Brittany Teei (Rarotonga, Avatiu, Atiu, Ngāi Tahu) is Co-founder of KidsCoin, an educational software program that teaches children good money habits.
What do you do on an average work day?
There’s no such thing as an average workday for me!
I do many varied tasks and jobs ranging from working with developers on website development, to planning out UX [user experience] and UI [user interface] designs, to social media marketing and working in the communities. It really depends on the needs of the business and what the priorities are at the time.
I also make a point everyday to do some physical exercise; whether that be yoga, netball, tennis or simply walking to work and enjoying the view along the way. I think that this is crucial to keep balanced and take care of my mental wellbeing.
What did you study at school? And after high school?
My favourite subjects at high school were media, art and sport.
However mum is a teacher (and has been for a long time) so I was always moving across different subjects because I knew that maths and English were important.
I also took the liberty when I was 13 to start learning about Quantum Physics because I thought it sounded brainy.
When I left high school I studied a certificate in fashion design, got my tennis coaching qualifications and also become a qualified personal trainer.
I actually went to three different high schools in Auckland. One was an all-girls school, one a high school without uniforms and mixed gender, and the other a private school. They were all such different experiences socially as well as academically.
Was your study directly related to what you do now?
Not at all! Fashion, Sport and Fitness are what I studied and they have nothing to do with technology.
I could never have predicted when I was younger that I would get into the tech industry. In fact, that was one of the reasons why I did it – simply because I thought I couldn’t so I wanted to challenge myself and my limiting beliefs.
What would you like to share with young women who are thinking about their career choices right now?
The first thing I would share based on my experience is to take some time alone to think about what it is that you find interesting, and use that as a starting point as to what career(s) you want to aim for.
From there, figure out where you want to be, figure out what you need to learn to get there and what skills/experience or knowledge you need to develop in order to be in that position. Then put in the work to set yourself up.
Also talk to people who are in the jobs that you think you might want to do and learn from them. I always find out information about something that I am interested in and try to learn from their experiences.
What are some of your career highlights so far?
Seeing some of our KidsCoin tech students presenting on stage about their journey in tech at the tech summit was definitely a highlight!
I feel like the most rewarding part of what I do is seeing the benefit that other people get to experience from being part of KidsCoin.
Having breakfast with Barack Obama and being selected to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India by the US Embassy and Indian Government were also pretty amazing for me personally.
Why do you believe engaging in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is important to New Zealand?
Because in the future, there’s no avoiding the fact that these skills will be required across lots of jobs and work. Building these skills and this knowledge will help you to have more opportunities and position you to be highly employable and capable.
I also think that these fields have great earning potential which also is important when it comes to financial goals and plans.
Lastly, because it’s fun work! When you learn about what the day-to-day looks like for some of the jobs in these industries, there are some pretty cool projects going on.
Why is it important to have more women working in STEM?
Mainly because I think that the perceptions around what women can and can’t do limit people and cause unhappiness.
At the end of the day, and in my opinion, gender shouldn’t define the choices you make for yourself. If you enjoy it, and want to do it and it is not causing harm to anyone or yourself – then go for it!
Brittany Teei is the Co-founder of KidsCoin, an educational software program that teaches children good money habits while they are still young. In 2015 Brittany was the winner of the DigMyIdea Māori Business Innovation competition and was a finalist at the 2016 New Zealand Innovation awards in the Māori Development category.
In her life before starting KidsCoin, Brittany played professional tennis and represented the Cook Islands at the Commonwealth Games in India in 2010. Born and raised in Auckland, Brittany is of Cook Island and NZ Māori descent and, when she isn't working on KidsCoin, she spends time travelling, playing tennis and netball and keeping up with the latest trends in technology.
This profile is part of our series of girls and women in STEM.
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