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Breaking Boundaries: Empowering Women in Tech and Beyond

Step into the world of Claudia Nicoleta, a visionary leader on a mission to redefine the landscape of tech and empowerment. As the founder of the Claudia Grimm Academy and the driving force behind Queens Magazine, Claudia’s journey epitomizes resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of breaking stereotypes. With over two decades of experience in Computer Science, she shatters the glass ceiling with her not-so-conventional path into IT, proving that gender is no barrier to success in the tech world. Join Claudia as she inspires and uplifts children, young adults, and professionals alike, embarking on a transformative journey of self-discovery, empowerment, and limitless possibilities.

What inspired you to establish the Claudia Grimm Academy and Queens Magazine? 

We are living in challenging Years and I want to encourage young people, especially young girls, to do what they are passionate about, to find out what their passions are. 

I founded the Academy because I feel somehow responsible for helping our young people find their way in the programming world, which is why I give programming lessons and try to encourage them as best I can with the courses and also with Queens Magazine make.

How does your background in computer science influence your approach to motivating others, particularly women, in the tech industry? 

My experiences in technology as well as with technological change help me to be able to give concrete examples to girls. It’s always important to bring and pass on a mixture of “hey, don’t be afraid if it scares you” and “it’s ok to fail sometimes, the important thing is that you keep going.” 

My beginnings and my path in computer science were anything but easy. I didn’t know how to program and asked the professors where the output was printed out, I didn’t see a printer nearby. By then everyone thought, “Claudia will never, ever make it in computer science and if she does, she won’t stay there for long!” 

Describe your journey into the field of IT. What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them? 

My path into IT was very unconventional. Back then I had to study something so that I wouldn’t be deported. This study place couldn’t have many hurdles because I only had 2 weeks to apply. At the beginning of my studies, I was busy collecting signatures for my petition so that I could stay in Germany to study. I was very lucky and understanding from everyone, especially from the university, without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I started studying computer engineering without any prior knowledge and without knowing what to expect. Then there was the challenge of being the only woman in the course. But I was very lucky with my boys (fellow students) because they put me in a kind of boot camp and had to learn intensively about programming and assembling PCs. I pulled through. I am happy and grateful to still be able to work in the industry today, and I would like to pass that on.

Why do you emphasize the importance of supporting young girls and women, especially in traditionally male-dominated fields? 

Because we can change the world just like our male colleagues. Nobody dictates that only men can work in IT; women can do it just as well and maybe a little better. By better I mean that we may have an advantage and can understand and analyze more complex constructs and relationships. Many of our male colleagues underestimate us in what we can do, so my big vision is to encourage the young women out there to stand by what they want, to do what they really want to do. 

How does Queens Magazine contribute to your mission of encouraging young people to find and pursue their paths? 

If I just tell my story of encouragement all the time, then it will get boring in the long run, so I would like to tell a lot of stories of encouragement. The issues are not long, because the young girls, the young people should and are allowed to see themselves in a story and use it as motivation not to give up and go their own way. Only one question is asked in my Magazine, and everyone can answer based on their experience. I deliberately kept it short, it’s not commercial and I design it entirely myself. 

Can you explain the significance of personal stories shared in Queens Magazine according to your perspective? 

The encouraging stories in Queens Magazine are about reflecting their own meaning of courage. I ask everyone in the magazine what courage means to them. We know that courage is not only understood differently, but also experienced in different ways, which is why this change of perspective is so exciting for the young women and encourages them not to give up. 

What role do personal mentors and role models play in your vision for empowering individuals? 

A very big role, I always recommend mentors, because without them we would sometimes be stuck. Role models are so important because I have them myself and without them it would be very difficult for me to stay on the ball. That’s why I show young women role models that they can look up to. 

In what ways do you aim to address the fear of entering the tech industry as a woman? 

If your heart is burning for the tech world and you realize that you really want to do it, then just do it and don’t care about what other people are saying. The clearer we are in and with the decision to go into IT, the easier the path there will be. As a woman you feel that, in the best-case scenario, you know what suits you, what you are good at, which is why I think it is even more important to stay on track and keep at it. Have the courage to fight for your own dreams and goals no matter how much resistance you encounter. 

How do you balance your roles as the founder of the Claudia Grimm Academy and editor of Queens Magazine? 

For me too it is a matter of the heart. So I don’t have to constantly ask myself whether I’m in balance with myself to be able to do it, I just do it. It doesn’t feel like work, I think that’s the difference and that’s exactly the feeling I want to pass on. What you do shouldn’t feel like work, but rather be easy, then it’s the right thing. 

And for me, the question was never whether I was doing something too much, my goals and my visions were always clear, so I did what I do best, pass on my knowledge and motivate young people.

What are your long-term goals in terms of motivating and inspiring individuals through your various endeavors? 

Since our technology world is changing very quickly, faster than expected, I would like to show ways in which you can still get on the bandwagon and, if it’s fun, stay on it. Above all, I’m working to ensure that she no longer must ask a young woman the question “can I, do it?” or “what will others say when I do it?” Computer science is a complex industry, and we need a clear head and not know-it-alls. 

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