Name: Sarah Greisdorf
Location: Boston, MA
Education: Majored in Computer Science at Boston University, Graduated May 2020
How did you determine what you wanted to study in college?
When I was in eighth grade I attended a presentation by a woman who worked at Google. I was immediately hooked by the idea of building something that millions of people could end up using. I knew Google was a tech company so I figured I needed to know how to code. I signed up for a programming class my freshman year of high school and fell in love with solving problems using technology. From that point, I knew I wanted to study computer science in college.
What advice do you have for college women looking to make the most of their time OUT of class/in extracurriculars?
I am a firm believer that a lot of learning in college happens outside of the classroom. That being said, college is the first real chance you have to learn how to balance your time and really pour yourself into the things you love. If you live in a city, I would highly recommend researching different groups and organizations that exist in your city and try to get off campus as much as possible. Making those connections with people in the industry you are interested in while you’re still in college will be immensely beneficial to your career long-term. I’d also find one or two clubs you’re really passionate about and dedicate yourself to them in a meaningful way. Learning the intricacies of how an organization works and having to navigate problems to keep things smoothly is great practice for life after college so take on leadership positions if you can and really strive to make the most of your time bringing those groups to life.
How do you suggest balancing coursework and ECs?
I think it’s important to prioritize which extracurriculars you are going to dedicate yourself to and not pick too many. I also think doing extracurriculars with people that are also in your classes will allow you to develop deeper relationships. That way whether you are working on homework together or planning a club event, that sense of camaraderie is there.
Walk us through post-college your initial job search (or founder’s story). What worked for you? What did not?
I graduated college during COVID-19 in May 2020 and immediately launched into running my company full-time. What made this transition a little bit easier was having a set place to work and a set place to relax. I converted half of my family home attic into my office and made a point to go up there to work and then use my room and the rest of the house for family and relaxation time. Being able to walk away from the work kept me from getting too burnt out.
How did the idea for Holdette develop?
I actually had the idea while I was taking a shower my senior year of high school. I realized that every time I left the house I had to carry my phone, keys, and wallet in my hands or a purse, and none of my male friends ever had to do that. For me, it was always a feminist issue as much as a functionality issue. I knew I wanted to do something about it pretty quickly.
What’s on the horizon for women’s workwear?
I think we’re likely to continue to see a lot of emphasis on monochrome and sets. We’ve seen this with sweatsuit sets during the pandemic and I think the same principles will apply to workwear post-pandemic as well.
Where do you hope to see Holdette in, say, 3-5 years?
I’m hoping to be a go-to resource and community for women graduating college and seeking out a community. I’m excited about what support can look like for the next generation of women entering the workforce and I think we’re really well-positioned to be that go-to brand.
Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?
Mentors have been incredibly vital to my story. I have been fortunate enough to connect with many founders and other industry experts who have been generous in helping me get Holdette off the ground. I definitely look to other female founders for inspiration and I love to read memoirs by women to learn more about how they’ve made decisions on how to live out their lives.
What does collaboration over competition mean to you?
Throughout my time founding Holdette I’ve always offered up a lot of information about our process, the tools that have helped me, and how I’ve made the choices I’ve made. I think we all benefit from supporting one another and I truly believe that if your business succeeds or my business succeeds we’ll be able to use that success to support and raise up one another even further. We all rise together.
Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education and career goals?
Make sure from day one that the choices you are making are for yourself and for yourself only. If you are doing things to please or impress others you will become burnt out by it. Find something that you love and pursue it with all your energy.
If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?