Shambrekia Wise is the founder of FuzeU, a first time author, and a mom. Her purpose: helping students like her achieve their dream in STEM. Follow Nicoleté Austin on Facebook and Instagram. Follow Shambrekia Wise on Facebook and Instagram. Follow FuzeU on Facebook and their website.
What does FuzeU do?
FuzeU connects STEM students with STEM professionals for the purpose of mentorship, academic guidance, and career development. We strategically pair mentees to mentors by utilizing behavioral analytics to make sure the most effective matches are recommended.
What inspired you to start your company?
After I was diagnosed with MS, I re-evaluated my life and my purpose. I realized as much as I enjoyed the job I was blessed to have, it was not allowing me to live my purpose: Helping students like me achieve their dream in STEM. Looking into the hindrances that exist for students pursuing this degree path, I found that many underrepresented minorities struggled at the highest rates and were likely to leave the field before completing their degree. With the increasing need for diverse STEM talent and the high attrition rate in the field, it’s evident that we need to find a way to attract and keep talent in this sector. After perusing the best ways for me to make this dream come true, I learned a pre-accelerator was the best way, which is how I ended up applying for DivInc in Austin. My participation in this program has been the catalyst in my success thus far.
On another note, I am a first-time author (pen name: Nicoleté Austin) who released my first book Last Stop…Dupont Circle in order to raise capital without giving up equity; I call it "stilettostrapping" instead of bootstrapping.
How do you create balance in your life?
I look at myself and remember everything I went through to get here, how to prioritize those “things” who/that matter, and where I want to be. I remember to walk a path that leads me to those things, and I remove those things that either cause distractions or are unnecessary to the journey.
What advice would you give to fellow moms who are looking to start their company?
Have a team of strong women around you at all times cheering you on, supporting you, and teaching you everything they know. Men are great, too, and some of my mentors are men and they are wonderful, but it’s nothing like having a sisterhood of like minds and experiences to champion you on your journey. Also, align yourself with those VC companies/investors/advisors/accelerator programs who have it in their mission to do more for women than what may be typical.
What is the most important thing you hope your daughter learns about women in tech as she watches you in the years to come?
That she can absolutely do ANYTHING she seeks to achieve. I am a single mom, and having to balance her, my 9-5, my startup, and my health has definitely been a challenge, but I’ve done a pretty decent job. I want to show her that there is a place for her in any industry, and by her being educated and persistent, she can do anything she seeks.