GeekPack is a 2024 Cartier Women's Initiative Fellow!

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Cartier Women's Initiative 2024 | GeekPack’s Story

On May 14th, 2024 I flew to Shenzhen, China for the Cartier’s Regional Awards Ceremony.

There are a lot of things I could say about this accomplishment, but I think to summarize this truthfully:

Good things happen, but my goodness, they take a lot of work!

This has been a journey. This is not something that happened overnight. 

It's taken a lot of hard work, a lot of time, a lot of resources. 

This award is a huge deal to me, my team, the community, and, of course, the future of GeekPack - and I couldn’t be more proud.

Everything I’ve done over the past few years was to get us closer to our vision. GeekPack will touch the lives of millions, I have no doubt about that.

But it’s also important to me to be transparent about the process. About the ups and downs. About the incredible and the not so incredible.

Yes, we were among the Top 3 in North America to be selected for the Cartier Women’s Initiative - and we came FIRST. I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t a big deal. I still have a hard time believing it myself!

But in amongst all of this, we’ve applied for a LOT of other opportunities. And we got a lot of no’s.

It’s important to me to share that, because I know how rejection can feel. It can make you doubt yourself and your vision.

It’s not a nice feeling.

If you can take something from this story, I want it to be that. Getting no’s is part of the process

And it’s gonna suck.

This is why we need to remember all the reasons why we’re doing this. And all the validations we get along the way.

So, I’m going to celebrate this accomplishment for a very long time - and I’ll make sure you’re invited to this celebration so keep your eyes peeled.

Join our strong community of +35,000 women who are making their dreams a reality through empowering skills training.

In the meantime though, I want to share the timeline of how this opportunity came about.

Because this traces all the way back to 2022.

2022

It all starts with SCAPE - Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs.

SCAPE got on my radar through a Facebook post. 

That was when I first learned about it and when I expressed my interest in joining this accelerator program.

In the Spring of 2022, I applied and got accepted.

Joining this program was an eye-opening experience. 

Accelerator programs like this have the purpose of helping businesses (usually start-ups) do just that, accelerate their business growth. 

When you join a program like this, you get access to advisors who will help you further develop your idea, get clear on your business model, and finally - connect you with investors.

Joining them was probably the most impactful thing I’ve done as an entrepreneur, it’s opened a lot of doors for GeekPack.

June 2023

This is when the Cartier saga really starts.

On June 7th I got an email from a SCAPE advisor. She forwarded a newsletter with ten grant opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

And sure enough, one of them was the Cartier Women’s Initiative grant. 

It was a really quick turnaround. The deadline was June 30th, giving me 23 days to get everything ready for the application.

But with a huge help from Halley (GeekPack’s Partners Program Manager), we made it. 

Just before June 30th, I submitted GeekPack’s application.

July 2023

On July 31st, I was sat at breakfast in a remote lodge in Idaho. 

I was supporting one of my husband’s motorcycle expeditions, and I was sat there with four riders (Neil, my husband, was not there at this time).

I’d visited this lodge on past expeditions, and knew the WiFi was not exactly reliable.

There was no internet in the rooms, and you’d be lucky to get internet in the lodge.

It just so happened that that day was my lucky day. I had WiFi. 

So I checked my email… And there it was. 

“Congratulations, you’re in the top 10” 

That day, sat at breakfast, with four men I didn’t know very well, I found out I’d been shortlisted as one of the top 10 for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Fellowship.

And I remember this so clearly, because the moment I read the email, I desperately wanted to tell someone. 

So my very first thought was “Neil’s not here”.

But I had to tell someone… 

And that’s how four unsuspecting adventure motorcyclists enjoying their breakfast in Idaho were the first people to find out that GeekPack was in the top 10 for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Fellowship!  

Which turned out to be incredible, because they were SO supportive about the news. 

Their interest and questions about the business only added to the validation this news had just brought me. 

But that was just the beginning of a very long process.

September 2023

After long (and I mean long) screening calls and due diligence, sharing all the information I could gather about the company, on September 7th I got the news that Cartier passed us on to the top 5.

But only three companies would move forward to the Awards Ceremony, so there were more calls and more due diligence in sight.

It was an intense full day of screening with a third-party company, and not just with myself. They talked to team members, stakeholders, and advisors as well.

October 2023

On October 30th I did the most well-prepared presentation of my life.

It was a strictly timed 8-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A with five judges. 

It was hard, really hard. They asked a lot of tough questions.

I remember that two of the judges were outwardly positive.

I could read their body language and I could tell by their questions. 

But the other three were a mystery. I could not tell at all if they thought it was good or not.

I left the presentation feeling like it went okay, but I had no idea if that was enough to move us forward.

November 2023

On November 17th, I got another email.

Congratulations, you are in the top 3!”

And that was, more than anything, what I was waiting for.

That was it - we made it to the top 3 companies in the North American region. 

I was going to China. I couldn’t believe it.

January 2024

On January 31st we had a whole day of filming at my house.

That was also the day we discovered how hard it is to film a remote team.

But in true GeekPack fashion, we were able to troubleshoot and solve the problem - we found a way to make my team and students part of this day.

After all, GeekPack is not GeekPack without them!

March 2024

I am in the CWI WhatsApp group, and on March 17th a woman named Emily (thank you, Emily!!) sent a message:

“Anyone interested in an opportunity to meet Sir Richard Branson on Necker Island?”

I, of course, said yes. 

If you’re not familiar with him, Sir Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and an incredibly successful entrepreneur.

Back to the story… I sent Emily a very short bio and she passed it on to the people who make the decision. 

It all happened really fast. Within the space of five days, I showed my interest, did an interview, and was accepted.

All while I was traveling to Denver doing an event.

April 2024

On April 13th I boarded a plane and traveled over 24 hours to get to Necker Island.

And today, April 17th we can officially announce that we’re a Cartier Women’s Initiative Fellow!

So here I am, writing this announcement from day 3 on the incredible Necker Island, where I’m connecting with 39 other impact entrepreneurs.

The Future of GeekPack

In May 2024 I went to China for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award Ceremony to find out GeekPack was awarded 1st place for the North America region!

And so it begins my journey as a Cartier Women’s Initiative fellow.

Like I said in the beginning, I don’t want the success of GeekPack to be chalked up to dumb luck. 

It’s been hard work. It’s been YEARS in the making. 

I want you to know that hard work pays off.

If someone told me back in 2022 that I’d be spending time on Necker Island with Richard Branson and I’d be up for a Cartier Women’s Initiative fellowship award, I would never have believed them. 

My point is…

You cannot even begin to fathom where you’ll be two years from now if you continue to work hard and believe in yourself. 

Join our strong community of +35,000 women who are making their dreams a reality through empowering skills training.


And if you’re struggling to believe in yourself, come join our community of over 35,000 fellow freedom seekers.

About the Author:
Some people look at the sky and see stars; others see constellations. Some people look at lines of code and see a website; Julia saw a path to empower women in building their dreams. As a (former) military wife, self-taught web developer, and lover of location independence, Julia has taught over 3,600 women to say “YES” to any WordPress request, but not only that, “YES” to themselves, and “YES” to creating life on their own terms. Empowering women and seeing others succeed is the biggest motivator for Julia. And so, she created a program to teach others the skills that allowed her to take back control of her life and start living on her own terms.
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