i3 - March/April 2018 - 9

Women In Tech

The jobs of the future
are going to be technology jobs.
Q What lessons have

I N N OVATO R

Dr. Ximena
Hartsock
-COO and President of Phone2Action

Mobile
Advocacy

P

ioneer in advocacy, Dr. Ximena Hartsock, COO and
president of Phone2Action co-founded the venturebacked, civic engagement technology company as a platform to bring people and lawmakers together. Born in
Santiago, Chile, Ximena began her career as a teacher, a principal
and an assistant school superintendent and was on the executive
cabinet of former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Greg Kahn

Q Why did you start Phone2Action?
A About five years ago I was traveling across the country and

I realized that advocacy is really hard to do on the ground. I saw
there was opportunity with smartphones and technologies that
would allow us to create a platform to connect people with their
lawmakers at every level and do it like a matching system. The idea
is to empower people to share their opinions about public policy
and to connect with lawmakers that have an impact on policy.

C TA . t e c h / i 3

you learned?
A I started my career as an
educator. I was a teacher, a school
principal and then an assistant
superintendent of a school. Then
I completely transitioned to
technology. Lots of people told
me I was crazy to quit my cozy
government job. I moved across
the country to work in a think
tank first and then founded
Phone2Action. What I learned is
you can transition a career at
any age and from any background, so not thinking that you
need a technology degree to
be successful in technology is
the number one lesson. And the
second lesson is that resilience
is fundamental.

Q How can you stop your ego
getting in the way?

A So often, especially when we

are young, receiving feedback
is difficult. We tend to take
any feedback that we get in
a negative way and as criticism.
The most important lesson is to
put the ego on the side, take
the feedback as a gift and utilize
it to continue growing.

Q What advice would you give
other entrepreneurs?

A Anyone can be an entrepre-

neur. The biggest mistake that
we make is to say, "This is such
a good technology, I want to do
the same thing." What we should
do is look at the expertise that we
have and use the technologies
that are available out there as an
amplifier. If you look at Lyft, they

were not planning on building
a company but they had an idea
and built those solutions without
being afraid and asking for
permission. If you have an idea
and a level of expertise of any
type, use it to create something
new. And execution is key. Ideas
are not enough.

Q Do you have an intern program?
A We have a Fellowship program
that is an apprentice program.
People that come to us are
interested in social good and
social justice and also technology.
We had four high schoolers that
built an artificial intelligence tool
to read sentiment analysis on
politics that we just launched at
CES. But the program really is
a platform, not just for college
students, but for anyone that
wants to transition into technology - because civic technology
and open government are new
fields that did not exist five years
ago. The jobs of the future are
going to be technology jobs.

Q What is the Good Tech Summit?
A The Good Tech Summit is an
annual conference held in
Washington, DC that we launched
last year. It is focused on showcasing the power of technology for
social good. We had speakers like
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder
of Apple; the head of marketing for
Facebook; the founder of VOX
Media; former Maryland Governor
Martin O'Malley; and people that
are innovators and creators that
are using tech to make a difference
in the world.

Q What was compelling at CES?
A I loved to see so many women founders at Eureka Park. That is

exciting. Number two, I love the diversity that exists there. There are
150 countries exhibiting at CES. And lastly, new technologies like
artificial intelligence and automation are being used in a variety of
ways ranging from self-driving cars to smart homes.

MARCH/APRIL 2018

9


https://phone2action.com/ http://www.CTA.tech

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - March/April 2018

Contents
i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover1
i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover2
i3 - March/April 2018 - Contents
i3 - March/April 2018 - 2
i3 - March/April 2018 - 3
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i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover3
i3 - March/April 2018 - Cover4
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