Ramona Pierson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Declara

Ramona Pierson keepin it real

Ramona Pierson is the CEO and founder of Declara, a Silicon Valley-based technology company focused on social learning and data analytics for private and public sector organizations. She has served as the Chief Science Officer for Promethean, and also founded education software company SynapticMash, INC. For four years, she served as the Director of Ed Tech, Research, Evaluation, and Assessments for Seattle Public Schools. Pierson has been honored with multiple awards, including the 2014 Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year, and was named to Business Insider’s “Silicon Valley 100: The Coolest People In Tech Right Now.”

Pierson’s success is even more remarkable because it came following a life-altering incident in April 1984, when a drunk driver struck and nearly killed her. At the time, Pierson was a U.S. Marine stationed in Irvine, Calif. The accident left her blind and in a coma for 18 months. Her recovery has taken years, and she has regained some of her sight through surgery.

In June 2015, Pierson was invited to take part in the “Changing the Education Equation” panel at the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York City. The event -- of which the Forbes School of Business® at Ashford University was a sponsor -- featured 250 women from a number of industries, including education, business, media, entertainment, and philanthropy.

At the summit, Pierson spoke with Forward Thinking about the challenges facing professionals and how they can achieve success:

On Communicating Your Vision:

“So many times we look to others, when we should look inside first and go ‘What is my vision?’ I think that what people then do, is they grow their own power of one, and when they do that, then they’re able to really go out and create a community around them.”

On Equality and Diversity:

“We couldn’t be a great company if we didn’t have diversity of thinking, and diversity of ideas. We have to give voice to those diverse ideas.”

On Finding a Mentor:

“We only need one person to believe in us, and sometimes you need that, that peer mentor or just that person who’s going to continue to push you forward.”

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