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Jillian kowalchuk

Founder and CEO, Safe & The City 

 

And - Business acceleration advisor, University College London,

I wish I got started younger and had the belief that I could make it happen.

What do you do?

I am the Chief Everything Officer (CEO) which means at the end of the day I am responsible and accountable for all elements of Safe & The City. Safe & The City is a street-smarts app to safely route, share and rate walks to stop harassment and create a safer London. My days can vary tremendously and sometimes mimic a bit of a rollercoaster as an entrepreneur. There are several areas I primarily focus on - Research & Development, Fundraising, Financials/Admin, Partnerships & Team.


I am also privileged to have a part-time contract with UCL as a Business Accelerator Advisor. I was selected for this role as a ‘living-and-breathing’ entrepreneur who could offer a practical advice, real contacts and a current insight as to what it is like to run a start-up. This is a great opportunity for UCL students and alumni to come speak with advisors who are able to help them along the journey and build from their experiences.

Why did you choose this field?

I completed my 2-year MSc in Public Health and had cumulated experience as a researcher and programme implementer for international contracts mostly specialised in prevention of HIV/AIDS.

 

However, when I moved to London to further pursue my career, I also had a number of patterned experiences that I believed I could apply my epidemiological knowledge into a technology, like a navigation app that could address not only a social problem but also a business one.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I wish I had known about the ‘entrepreneurial mindset’ earlier and cultivate it further than I had when I had the idea of Safe & The City. I was searching for something different to devote my life and career to, so I wish I got started younger and had the belief that I could make it happen, if I applied the right mindset.

Why do you love working in STEM?

"Working in STEM surrounds me with an extraordinary network of individuals."

There is a lot of work going into diversity and inclusion initiatives especially around encouraging more women and BAME into the industry.

Best advice for the next generation

A career in STEM can offer a multitude of opportunities and also flexibility to shift into other subjects - my MSc in Public Health then shifted to Technology. These are advantageous and highly competitive skills that can be applied across various careers in industry as well as thinking outside of the box as an entrpreneneur.

Fun fact 

I have been using Insight Timer app for the past year which offers free guided meditations, a core part of my morning routine.