Full name: Rakel Solvadottir

Founder of: reKode Education (USA) & Skema (Iceland)

HQ location:  Redmond, WA

Contact:  @rakelsolva (twitter)

Favorite Quote:

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”  Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

What is this series about?

What made you who you are?  

Knowing that I wanted to define myself as an individual, a daughter, mother and most important–a woman, I felt the drive and the need to make a difference. Success through struggle and adversity gave me strength. Having ADHD made me atypical and made me wonder, “Where do I fit in?”

I’ve always been fascinated with questions rather than just answers, and felt I needed to know and do more. When I was 9 years old, my parents gave me my first computer, a Sinclair Spectrum. It was the start of a new beginning. I began to make my own computer games.  For the first time in my life I felt at ease and there was actually a sense of hope in me: I excelled at something that I really enjoyed. Since grade school, I was always told I was problematic and for the first time in my life, I had a unique skill and ability that no one doubted.

The irony of my life is that my son, facing what I endured as a child with ADHD, is now experiencing the same struggles and non-acceptance that I did. Thirty years later, the difficulties and barriers still exist. I felt there had to be a better way.

Ability. Skill. Chance. I want to give that to others.

Because of what I lived and experienced, I founded reKode Education, which helps children and young adults learn how to code. reKode Education gives future leaders and entrepreneurs a skill and craft that is tangible. No longer will barriers define who they are. The path is open for a future without labels. That is what reKode is about.

Advice you would give to other entrepreneurs:

Take victories and setbacks as equal partners toward your end goal. This journey has taught me so many things, including what not to do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and always question the answers given. Always give hugs too. People remember the kindness of your heart and soul more than anything else.

Entrepreneur you most admire and why?

I will have to go with Bill Gates on this one. I’ve been inspired by Gates since I got my first computer. I admire that he had the drive to pursue his passion and follow his dream. I wanted to become a geek like him when I grew up and wanted to build something amazing using technology. I still admire him and his wife for sharing their success by investing in building up a better world for us to live in. I have such great respect for them that I even moved from Iceland into the back yard of Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA!

Most embarrassing moment:

Tough question! It takes a lot for me to become embarrassed. I even laughed at myself on stage presenting to investors when my tongue slipped and I said that I was looking for an apartment, instead of looking for a partner to invest.

Favorite thing about your office:

The best thing about my office is my team. They are with me today making a difference beyond the world of technology, and we are truly like a family. All of these positive, tech savvy people who take the time to always learn, explore and at the end of the day call each other a friend.

Anything else you would like to share:

A vision of wanting to show that barriers can be torn down is the driving force behind why I founded reKode. This journey of starts and stops and questions without answers has given me the opportunity to share, collaborate and endure the successes and set backs that are a part of this journey called life. Knowing what I know now, having lived what I have, I would not change a thing. I feel inspired knowing that tomorrow is another chance for each of us, regardless of who we are, where we live or what we do, that we can learn something new, call out to those in need and hopefully change a part of the world in which we live

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