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With Triangle Startup Weekend: Women quickly approaching, you may still be wondering whether or not you should purchase that ticket. Perhaps you haven’t bought one because you’re not sure exactly what the event entails. Maybe you worry the $99 ticket price isn’t worth it (we have a discount code, by the way). Or maybe you’re just incredibly busy and “accidentally” deleted our registration reminders.

Whatever it is that has kept you from signing up thus far, we think we have a pretty strong argument to get you there. We spoke with TSW: Health participant, Amal Essader, about what motivated her to buy her first-ever ticket to a Startup Weekend, and why she’s so glad she did.

Amal learned about TSW: Health from some colleagues of hers who were on the organizing team.

Triangle Startup Weekend: Beyond a nudge from your friends on the planning team, why did you decide to participate in TSW?

Amal Essader: It sounded like a challenging and fun activity where I could network with other highly energetic people who are on a mission to innovate and improve our lives.

TSW: What team did you work with and what was your role?

AE: I worked with “Aura,” a team looking to provide natural therapies to women. My role was to help gather customer feedback; I called friends and family, spoke with pharmacists, and interviewed passersby throughout the weekend. I also worked with the team on strategic planning.

She found the collaboration and opportunity to explore new skill sets to be incredibly rewarding.

TSW: What was the most valuable part of the weekend for you?

AE: I walked into the unknown and worked on a completely new idea with a team of people I had never met before. That could have been really scary, but we all united around the same goal: to make this experience the best one and to advance our idea to the next level. The weekend also allowed me to unlock some talents and skills I didn’t know I had or didn’t know I could use.

TSW: How did you feel before, during, and after the event?

AE:  I was excited and nervous before the event, as I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly, but was looking forward to it.

During the event, I felt like I was a part of a new family. My team members and the TSW coaches and staff were encouraging and enabled us to think outside the box and take our thoughts and ideas to the next level. I have to admit, it kept my adrenaline pumping and that felt GREAT!

After the event, I was definitely tired, but it was a bittersweet feeling. I felt really good knowing that I helped someone take their idea to the next level and I didn’t want the event to end! Overall, it was really exciting being an event where the room was vibrating with energy.

TSW: Some folks might be intimidated by working with new people for a whole weekend. How do you work with a group of people you don’t know for 54-hours straight?

AE: How could you not?? Isn’t that what you do when you embark on a new job and have tight timelines for a critical project? To me personally, this was the highlight of the event. This is how you learn from others and challenge yourself to see and accept ideas from a different perspective.

TSW: So, did attending the weekend give you a better understanding of what startups can be?

AE: You bet it did! It’s one thing to plan or discuss ideas in a classroom setting, but it’s another thing to experience it LIVE! The TSW event is the perfect place to try your idea and to stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone to learn about problems and solutions you never thought of before.

Amal also shared some great insight on how to prepare for the weekend, and encourages first-timers to challenge themselves beyond the norm.

TSW: If someone could have given you one piece of advice before the weekend, what would you have liked to know?

AE: Go into this event with an open mind and be prepared to think outside of the box. My advice to future TSW participants, especially the first-timers, is that you are a valuable team member. Your skills are valued regardless of what they are. Crazy ideas can be the winning ideas, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts…and HAVE FUN!

TSW: So, let’s hear it: Why do you think someone should sign up for TSW: Women?

AE: It’s a chance to meet new people, learn new perspectives, gain insights, be part of a solution, and help others see their idea to fruition. Everyone should challenge their status quo and get out of their comfort zone to experience something new and different. Think of TSW events as a big generator: ideas are generated, the room is vibrating with energy, coaches and volunteers are constantly looking after your best interest, and everyone has a critical role to keep the “generator” going. Most importantly, everyone is enjoying their time.

 

We hope you’ll join us this Friday through Sunday (10/10-10/12) for an energizing weekend full of new ideas, new learning experiences, and new friends. And if you need just a bit more convincing, use code “TSWsupporter” for 20% off tickets.

See you there!


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Allyson Sutton