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An Open Letter to Jessica Livingston

Jessica,

From the very bottom of my heart, thank you. On transformative days in my life, I go to sleep at night and, without fail, find myself reliving the events of that day. Tonight was different.

As expected, my dreams were filled with the inspiring talks I heard at YCs female founders conference and the incredible women I was fortunate enough to meet by attending. But what I wasnt expecting was sitting up in bed at 4:30 a.m., completely wide awake, with my mind racing and practically bursting at the seams. You see, I really had no choice but to write you this letter.

If Im being honest, Ive had my doubts about YC. Is YC really passionate about supporting female founders? Ive lived my life in a mans world, receiving a degree in mechanical engineeringwhich contains the lowest percentage of women compared to any other engineering field at just 7.2%from an already male-dominated university. And now, Im a female founder in what many days feels like a boys club industry, trying to solve a womens issue. It can be difficult not to get a little jaded.

But, like you, I pride myself on my judge of character. I cant explain it, but its something thats always come naturally to me. So when I was waiting alongside twenty other eager women after the conference for my chance to introduce myself, and I saw you laughing and interacting with other FFC attendees, every doubt I ever held about YC suddenly felt as though it had never existed to begin with.

The same love that shined when Grace Garey spoke about Watsi was bursting from you as you gave advice, cracked jokes, and laughed with FFC attendees. And I realized its simply not possible for this empire youve helped create not to live, breathe, and reflect that very same love.

To say that FFC was transformative would really not be doing my experience justice. Ive always known that I wanted to help people and help change the world, and Ive always been fairly confident Id be successful. But as I sit here in the dark waiting for the sun to peek over the city of San Francisco, confidence no longer describes what I feel. My mindset has shifted to certainty.

I see myself so clearly on stage at a future YC female founders conference, sharing my story about a company and a cause I plan to devote the rest of my life to, beaming with that same love I feel every single day when I wake up to go to work.

A lot of people would probably say that Im crazy and self-centered for saying that. But I dont think theres anything crazy or self-centered about wanting to inspire others to find the thing that makes them beam the way I do when I think about the change I want my company to create, or the way Grace does when she talks about Watsi, or the way you do when youre surrounded by passionate founders.

So, thank you, Jessica, for showing me what YC is really about, and for showing me what Ive always known about myself but never had the audacity to fully embrace.

Ill see you on stage.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

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