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Anna Guenther

Anna Guenther is the Chief Bubble Blower (and CEO) at Pledgeme.

Anna, crowdsurfing on an excited crowdWhat do you do on an average work day?
I talk about crowdfunding, help people crowdfund, and work with my awesome team to help more Kiwis fund the things they care about (which includes improving our technology and doing more education work [around Pledgeme and and crowdfunding], etc). 

What did you study at school? And after high school?
At high school I studied Art, English, History and Maths. Then I did an AFS exchange to Germany for a year, and learnt German. At university I studied English Lit and German, and then went back to do a Masters of Entrepreneurship in my mid 20s. 

Was your study directly related to what you do now?
Yes and no. I think the ability to communicate underpins everything we do, so my English Literature degree equipped me well. My Masters is really more relevant to running a tech company, but I think we often undervalue the importance of good communication. 

What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now? 
You don't need to figure out everything right now. Start learning about what you like (and don't like) and let that inform what you study, the jobs you apply for, and the networks you make.

Life is a squiggly line that can take you a lot of places and I think it's just going to get more squiggly (and exciting) in the future. It's exciting to think we'll be able to change professions multiple times in our careers. 

What are some of your career highlights so far?
I worked for the New Zealand government for a few years, and enjoyed the time I spent in our international offices so much. Being in a completely new culture is hard but rewarding, and being on the edge of your comfort zone is where the great things happen.

Starting a tech social enterprise has also been terrifying but empowering. I've had to learn a lot about business, people and tech to get where I am, but I wouldn't change a thing. 

Hitting the million dollar mark (the picture above is from our million dollar party, my event manager surprised me and made me crowd surf) was a moment that'll always stick out. It's when I started to feel that we might actually be on to something. 

Why do you believe engaging in STEM – whether it’s working in the field, studying it or just educating one’s self around the issues – is important to New Zealand?
Technology underpins our everyday life, and we need to not only know how it works but be constantly engaging to make it better. Since New Zealand is on the edge of the world we need to be smart about how we grow our economy. Being kickass in scalable (and weightless) ways makes so much sense. 

Why is is important to have more women working in STEM?
We need a diversity of viewpoints to build great products, to make good decisions, and to represent the real world. STEM shouldn't just be the domain of men, and we all have a role in trying to fix it. 

Anna Guenther is the Chief Bubble Blower (and CEO) at Pledgeme.

This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM. 
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