented and disadvantaged communities around the world. I have been given an immense amount of privilege and numerous advantages in my life, and I want to do what I can to use these advantages to uplift others and amplify the messages of those who often go unheard. My plan is to go into the Peace Corps after college, and then possibly law school.
Who are your role models/ inspires you? Why?
My grandmother is a huge inspiration to me. In her later twenties, she went back to school to get a degree in Linguistics while raising four children as a single mother. She then became one of the first female employees at IBM and then Microsoft (which at that point was a small startup) and helped to write the Spell Check program for Microsoft Word, something that is still in use all over the world today. Last year, she was hired again by Microsoft to do part-time freelance work reviewing their linguistic software….at 81 years old. She is the most humble, loving, open-hearted person I know, and has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders.
What do you consider your superpower?
I think my superpower is my ability to connect with others. I’m a firm believer that you cannot grow as a person without pushing yourself to meet people who have different backgrounds, ideologies, and lifestyles than you. I genuinely love meeting new people and listening to their perspectives on things, I always come out the other side a more educated, understanding, tolerant person.