Karlie Kloss Is Disrupting The Tech Industry


Karlie Kloss may be a gorgeous model, but she also believes computer science can empower women to pursue their dreams. It’s time for everyone to follow Karlie Kloss’ lead and treat computer science and its peripherals as a tool for self-empowerment instead of a quick-fix for underemployment.

To see her mission through, Karlie Kloss has collaborated with the Flatiron School to provide young girls and adult women alike with the opportunity to learn more about code, what it is, and how to do it. Her new initiative, Kode With Klossy marks the first time a supermodel champions women in tech with a dedicated platform.

None [of the female-led programs] have had a supermodel mascot on board to bust stereotypes.

A few other key features make Kode With Karlie different from the other female-led organizations – namely, the application process. While many admissions processes have limited deadlines and are exceedingly time-consuming, Kloss believes they’re more discouraging than inviting. Secondly, upon completing the program curriculum, Kode With Klossy Career Scholars will receive the opportunity to apply for paid “apprenticeships and fellowships with program partners, which include companies like WeWork, CondéNast, New York Magazine, Vice and more.” Furthermore, you can learn the basics for free. If you do this, you have a better chance of getting that career scholarship.

For many women, the only motivation to pursue computer science, or tech in general, was the money Financial security was the marketing approach the bootcamps took, and this is the one reason many want to learn how to code, as a software engineer's starting salary is better than most management salaries at other jobs.

“Whatever the dreams or goals of our students are, whether it’s fashion or sports, we’re going to teach them skills they can apply anywhere.”

- Karlie Kloss

The problem is, many have taken an entire industry – an entire innovative and disruptive field – and diminished it into a moneymaker. Putting aside how offensive this may be to those who love being software engineers, it’s no wonder that only 18% of women graduate with computer science degrees.

And then Karlie Kloss came along and demystified what it means to “code.” “Everybody touches technology every single day, and it has transformed so many industries," says Kloss. "But yet, so few people really know even what coding is, and much less how to do it." Kloss turned “learning to code” into an accessible concept; she let her fans know that, behind everything they love, there are “lines of code.” In fact, she encourages her followers to use social media to “learn how to write lines of code and to build the next Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook yourself.”

Kloss had literally taken her own advice to get to where she is; when she found out that her friend, Kevin Systrom – the CEO and Co-Founder of Instagram – had built the app himself, she realized she could eventually do it, too. All she needed to do was learn how.

Karlie Kloss with students at Kode With Karlie camp. Photo Credit: Flatiron School

In general, knowing how to program anything is a desirable skill that can get you far in life, especially as a woman. In the first iteration of Kode with Klossy, a free "coding" summer camp for girls between 13 and 18 years old, Kloss noticed that, “while each of the students learned the same technical skill set, the diversity of these projects showed them how code can be applied to whatever industry they choose to pursue.“ By continuing her own studies, Kloss says she is doing her part in being a voice for women who are interested in “learning to code.” She’s not telling them that it’s what will make them money, but rather empowering them to choose for themselves.

Here, five inspiring insights from Karlie Kloss on learning to code.

1. "I found [programming] really empowering, and I wanted to share that learning with other girls, so I started a scholarship program to teach other girls to learn how to code.”

2. "The first few days are really challenging and then it all kind of starts to click, and then you all of a sudden are able to build things and write lines of code and it’s all making sense. It’s really an exciting and empowering feeling, and it’s really cool to watch these young women do it. It kind of totally changes their thought of what they think they’re capable of within this space.”

3. "If you can learn how to code, or if nothing else understand how things are built and understand the back end of technology even at a high level, it can be applied to any industry that you’re interested in.”

4. "No matter what industry you want to go into, what job you dream of having, with this skill set you really can create and bring more to the table in any industry. You don’t have to just learn this skill set to get a job at a tech startup. You can apply this thinking, apply this skill set to anything you want to do in life.”

5. "I think it’s crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible to ensure that we have a voice in what the world looks like.”

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2020 is Around the Corner: Here's How To Design Your Next Decade

Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!

You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!

Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.

Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.

One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:

What worked? What were my successes?

Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?

Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.

If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?

Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?

Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?

Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.

While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.

Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!