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Founder & CEO of GoldieBlox to speak as part of The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series

The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, presented by the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center in Benton Harbor and the Southwest Michigan Regional Chamber, welcomes Debbie Sterling, founder, and CEO of GoldieBlox, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 14. The event will be held in the Mendel Center Mainstage.

During her presentation “When ‘No’ Leads to Innovation,” Sterling shares her entrepreneurial journey of how she disrupted the pink aisle with toys and media designed to get girls excited about engineering. She will share how she and her team overcame rejection by thinking audaciously about how to challenge stereotypes and combat the status quo, all in the name of helping close the gender gap in STEM.

Sterling is a driving force in the STEM industry, a powerful voice for women, and a leader for the next generation of female engineers. While enrolled in engineering at Stanford University, Sterling was concerned with the absence of women in her program. She learned female engineers made up only 14 percent of the industry at the time. Traditionally, young girls have not been encouraged to play with toys rooted in problem-solving and building activities. This overall lack of exposure to these concepts at a young age has led to fewer young women pursuing STEM careers. After graduating, Sterling knew that needed to change. 

Sterling disrupted the toy industry by creating GoldieBlox, a multimedia toy company designed to foster creative exploration, ignite creativity, and develop spatial skills in young girls. She believes that creativity is crucial for impressionable female youth, and GoldieBlox exposes them to their fullest potential. 

Sterling was told several times that girls were meant to stay in the "pink aisle" of the toy store, enforcing the notion that they are meant to play with dolls and princesses while boys are given building blocks and trains. Defying claims that girls tend to demonstrate less interest in science, math, and engineering, Sterling challenges others to look beyond stereotypes to see the potential of what women and girls can achieve.

Using her passion, rejection, and drive, Sterling has created a world where girls can have more than a princess phase– they can be "makers."

About Debbie Sterling & GoldieBlox
Sterling is the Founder and CEO of GoldieBlox, the award-winning children's multimedia company known for challenging gender stereotypes with the world's first girl engineer character. GoldieBlox's Kickstarter campaign led to $1 million in sales, was sold in Toys "R" Us, and was a best-seller on Amazon. The app now has over 1 million downloads and more than 1 million toys have been sold across more than 6,000 major worldwide retailers.

GoldieBlox was named one of the World's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in 2014 and was awarded the 2014 Educational Toy of the Year by The Toy Industry Association.

Sterling is an engineer, entrepreneur, spokesperson, and one of the leaders in the movement toward getting girls interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). She was named TIME's "Person of the Moment," InStyle's 50 Most Badass Women, LinkedIn's "Top Voice,” Fortune's "40 Under 40," and she was honored by the National Retail Federation as one of 25 "People Shaping Retail's Future." In 2015, Debbie was inducted as a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship under the Obama administration and honored by the National Women's History Museum with a "Living Legacy" Award for her work to empower girls around the world.

Sterling received her degree in Engineering from Stanford University in 2005.

Reserved seats ($30-$60) are on sale now at, by calling 269-927-8700, option 1, or by visiting the Mendel Center Box Office in person. The box office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

High school and college students are invited to attend a free Student Q&A session with Debbie Sterling at 6 p.m. in Grand Upton Hall. Registration is strongly encouraged at

This event is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Edgewater Automation, and Indiana Michigan Power.

Debbie Sterling, Economic Club Speaker

Debbie Sterling

Media Contact

Jeremy D. Bonfiglio
Marketing & Communications Specialist
Lake Michigan College
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