From the heart of Silicon Valley, Esther Wojcicki, a renowned educator and influential figure, recently graced the Innovations United conference with a keynote that resonated deeply with the audience. Addressing from her home on the Stanford University campus, Esther’s talk, titled “The Power Of Believing In Yourself,” underscored the critical role of innovation in shaping our planet’s future.
As the 2002 California Teacher of the Year and founder of Palo Alto High School’s media arts program, Esther has been a pioneering force in integrating technology into education since 1985. Her commitment to empowering students and fostering a sense of self-belief is not just her passion but her mission.
In her address, Esther emphasized that self-belief is the cornerstone of innovation and hope. Her journey, marked by her role as the co-founder of the Journalistic Learning Initiative and her tenure on the board of Creative Commons, reflects her dedication to fostering a collaborative and sharing culture in education and beyond.
Nicknamed the “Godmother of Silicon Valley,” a title affectionately bestowed by her former students, Esther is also known for her extraordinary family. She shed light on her daughters’ success stories – Susan, a key figure in Google’s acquisition of YouTube and a former CEO of the platform, Janet, a medical professor focusing on the obesity epidemic, and Anne, the co-founder of 23andMe.
Her bestselling book, “How to Raise Successful People,” offers a transformative approach to parenting and education, emphasizing her TRICK philosophy: Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness. This philosophy aims to empower learners by fostering trust, respect, and independence, encouraging collaborative learning, and nurturing kindness.
Esther’s keynote was rich with anecdotes and insights, including a fascinating glimpse into Google’s early days, which began in her garage. She shared images of the humble beginnings of what would become a tech giant, illustrating the immense potential of modest starts.
Underlying her educational philosophy is the principle of student empowerment. At Palo Alto High School, she developed the world’s largest student media program, which began with 20 students and has now expanded to 800, producing various publications and fostering creativity and innovation.
Esther’s speech was more than just a sharing of her journey; it was a testament to the power of believing in oneself. Citing examples of numerous successful individuals, including Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, she demonstrated that self-belief is a crucial driver of success.
Her message to the audience was clear: understand your passion, collaborate, and most importantly, believe in yourself. As Mark Twain once said, the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Esther Wojcicki’s keynote at Innovations United was not just informative but a beacon of inspiration, urging everyone to discover their ‘why’ and believe in their potential to innovate and transform the world.