Featured Profile: Grace Ewura-Esi Andrews
Grace, a native of Ghana, is a cofounder and communications lead at Wikisway, a Portland based start-up that illuminates connections between people, places, and things through a visually based user-driven platform and adds context to information on the web. In this capacity, Grace has increased Wikisway’s media and web presence while helping to establish the company.
What are you currently working on in the technology arena?
Grace: I’m a cofounder and the communications lead for Wikisway, a data visualization web startup. I have the privilege of being a part of the beginning stages of a groundbreaking technology and team. I manage all types of communications—from local media reach out, to social media. I actively seek out the best opportunities to spread the word about what Wikisway is doing and interact with our users.
What sparked your interest in this field?
Grace: I’ve always been a tech early adopter and have a real passion for entrepreneurship. My brother taught himself how to code and do systems management when I was a preteen and he insisted I spend a few hours a week watching him work. While in undergrad, I worked for my school’s University Computing Helpdesk and learned the ins and outs of software and hardware installation. This coupled with my master’s studies and my time spent working in impact investing and business sparked my interest in technology, business and entrepreneurship.
What are some of the steps that others could take to be where you are?
Grace: The best steps would be to remain curious; if there’s something you want to know or learn, take initiative. In order to become good at something, you have to fail and you have to ask others for help. I’d also advise finding mentors who can really teach you about your area of interest and connect you to their networks. Next, I’d say: read, read, read. There’s so much information and knowledge out there, the more you read (in and out of your field) the more informed you’ll be, and the better your product. Lastly, be humble—there will always be an “expert” who knows more and sometimes less than you do. Comporting yourself in a gracious and sincere manner really will get you very far in life.
What’s your all time favorite thing to do?
Grace: My favorite thing to do is lift weights. I actually love anything physically challenging, but there’s something deeply satisfying about teaching your body to be strong. It not only pushes you beyond your physical limits, but it really does remind you that the human body is great tool and your mind is a part of that. It’s a mental game that requires telling your body that “you are powerful.”